Tinted Green

eco-friendly life & style

3 Things I've Learned from Downsizing

home, eco livingAlex HoodComment
earthy, airy studio apartment | tintedgreen
Studio apartment | tintedgreen
decorating with plants in a studio apartment | tintedgreen

Brandon and I downsized into our studio apartment five months ago! We love living in Sacramento and have mostly adjusted to living in tighter quarters.

Downsizing was definitely a way for us to cut our living expenses but I personally was game for it because I think one of the things anyone can do to lighten their footprint on resources. Smaller homes require less energy to cool and heat plus they hardcore force you to reevaluate how much stuff you have and what you bring in.

Brandon and I both had romantic notions of what living in a small space would look like and be like. Of course, our imaginations weren’t right. We dreamers tend to forget about the mundane, not-so-magical parts of life. The reality of living in a studio apartment has taught me a few things about small space life.


The limit does exist. (PS #sorrynotsorry for this eye-roll worthy pseudo Mean Girls reference.)

Let me explain.

See, my apartment is weird…and not just in the usual way. Most apartments don’t have enough storage space where you really need it, next to no counter space and random, inconsistent lighting through the day. All of those are expected. Been there, done that.

This apartment is particularly weird because the main living room doesn’t have a bare wall. Like none.

One wall has the doorway that leads to the kitchen, one wall has two doors for our long, narrow closet the far wall is a bay window and the fourth wall would be bare if not for the eyesore of a bulky built-in…thing. Not quite bookshelf, not quite dresser, just quite ugly. Oh and I almost forgot the third door in that room which leads to the hallway.

Yeah, friends, my apartment has two entrances. We only use one of them, but doors and doorways are a very real constraint in how we’ve arranged our furniture in the main room.

I spent so much time on the internet pre and post-move hoping to find a solution for my small space studio woes but what I’d really been doing was focusing on the problems without thinking of creative workarounds. I mean, the internet is only so helpful. There might be tons of articles about how to style a studio apartment, but none of those studios look like mine. Those have open floor plans and don’t have an abundance of doors to work around.

Once I stopped trying to find the answer on the internet, I came up with my own! And all of a sudden, I had all of these ideas of how to make our apartment more of a home than just the three rooms we live in.


When we were talking about moving, I knew I wanted to live somewhere that would challenge me to live with less. I knew that I sucked at getting rid of my things so I kinda knew I needed my apartment to create that limit for me.

We let go of a lot when we moved but we also kept a lot. Some people have superpowers that make it easy for them to go through their possessions and determine whether they’ve been useful or not. I do not have that power. In my head, almost everything could be used one day, and since I’ve already spent the money on the thing (or received a high quality version of it as a gift), then I should keep it so I don’t have to go buy one if ever I do need that thing.

Clearly, I’m not perfect. I still have too much. That’s not even guilt talking, it’s the realist. I’m holding on to stuff for some nebulous someday and then forcing myself to deal with the stress of trying to store and organize it all.

The cool part of this whole situation is I’m finally at a tipping point. I’m finally understanding that as sentimental as something might be, I can’t enjoy the value of it if I keep it stored away.

And if I’m keeping it stored away and never think of it, then is it really that valuable to me? That’s the hard question I’m asking and I’m letting myself get really honest about the answer.


Our apartment has always been where we hang out with our friends. I think neither of us was sure how living in such a small space would affect our ability to host our friends, but luckily, it hasn’t changed much. Just last week we managed to have four grownups and a baby over!

I’m lucky to have friends who don’t feel weird sitting on my bed. Since we moved, I’ve learned that the amount of space you have matters less when you’re with good people. A small home that’s welcoming will always be better than a mansion that isn’t.

There are a bunch of things I’d like to change about my studio apartment, but the size of it isn’t one of them. Even though my apartment is weird and has too many doors and built-ins and horrible hot water pressure, I still love it.

I have grand plans for this little space so if you have a favorite site for inspiration or DIY’s or just have tips to share from your own experience, leave me a comment or send me an email! This interiors newb needs all the help she can get!!


xo, Alex