How to Simplify Your Life in 2018

Say goodbye to chaos, clutter, and overwhelm, and hello to breathing space, simplicity, and a wider margin to your days. Sounds delicious, right? If simplifying your life is at the top of your resolutions list for 2018, but you’re not sure where to begin, start here. Put these 5 tips into practice, and you’ll be on your way to a more spacious home and schedule before you know it.

Avenue Lifestyle
Avenue Lifestyle

Tip #1 — Decide how you want your home to feel

Instead of getting hung up on how your home looks, zero in on how you want to feel when you are spending time in your home. For example, would you like your home to feel peaceful, spacious, and clean? Or creative, welcoming, and warm? Aim to choose three keywords that capture the essence of how you want to feel (and how you hope others feel) when you enter your home. Once you have your words, use them to evaluate your space and everything in it. For each item in your home, consider whether it contributes to, or detracts from, the feeling you wish to create.

Avenue LifestyleHYGGE
Avenue Lifestyle

Tip #2 — Name your essentials

Once you’ve let go of some of the clutter that doesn’t mesh with how you want your home to feel, it’s time to move on to the experiences you want to have in your space. So consider this: What are your essentials? What activities, rituals, and routines bring you joy and peace? For me, this includes waking up early so I can sip coffee from my favorite mug in peace and quiet, reading great books, and having cozy game nights with my family. Perhaps for you it’s yoga, knitting, and playing the cello! There are no right or wrong answers here, but do keep your list short and sweet. And then make these items your top priority. To find extra time, pare back on non-essentials that don’t feed your soul, like aimless internet browsing and scrolling through social media feeds.

Shira Gill2
Vivian Johnson for Shira Gill

Tip #3 — Choose quality over quantity

Throughout the year, whenever you need to shop for something new, make ‘quality over quantity’ your new mantra. Making this one change means you’ll choose items that you really love, and stop filling your home with clutter. For example, pick the one lovely leather bag you love, rather than three so-so bags that you bought because they were on sale.

Tip #4 — Schedule regular clutter clearing dates

There are regular times throughout the year when we get new things: birthdays, holidays, back-to-school shopping, but we hardly ever make regularly scheduled times to clear out the old things. No wonder we end up with cluttered homes! So grab your calendar, and pencil in at least three dates when you can commit a day to clearing clutter from your home. With these in place, your space has a much better chance of staying clean and clutter-free throughout the year (and beyond).

Shira Gill1
Vivian Johnson for Shira Gill

Tip #5 — Make small choices that add up

The little things really do add up to big results, and this is definitely true when it comes to decluttering and simplifying your life! Aim to pick up just one tiny new habit at a time — for example, opening your mail immediately and recycling all the junk — and once it’s fully integrated into your routine, add another tiny habit, like doing a ten minute tidy up before bed each evening. To keep your awareness on simplifying, I highly recommend keeping a simplicity journal where you record your thoughts on new habits you’re trying, and the progress you are making. You can do it!

Rug Roundup
Rug Shopping Guide: 1. Surya Jill Rosenwald Orinocco Webs in black and cream; 2. Jaipur Rugs Naturals Lucia Mayen in white and tan; 3. Surya Contemporary Pillows Teori IX in ivory and light gray; 4. Loloi Rugs Justina Blakeney Kahelo in ivory and aqua; 5. Loloi Rugs Phoebe in white.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Part VII: Rug + Room

via Design Milk + Surya Harput

You know those times when a room looks incredible, but one little thing is missing that you can’t put your finger on? Sometimes that thing is a rug. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a legit interior designer or someone who likes to play at being one in their spare time, facts are facts. Rooms need texture and defined spaces to look and feel complete. Let’s check out five rug-less spaces that could go up a livability level with the addition of a little something underfoot.

First up, this Scandinavian-inspired kitchen and dining area that could use a little space delineation. By bringing in a rectangular rug in colors that already exist in the room’s palette you can already breathe easier. The traditional pattern gives a nod to a Scandi farmhouse vibe, while the colors within it stay muted and in the background so as not to overwhelm the simplicity of the space.


Don’t you just want to crawl under that massive pile of bedcovers and hibernate? I definitely do, but I’d also like something nice to set foot on once I wake up from my long winter’s nap. I’d pull this artsy and abstract rug into the space in a large size that would fit under the bed with space to spare on both sides for an extra layer of warmth.


I’m all about interiors that make a space feel light and airy, but without a rug in this entry it feels a bit empty. This is another case of relying on the existing color palette to avoid overwhelming an area with a rug that immediately draws your eye downward and keeps it there. The creams, whites, and greys translate perfectly to this round beauty that will help give the entryway an open yet welcoming vibe.

