Minimalist Decorating Tips to Love Your Home

Living in a tiny studio in Santa Monica, I try to be very conscious of what I'm bringing in. When I started decorating, I knew that I wanted to create an open feeling with natural lighting, bright whites, and small details of texture. Since I only have a small space to work with, each decorating decision has been intentional and purposeful in adding elements of my personality to make my home feel like me.

Especially with small areas, I wanted to create a feeling of balance, harmony and simplicity. For me, this started with embracing a slow and subtle pace for bringing the space to life. Decorating has become an ongoing process that I'm enjoying wholeheartedly.

I started by incorporating elements from nature so nothing feels overwhelming and no details were in competition with each other. I used Pinterest as my vision boards and recreated details from some of my favorite interior designers, but on a much more affordable, smaller scale.

By only having the essentials, I love every item and feel a personal connection with each piece that decorates my studio. True to my personality, I love that I can change my mind everyday and move things around to constantly reinvent the space.

With a color pallet of soft whites, light beige, raw wood, and greenery, my studio has an openness for free flowing energy. I kept this in mind when I bought new things and found balance between local shops and antique stores, then World Market, West Elm, and Target.

Here are a few tips that helped me decorate my studio apartment with intentional details of simplicity and character:

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1. Incorporate the unexpected.

I’m always fascinated by unconventional ways to create an inspired aesthetic. Anytime that I can make something look different than expected, it creates character and adds personality to my space. 

Tip: I use this Hearth & Hand cutting board on my stove as an added surface. Since I don't really have a counter, this simple raw wood breaks up the space and brings in some soft whites to brighten up my kitchen.

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2. Pace yourself.

I’m not the best at budgeting, so when I started furnishing my studio, I had to decide on where to spend my money most effectively to bring my vision to life. Some of the things that I really wanted were out of my price range. Instead of making one big costly purchase, I split the cost between multiple items. I started off buying the essential big pieces (kitchen table, nightstand, dresser, TV) and now I’m pacing myself to decorate the rest. I don’t have chairs for my kitchen table yet or wire baskets for my closet, but my bank account appreciates time in between purchases.

Tip: I bought this nightstand from Target 5 years ago. Sometimes there's a vase full of fresh hydrangeas and a Kai diffuser. On other days, there's a recycled glass table lamp and a succulent. I like to use coffee table books to elevate the surface and create some dimension.

3. Less is more.

Instead of trying to fill every corner with decorative items or hang up a bunch of frames, I just let the space breathe. It’s more open and airy with less stuff, and I love how white walls reflect natural light to brighten up the place.

Tip: In all honesty, I can never decide what to hang on my walls. When I do start hanging my black and white prints, I plan to make sure they can be moved easily to frequently change up the wall space.

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4. Appreciate the story.

Some of my favorite things were stuffed into my suitcase on the return flight home after traveling. Guilty enough, I’ve paid for an overweight bag on multiple occasions just to ensure that I can bring back the things that I fell in love with on a trip. I like to collect pieces that represent my fondest memories from a vacation and adds sentimental value to my space. I’m not suggesting that you brag about where your things came from or buy a bunch of stuff that you don’t need, but hey - interesting things are good conversation pieces.

Tip: My favorites are the shells I found on the beach in Tel Aviv, a ceramic vase from Point Reyes, and I picked these lemons from my grandpa's garden in Fresno.

5. Use practical elements.

I like to choose decorative pieces that are actually usable. Not just things that sit on the shelf and collect dust. Every element of the décor in my studio has a purpose or a story, so that reduces clutter and eliminates collections of things that I don’t need.

Tip: My favorites are coffee table books, candles, coasters, plants, mason jars, vases, and woven baskets.


6. Reuse and repurpose.

Anytime I can use what I already have or repurpose an item, my things develop an extended lifespan

Tip: I refill all my soap bottles (even this Aesop mouthwash), reuse empty candle tins for cotton balls and q-tips, and I remove the label from glass jars to store homemade products.

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7. Change your space frequently.

Nothing is permanent when it comes to decorating in my home. My favorite way to decorate is to frequently redecorate. I move things around all the time, which keeps the energy circulating and makes me feel more creatively stimulated.

Tip: One day, my bathroom has fresh eucalyptus on the counter in a glass jar. The next day, it's replaced by a candle and bar soap, and the greenery is moved to my kitchen counter.

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(Note: Photo grid inspiration images sourced from Pinterest)

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