Downsizing

Today’s post is totally off topic from anything healthy living, but it’s pretty much what’s been consuming my life lately so it’s hard to talk about anything else right now!

As you probably know, I am moving just two weeks from Friday. I currently live in Arlington, VA, which is right outside of DC proper. My commute to work is less than 30 minutes door to door using the metro, so it’s not that bad at all. That said, I cannot wait to be in the city and be able to walk/bike everywhere. My walk to work will be 25 minutes from my new apartment and less than 10 minutes on a bike (more like 5 but depending on traffic lights and such).

One of the biggest advantages to me of living in Virginia versus in DC is the space that you get. My current apartment has so much room that I have areas I still have figured out what to do with even though I’ve lived here for almost 2 years! When I move into the city, the place is like a shoebox compared to where I live now, and figuring out what to do with the extra space won’t be an issue because there isn’t any.

This is all to say, it’s time for some downsizing. My current couch is a large three seater black leather pull-out, and I wouldn’t be able to have much more furniture in the apartment if it came with me, so it’s not. I’ve been looking at lots of stores (Ikea, World Market, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel), but especially thrift stores and Craig’s List because I really want to get a cool funky couch for the new place.

Check out this one I saw last night, which I THINK is the one.

It’s sort of an orange-y red color with some very subtle gold/yellow stripes, but it just looks like a solid color unless you’re up really close. I love how unique it is – I’ve never seen anything like it – and it is actually really comfortable too!

In all my research on decorating small places, they say not to be afraid of bold colors, and that armless furniture is the way to go because it gives the illusion of more space since it doesn’t chop the room up so much. I tend to really like the arms on sofas – I almost always find myself leaning up against it, like right now actually. So, it’s going to take some getting used to, but I think I’m in love with it.

I also think that my experience with The Washingtonian (which comes out Saturday!!!) and Kaarin really is helping me define style not just in what I wear, but in decorating the new place. I’m trying to go with a similar style to how I love to dress – classic, beautiful, and bold. This couch will likely be one of the funkier pieces of furniture I acquire, and then I’ll tone it down a bit with a more neutral carpet and some fun throw pillows.

Besides a new couch, I’m trying to get rid of a lot of things that I have and don’t use or don’t need so I’m reducing the amount of stuff that is moved. I’ve found a lot of great sites for apartment/home decorating, especially for small places. Here’s just a few of my favorites:

    • ApartmentTherapy.com – This site has AWESOME tips for decorating small spaces. There’s a whole series called “The Color Cure” where I learned about not being afraid of bold colors in small spaces, and where to use warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows – in your social spaces like living area and kitchen) and cool colors (greens, blues – in your “private” spaces, like bathroom and bedroom).
    • HGTV – TONS of resources on decorating/making the most use of small spaces. This is where I got the tip about armless furniture, plus some other awesome ideas like putting curtains over bookshelves to add hidden storage.
    • Young House Love – The mecca for all things DIY (do it yourself). It takes away the intimidation factor for lots of projects I’d normally be scared to try. That said, I haven’t actually TRIED anything I’ve found on here, but I’ve gotten lots of ideas. Two things I want to attempt, possibly before I move are: lining my dresser drawers with cute gift wrap and painting my vanity table which I love but is chipping. If I do these projects, would you guys be interested in seeing how they go?

Are you into home decorating or not really? How would you describe your style? Is most of your furniture purchased new, used, or hand-me-downs?

41 Comments on Downsizing

  1. Lydia (@InhabitBeauty)
    August 16, 2011 at 8:41 am (9 years ago)

    I’m a DIY and HGTV lover, so I would love to see your projects.

    I love the couch. It would make such a statement. I think a black carpet would be a great accent. I would struggle about the functionality of a couch with no arms, because I like to lean on them like you do.

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 9:28 am (9 years ago)

      I was thinking black and white throw pillows and maybe black carpet… it really is a SMALL space so I want to keep things lighter if possible. We’ll see what happens! I’m trying to take things slow and find things I really love rather than fill it up hastily!