Cement floors can be incredibly chic, but without some distinction in this space they just feel cold. (And with that beauty of a fireplace it should be anything but!) I’d add this graphic floor rug under and in front of the couch to bring some pattern into the picture and cozy up the sitting area without distracting from what’s obviously a gorgeous view outside those massive windows.

Rugs in the kitchen can be controversial, but I’m all for them! Pretreating and spot removal are no big deal, and I always feel like a floor rug makes the space that everyone naturally gravitates toward that much more welcoming. The clean lines in this kitchen, paired with touches like that lovely chalkboard, are asking for a little something extra. This rug holds true to the aesthetic that’s already been outlined and manages to make me want to spend hours chatting there even more.

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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It’s a Trend: Oversized Headboards

A Beautiful Mess
A Beautiful Mess

Just when you think you’ve seen everything bedroom decor has to offer, along comes something refreshingly different. I’m talking about oversized headboards. If you want your bed to make a big statement you’re definitely going to want to check out this trend and the possibilities that come along with it. The channel tufted version above is an absolute dream that makes the shorter walls from the slanted ceiling feel much taller as a result of its sheer size.

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But don’t feel like you need to stay to the tried and true route. This bedroom went the route of a massive folding screen behind a fairly standard headboard. It manages to mimic the wall’s angles and helps to create a cozy cocoon of the bed and tables. I really like the layered headboard look, but it’s safe to say that this design would look just as good without the shorter one.

The Glitter Guide

Different versions of this extra tall tufted headboard are probably the most popular, and I can’t help but think of the various lighting options these big guys lend themselves to. These library lights are stunning, but pendants hanging in the same spots or swing lights would be just as show-stopping.

Heatherly Design

Here’s an example of those pendants with an extra wide velvet channel tufted beauty. I like that they didn’t double up and add a table lamp as well, it helps clear up space for plants, books, and whatever else takes up that bedside table real estate. In this space, the designer matched the bedskirt to the headboard to make it feel more connected, but what’s so great about this trend is that you can simply slide that oversized headboard right behind a platform bed for a brand new look.

Roger Mehrhof Architects

If you’re interested and want to experiment there’s also the DIY route. Control the size and intricacy of your piece by using wood and making your own with plywood, two by fours, or anything else you’re drawn to. Finish in a stain, get creative with some paint, or cover it over with batting and fabric for your own tufted masterpiece! You can also create the illusion of an oversized headboard by hanging a large rug on the wall, like these.


For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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Dreamy Home Libraries

On a cold and rainy (or snowy) weekend, not much can beat curling up in a comfy chair with a hot mug of tea, surrounded by beautiful books. If you’ve been dreaming of crafting your own home library, you’ve come to the right place: you’ll find plenty of bookish inspiration, straight ahead.

Photo: Jenny Komenda via Architectural Digest

I love the idea of having a dedicated home library — a screen-free retreat where you can indulge in the simple pleasure of relaxing with a good book. Floor-to-ceiling shelving makes a big impact on its own, but why not put the icing on the cake with a rolling library ladder to reach those upper shelves, and a row of lights to illuminate your tomes? In the library shown above, a buttery leather sofa piled with cozy knit cushions sits atop layered rugs. Wouldn’t you just love to curl up and read here?

Photo: Kathy Collins

If you don’t have an entire room to devote to books, consider letting your library share space with a home office, guest room, sun room, or master bedroom. The living room can be a wonderful place for a library, but keep in mind that if you also have the TV in the living room, blaring sports may not prove to be the most serene backdrop for reading. However, if your TV is in a separate den, the living room can be ideal. The most important part is comfort, so wherever you decide to put your library, it’s worth investing in a high-quality reading chair. You can’t go wrong with a pair of classic wingbacks, as shown here.

Photo: The Style Files via Apartment Therapy

Of course, your bookshelves don’t need to be built-in to be amazing, as the library shown above proves. Just get the tallest bookcases you can find, anchor them to the wall (to prevent toppling) and fill them to the brim with fabulous books. And instead of library lights, you can simply dangle a fun set of string lights vertically down the side of your shelves to add readerly ambiance.

Every library needs a cozy rug underfoot, and I love the look of layered rugs. Layering rugs might sound complicated, but it can be really simple — scroll back up to that first photo to see how great it can look! Above, I’ve shared two of my current favorite combos; get the largest size natural fiber rug that will fit in your space, and top it with a traditional rug in a slightly smaller size for color and softness.

Rug Shopping Guide: (Clockwise from top left) Surya Country Living jute rug; Surya Caesar rug; Loloi Rugs Izmir; Safavieh Natural Fiber sisal rug.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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