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A Minimalist on How to Decorate Without Creating Clutter

The small-space-savvy blogger Erin Boyle behind Reading My Tea Leaves knows a thing or seven about making the most of compact spaces. For her intel on how she keeps her Brooklyn apartment looking chic and full of character without piling on the knick-knacks or ponying up for expensive decor, read on—and to hear her sage advice on storage click here.

Q. You have a minimal, clean aesthetic, but your home still has a distinct style. It’s clear you’re making very intentional choices. How do you balance decorating with your desire to keep things pretty spare?

A. “I do think I am a bit of an outlier because I like to keep things pretty raw in this apartment. Other people might question why there isn’t a painting on that wall, but I just like the white space. It can be a tiny bit monastic, but my particular aesthetic is to keep things small scale across the board. I have one small potted plant because I feel crowded otherwise. We have a new lamp over our kitchen table, and it’s really tiny. For some, that’s unbalanced, but I didn’t want a statement piece that would dominate. Decorating in general—it is so personal. Just know you can buck the trends. For example, I hate rugs! I just don’t really like them. But we live on the top floor of a New York City apartment building, so we have to have them. Because of that, I’ve chosen to have only smaller throw rugs. According to an interior designer, those rugs are much too small for the space. There are so many rules like that, and I think once you allow yourself to break them, you might find it easier to get what you want. I wrote a blog post years ago about not having a coffee table. Like, you don’t need a coffee table if you don’t want one! And if you do want a coffee table, then of course have one. You have to follow your gut with this kind of stuff.”

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