Published on December 3, 2018

We always support taking the time to declutter our homes. Be it a major overhaul or just a handful of swaps here and there—even the smallest changes can yield the biggest results. Especially if you’re working within a small space.

But we’re not here to push an exclusively minimalist lifestyle void of interest and character—instead, think of it as a more thoughtful and carefully curated approach to what you choose to bring into your home. Certain decor myths will have you thinking that your home isn’t complete without a specific item (or a whole slew of them). But we’re here to debunk these misconceptions.

We rounded up the everyday essentials you probably already have, with the space-saving alternatives you might want to swap them in for instead. So save a little space (and probably a lot of money) and see the things your home doesn’t need ahead.

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Photography by Jeremy Liebman

An Oversize Coffee Table

If you’re lacking space or want to embrace a minimalist approach, bring in a simple side table (or two) instead.

A Top Sheet

Skip the top sheet! Duvet covers can be removed and tossed into the wash. Bonus: It’ll be even easier to make your bed in the morning.

Extraneous Seating

As far as living rooms go, there are only so many ways one can furnish the room. Multiple chairs? That’s a commodity one can certainly go without. The assortment of side stools and chic lounges can make for an eclectic space, but a pared-down look with fewer chairs would look just as great.

The Bench at the Foot of the Bed

This decorative accent often runs the risk of doubling as a holding spot for the day’s (or even week’s) worth of clothing and accessories.

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Window Treatments

Skip the drapes or blinds in lieu of a vibrant color detail instead. We’re taking major style cues from this stunning kitchen.

Identical Dining Chairs

A uniform set of dining chairs is a thing of the past. Switch things up by mixing and matching or swap a few out in lieu of a bench. Bonus points if it matches the table.

Baskets

The idea of corralling all your essentials in a series of baskets may be good in theory, but more often than not, they just end up taking precious floor space. Consider alternate solutions, such as streamlined bins or vacuum-sealed bags, for storing throws and pillows.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle 

Oversize Plants

Fiddle-leaf fig trees, we’re looking at you! The occasional fresh-cut florals or potted succulents can give a space all the greens it could need. Plus, they require much less maintenance.

Furniture in the Entryway

The bench, the side table, the coat rack, the console—these things add up. Outfit a tight entryway with a versatile piece instead of the traditional getup.

Wall Paint

With enough bright and vibrant elements in a room, a lack of color on the walls will go unnoticed. Renters, take note.

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Photography by Michael Wiltbank

A Nightstand

When your bedside essentials entail little more than just a smartphone, it hardly makes sense to devote an entire piece of furniture to it. Suddenly, a streamlined wall shelf seems to be enough.

The Standard Outdoor Setup

We’re all for swapping out outdoor furniture in lieu of more versatile pieces, which can also work indoors. How’s that for double duty?

Clunky Filing Cabinets

We’ve long entered the digital era, and these outdated pieces hardly deserve a spot in your home. Palm-size hard drives should do the trick. If you’ve got a bit of paperwork you just can’t bear to part with, a desktop folder organizer is a much better option.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

A Pillow Pile

Sure, we love a good throw pillow or two, but your sofa or bed can do without a mountain of them. After all, there has to be room for you as well.

Bar Carts

Bar carts don’t come that small, and in the square footage–challenged space, they definitely don’t deserve the precious floor space they require. Opt for a compact tray to house your collection of spirits and barware.

Table Lamps

Swap these oversize and space-grabbing pieces for sleek sconces.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Closets

Small-space dwellers can finally rejoice. The tiny square footage allocated for a “closet” no longer needs to be stuffed with clothing. A garment rack that can live within the confines of the bedroom can hold just about every essential a closet would. On a related note, may we suggest a bed with built-in storage?

Bathroom Stools

Sure, a stool can make for a chic shampoo storage spot, but the edges of the tub or shower will do as well if you’re short on square footage.

Layered Rugs

Mixing and matching patterns and rug types can be quite a decorative challenge, but we’d be hard-pressed to deny that a single rug can make just as much of an impact as a layered pair.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

A Media Center

With wall-mounted TVs and a lack of digital devices (remember VCRs?) there’s little use for the media centers that span the entire length of a wall. Instead, utilize a chic storage unit such as a console.

The “Accent Piece”

There’s no need to go out of your way to purchase an item for the sole reason of turning it into the room’s focal point unless you find a piece you simply can’t part with. Re-create this decorative scheme with items such as a chair paired with a vibrantly patterned pillow.

TVs

Hear us out. With Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, we find ourselves watching more “TV” on our laptops more than on a television itself. Just think of all the other ways you could use up that space instead.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

The Assorted Food Storage Solutions

Free the pantry outfitted with every imaginable container you’ve managed to collect throughout the years. A cohesive grouping of food storage solutions can help keep the space clutter-free.

Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen doesn’t have to be exclusively composed of wall-to-wall cabinetry. Designate an area for floating shelves to house the more eye-catching items or utensils. On the plus side, it’ll provide the kitchen with a lighter and airier feel.

A Bed

For the small-space city dweller who often has to choose between a sofa and a bed, opt for both in the form of a sleeper sofa or daybed.

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Photography by Michael Wiltbank

A Vanity

The old-school storage vanity is covetable in theory, but a wall-mounted shelf paired with a mirror can function just as well.

The Wall-Mounted Jewelry Display

We’re all for showing off our accessories, but when it comes to storing them, we’re in favor of the classic jewelry box.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Bookends

Bookends may have become more decorative than functional—simply placing a horizontal stack of books against the rest will achieve the same goal.

A Pouf

It’s hard to pass on this decorative staple, but when pressed for space, a compact stool or side table may be a more versatile alternative.

A Dining Table

Instead of the traditional dining room set, opt for a versatile kitchen table with a fold-up function.

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