Small and Cool – apartment living

spring branches about to bud on our windowsill

I actually really like living in a tiny two-room Moscow apartment.

I mean, I sometimes get a little wistful looking at gorgeous Pottery Barn and HGTV magazine spreads, but whenever I start to complain about how expensive it is to rent and buy here; how we have no yard, and the yard we do have is filled with dog poop and broken beer bottles; how there are no thrift stores, and everything else in Moscow is just too expensive; how there just isn’t enough room in our apartment and I wish we weren’t renting so we could redesign everything, it helps to remind myself how many things I actually do really like about this place.

I love the high ceilings and the 8th floor view over the park. I love the white walls, and big, new windows and the fact that we have all our own furniture, and how close it is to the metro. I like that it’s small because it keeps us from buying and hoarding too much junk! Also, less square-footage means less cleaning and upkeep for both of us.

After several years of apartment dwelling, here’s a list of some of the things that I wish someone had told me about Moscow apartment living:

  •  Cleaning and re-organizing is as good as (and much cheaper than!) moving or remodeling! Whenever I start to get cranky about where I live, a good closet cleaning always helps.
  • Moscow apartments are really, really warm – you’re not going to need that big, bulky down blanket from Minnesota that now takes up almost a fourth of your bedroom storage space.
  • Use hooks – it helps to be able to hang stuff up.
  • Just buy a few towels – you’re not going to have enough room to store more
  • Don’t bring your high heels. You can’t walk around Moscow in them anyway, and now they take up tons of storage space.
  • get covered shelves for economist husband to hide all his papers
  • Throw pillows, though indeed very pretty, are totally a waste of space. You only have one place to sit down in your living room, so don’t take it up with pillows.
  • Just get a few Christmas/other seasonal ornaments.
  • CD and DVD albums are the way to go – you’re not going to have space to store all those cases!
  • duvets are the best.
  • If you buy a sun lamp, you’ll definitely be a happier person – you probably won’t turn it off for the entire six months between October and March.
  • A great alternative to envy-inducing Martha Stewart and Better Homes and Gardens sites is the fantastic “Apartment Therapy“, which features fantastic, practical, inexpensive and creative ideas that remind you how lucky you are to live in such a small cool space!

like this....


and this!
Any decorating/housekeeping tips you wish someone had told you? What works for you?
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3 Responses to Small and Cool – apartment living

  1. I have grown to love living in small spaces — my smallest apartment was 200 square feet, and I even lived in a camper van for a summer once. Now my house seems huge to me at 800 square feet, but to everyone else in the U.S., it is tiny.

    The key to a beautiful space is in the editing — acquiring only what you love and need; taking out everything that isn’t necessary. A small space makes it easier to do that, because it’s necessary.

    I think the most important attribute in a small space, though, is light. Your windows with the deep sills are wonderful!

    • Hi Amy! Have heard lots about you from C&N here in Moscow 🙂 What a cool coincidence story about mutual friends! Well said about editing – just over on your blog and saw kitchen remodel pictures – very nice. Also, saw your recent post – congratulations on a soon-to-come new family member!! Will you post nursery pictures?? 🙂

      • Hi! Yes, I’m still smiling about the funny coincidence! I found your site through your cousin Tyler’s blog and I’ve been really enjoying reading about your life in Moscow. 😉

        Yes — will definitely post some nursery photos! I was waiting to finish it until our baby was born, so now that she’s here (hurray!), I’ll be getting it done as we have time.

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