      Reply
      • Lydia (@InhabitBeauty)
        August 16, 2011 at 9:32 am (9 years ago)

        I think that is an excellent strategy. No need to have it “finished” as soon as you move in. Take time to get to know how you’ll use the space and fill it thoughtfully.

        Reply
        • Beth
          August 16, 2011 at 9:35 am (9 years ago)

          Exactly. I tend to be really impulsive though, so it’s going to take some self control. =)

          Reply
  2. Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    August 16, 2011 at 8:52 am (9 years ago)

    LOVE the couch! I am obsessed with HGTV and my wish list of DIY projects like like 10 pages long. I’ve completed.. um none. But someday…

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 9:31 am (9 years ago)

      I love that YoungHouseLove has a whole list of 1 hour DIY projects…. those seem more doable!

      Reply
  3. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me
    August 16, 2011 at 9:23 am (9 years ago)

    I love decorating. I can’t claim to be stellar at it but I do highly enjoy it. 😀

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 9:32 am (9 years ago)

      Oh me neither. This is the first apartment where I’m trying to figure out my style rather than just filling it with everything I have randomly. =)

      Reply
  4. Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio
    August 16, 2011 at 9:31 am (9 years ago)

    I live in DC and I’m a big fan of craigslist. I bought my chaise on there for $45 and the peeps never cashed the check. Crazy huh? I’m not the best at decorating either, but I will say, color will changed your life 😉 It just brightens your day.

    I can’t wait to see pictures and if you need a shopping buddy, let me know.

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 9:34 am (9 years ago)

      Wow a FREE chaise. That’s like a dream to me!

      I am always down for a shopping buddy – – email me! I really want to check out Miss Pixies on 14th street… I’ve heard they have awesome/really unique items for sale there!

      Reply
  5. Kerilyn
    August 16, 2011 at 9:35 am (9 years ago)

    Hey Beth – Check out http://cb2.com (they have a store in G’town) their last catalog was about living in small spaces. I’m so jealous about your move… I LOVE the Dupont area!

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 9:43 am (9 years ago)

      I was JUST on their website yesterday! They have such cool stuff!

      Reply
  6. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats
    August 16, 2011 at 9:45 am (9 years ago)

    I never comment enough (mainly because I read your blog and many others from my droid), but I had to jump on here and say welcome to living in DC. Having done both Arlington (Courthouse) and DC, I have always preferred living just off Dupont Circle. It is totally worth the small spaces.

    Also: I actually think this post is totally about healthy living – our surroundings are important to our health as well. 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 10:19 am (9 years ago)

      I lived in Courthouse too for a while. I am SO excited to be in the city though – first time since college and I’m not sure that counts!

      And that’s a good point – your surroundings certainly help our mental health!

      Reply
  7. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    August 16, 2011 at 9:48 am (9 years ago)

    That’s definitely the rough thing about moving- the amount of space you have varies so much! My roommate and I both came from the same apartment complex last year and had tiny places. So now that we’ve combined households in a much bigger space, it’s been hard trying to figure out where everything should go!

    We definitely have an “office” that has been turned into our “storage of random crap room”.

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 10:21 am (9 years ago)

      Man I only have ONE small closet in the new place – – going from three large walk-ins in my current place plus another closet equal to the size of my only new closet…… storage is going to be rough!

      Reply
  8. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats
    August 16, 2011 at 10:02 am (9 years ago)

    Just saw your comment on my blog – Open City is in Woodley Park, on Calvert near Connecticut Avenue. I will update my post when I get home tonight, but wanted to be sure to answer you.

    Also, I had great luck at West Elm a few years ago buying furniture for a tiny apartment when I lived in New York 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 10:20 am (9 years ago)

      Yes West Elm is another one I’ve been frequenting. It tends to be a little on the expensive side but they have some beautiful things!

      Reply
  9. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    August 16, 2011 at 10:10 am (9 years ago)

    Advantage of living in DC: Free use of all city pools, several of which are very nice. And no confederate flags (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    I love that couch. I have no couch. So, I am not a decorator, if that is not obvious.

