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Pare down: Pro tips for living the minimalist life

By Jennifer Laing | October 28, 2014 - 3:59PM 

If anyone could use a crash course in minimalist living it’s a space-strapped New Yorker. While not suffering from a lack of room herself (she owns a townhouse, after all!), Anne Hellman, author of the coffee table book Design Brooklyn, has created a chic but sparsely decorated home of her own. Here, via Refinery29, are her tips for living beautifully and sparingly:

• Buy one piece at a time: Avoid the temptation to furnish a whole room (or apartment) in one fell swoop. Instead, buy a single piece of furniture, live with it for a while, add another and repeat. 

• When living with kids, think young at art: Playful art and furnishings aren’t just practical when there are kids around—they keep a space from becoming overly serious looking. Also, before decorating any room, hang the art first. Designing a space around a favorite work of art will ensure that work will pack a punch instead of it looking like a mere afterthought.

• Mix and match: Combining textures and finishes—think wood floors, stone countertops, fabrics and upholstery—lend character to a minimalist space. Similarly, using two differently patterned rugs can help delineate separate spaces within one larger room.

• Simplify slowly: An empty space can be calming, but it takes some getting used to. Start by gradually getting rid of what you can, then conceal what you can’t in cabinets. Finally, place all personal items—family photos, sentimental knick-knacks, etc.—together to keep them from cluttering multiple areas throughout your home. 

Related:

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Don't fall prey to these small space decorating snafus

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