PROBLEM: You have some serious “attachment issues,” which is a nice way of saying, “You’re a hoarder.”
DO Unload some of your baggage—quite literally. Take honest stock of what you actually use and donate the rest to places like Housing Works for a hearty tax write-off.
DON’T Hit the Brooklyn Flea with a pocketful of cash—until you’ve unloaded some of your own junk.
DO Maximize your space including the floors and ceiling by adding DIY shelves and components from supply stores like Home Depot.
DON’T Go to the Container Store and buy a bunch of boxes—until you downsize.
PROBLEM: You haven’t changed a thing since you moved into your apartment. The walls are still white, the floors are barren, and the entire place is devoid of any personality.
DO Pick up paint brushes and eco-friendly paint at the Green Depot on Bowery and replace the standard-fare, white-wash with a bold new you.
DON’T Try and reupholster your own furniture—this is a craft, so hire a professional or take a class.
DO Add color and style with one-of-a-kind throw rugs from ABC Carpet and Home.
DON’T Just go buy a bunch of stuff—carefully consider a few statement pieces from shops like the MoMA Design Store Soho.
PROBLEM: Eating at a different restaurant every night is fun but expensive. Staying in for a slow-cooked, homemade meal can be equally satisfying—and even more rewarding.
DO Fill in the gaps of your culinary arsenal at kitchen supply stores like the Broadway Panhandler. (Seriously, you don’t have a garlic press or a hand-held emulsifier? For shame.)
DON’T Buy bulky appliances that sound cool—unless you know how to use them. Otherwise, they’re just expensive dust collectors. Let’s be real: No one with a day job really needs a sous vide water oven.
DO Set a table that will impress your guests—whether it’s a sit-down dinner gathering or a party of two—with some creative flatware from Fishs Eddy.
DON’T Cram your cabinets with cans and boxes and then forget about them. Check the expiration dates occasionally and toss what’s gone bad or donate what’s still good to a soup kitchen.
PROBLEM: Your Ernie-and-Bert dynamic might be what keeps the spark alive, but in terms of cohabitation, you need to reach some design compromises.
DO Get creative to make the opposite aesthetics harmonize; for example, hang personal mementos, like baseball cards and arty prints, in stylish frames that match.
DON’T Live in a design stalemate with clashing elements that make no sense together, like a vintage floral couch paired with an ultra-modern black coffee table. Get ideas from interior-design set-ups in Tribeca or larger stores like IKEA.
DO Start from scratch at a furniture shop, like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, which has collaboration at its core.
DON’T Squeeze two apartments worth of belongings into one dwelling. Either toss belongings or rent a storage space to share.
PROBLEM: Granted one-room quarters are tough, but you need to learn the fine art of compartmentalizing and create some boundaries between your public and private life.
DO Purchase some Japanese-style shoji screens or section off spaces with curtains.
DON’T Live like a loner—sure you don’t have enough space for a dog, but get some plants to talk to. Buy some arty, intellectual ones from Sprout Home in Williamsburg.
DO Buy furniture that does double duty like a couch, loveseat, or futon that folds out into a bed.
DON’T Be a hot mess. With such limited space there’s no room for piles of laundry and scattered books. Stock up on hangers, get a hamper, and give in to your inner OCD at Bed Bath & Beyond in Chelsea.
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