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 10:29 am (9 years ago)

      No couch!? That is one of my essentials!

      Reply
  10. Jennifer
    August 16, 2011 at 10:15 am (9 years ago)

    That couch is beautiful!! My first, buy it myself adult couch, was eggplant and I still love it. It was a bold choice for me at the time, but it was a great decision. I’m acutally much better at decorating my house than I am at dressing myself LOL. Congrats on your new place. I actually LOVE small spaces. It feels more cozy to me, and I’m kind of a minimalist, and I like challenging myself to stay super organized so that it works. That’s so exciting about your new place!!

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 10:31 am (9 years ago)

      Aww thank you! I was surprised that I would be drawn to something that color/style, but the second I saw the picture I was caught off guard! Everything I have now is black, white, and/or red, so anything outside of those colors is a bold choice for me!

      Reply
  11. Ginny
    August 16, 2011 at 10:30 am (9 years ago)

    Here’s a random question – I’m moving to Arlington next week! Do you know any good apartment complexes or places I can look to rent? I’m going to GWU for grad school this fall and I have classes in foggy bottom and in Ashburn. I’m overwhelmed hahaha….

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 11:31 am (9 years ago)

      Hi Ginny! How exciting! Arlington is awesome. I’m not sure about specific places, but every apartment I’ve ever lived in here I’ve found on Craig’s List. If you’re looking for cheap, but older buildings, my first apartment out of college was through Johnson Associates (japroperties.com) and they have a ton of apartments all throughout Arlington.

      Reply
  12. Kristie
    August 16, 2011 at 11:04 am (9 years ago)

    I live in Southern California where using public transportation is unheard of. Two weeks ago I spent a week at the Navy Yard for a conference. I picked a hotel a couple blocks from the White House (usually I stay in Crystal City), so that I could walk and Metro everywhere. I LOVED it! I always think of myself as more of a country girl, but I could see myself living amongst all that lively energy! Not to mention being able to walk to Capital City Brewing Co 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 11:32 am (9 years ago)

      Wow you were SO close to me! I live in CC now, but only for two more weeks. It’s funny because “metro” used to sound so foreign to me, but now I take it literally every day!

      Reply
  13. Tanya
    August 16, 2011 at 11:17 am (9 years ago)

    Beth,

    I really love DIY projects and it would be great to see them on this blog. It is another road on your journey after all. 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 16, 2011 at 11:32 am (9 years ago)

      Sounds like that’s the general consensus! Maybe this will motivate me to actually do the projects….

      Reply
  14. Lisa
    August 16, 2011 at 11:49 am (9 years ago)

    The suburbs here in Portland have bigger apartments. I used to live in a huge townhouse that was honestly too much space for me and my ex boyfriend. We had a whole extra room we rarely used.

    After the break up and I moved out on my own I had some major downsizing to do. I wanted to be closer in to downtown and the apartments were tiny (but good for one person).

    A few years ago I moved in with Michael, who owns a house, and even though there was enough room for all my crap I wanted to downsize. I got rid of SOOO Much stuff and it felt really good to cleanse.

    Reply
  15. Roz
    August 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm (9 years ago)

    HI Beth, decorating a new place is SOOO exciting. LOVE DIY projects and seeing how people make older things look new again!!! And love the couch!!! Hope your Tuesday goes well.

    Reply
  16. Sarah
    August 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm (9 years ago)

    I love HGTV and DIY. I tend to repaint, reupholster chairs/couches, and shop thrift/antique stores. Right now I’m sanding down a new antique vanity that I’m going to restain and repaint. It’s lots of work but completely rewarding when I get exactly what I want.

    If you’re willing to make the trip, there are a bunch of antique stores in Leesburg which I’ve found some decent pieces. You have to dig to find the good stuff at decent prices.

    That couch is pretty sweet 🙂 Some fun pillows and throws would be awesome!

    Reply
  17. Nikki
    August 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm (9 years ago)

    I love decorating at my house, and planning! My style is more traditional, classic. Light on the walls dark furniture. I love mixing new with old… and I love fabrics. Traditional Cottage would be my mishmash style.
    YES show us what you are doing! I love seeing more of a person, than just what they shove in their mouth! Good Luck!

    Reply
  18. Laura Jane @ Recovering Chocoholic
    August 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm (9 years ago)

    How exciting that you’re moving! It would be pretty tough to downsize. I do like the couch, but I also agree with you that I love the arms on couches. I always situate myself right by the arm. I have bright red couches, and I love them. (They’re not quite fire engine red, but they’re definitely red.) I have not regretted my decision to go with a bold couch. My husband and I are in the process of purchasing our first house (closing next month), and it’s going to be a lot work. I love watching HGTV, reading blogs like Young House Love, and dreaming of DIY projects. However, I’ve only thought and read about such projects – I’ve never actually DONE them! Our new (to us) house needs some TLC, so it will be a very learning experience.

    Reply
  19. Mary (A Merry Life)
    August 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm (9 years ago)

    I love that couch!

    I love watching HGTV and thinking about home decorating, but since I don’t even have my own apartment I really don’t get a chance to do anything. I’m not totally sure what my style will be when I get the chance, but I know it will involve used and hand-me-down furniture!

    Reply
  20. Shannon [Tropical Eats]
    August 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm (9 years ago)

    ah never actually looked at younghouselove until now.

    what a cool blog!

    all of our furniture (other than bed and futon) in our nyc apt is literally from things we’ve found along the sidewalk. it’s amazing what ppl throw out up here.

    Reply
  21. CC
    August 17, 2011 at 12:30 am (9 years ago)

    I love decorating my house! It’s so fun. I get bored easily so I try to buy core prices
    That are more neutral so that I can change the look with pillows, candles, vases, etc.
    I love cost plus! I love west elm too but it’s $$. I would describe my style as contemporary I guess. I live in California and I think that influences my style a lot. I want people to feel cozy and comfortable. I like to bring the outside in too. I usually buy new furniture. But we don’t usually spend that much. There is a store here that I love. I wish I had way more money to spend there. Would love for you to share more on this topic for sure!

    Reply
  22. Leanne
    August 17, 2011 at 7:29 am (9 years ago)

    I recently discovered YHL, too. We just bought our first house and my days are filled with surfing the web for all things home improvement/ DIY/ decorating. Are you using Pinterest.com at all? You can find some AMAZING stuff there! (Sherry from YHL is one of my favorite people to follow.)

    Definitely post how your projects are coming along! I think you’ll find a few new audience members as well as find that your current audience will enjoy it as well.

    Reply
  23. Suze @ Running Around the World
    August 17, 2011 at 9:00 am (9 years ago)

    I love the couch! If you’re looking for an accent rug, there are some great multi-neutral toned rugs out there – also I agree that black/white combo would go nicely. You could even do a fun piece of art to add more splash behind the couch. What thrift stores do you prefer in the DC area? Are there any funky furniture thrift stores you’d recommend?

    Keep posting on the home projects and good luck with the move!!

    Reply
  24. Ang
    August 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm (9 years ago)

    I am no good with home decor. I bought curtains almost two years ago and have only had them up for two months. I guess me and my husband are too lazy to decorate much. We did manage to paint the living room before we got our hardwood floors but that was because it was less work to do it before we pulled the carpet! lol! I do have some random pictures up, mostly of lighthouses and beach scenes. Pretty cheesy but it’s a big step up from the Clockwork Orange poster that used to be my sole living room decoration.

    I have a sectional and a chair that we bought new that takes up most of the living room. No room for end or coffee tables so that cuts down on the room available for knick knacks and stuff.

    Reply
  25. Theodora
    August 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm (9 years ago)

    Being in NYC, I obviously don’t live in a huge space, so I’m excited to see what you come up with, too! (I’m also excited to see you.)

    Reply

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