Modern civilisation continues to take a toll on mental health. Seemingly mundane issues such as traffic congestion, negative news reports, work stress, and more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic can adversely affect mental health. When such issues build up over time, one’s creativity is curbed and gradual mental decline occurs. It is therefore important for you to have a place where you can step back and recharge – that place is your home.
Your home is your sanctuary. It is your place to escape from the busyness and intrusiveness of this extremely demanding and fast-paced life. Today’s design trend of keeping a well-ordered and clutter-free home is adopting a minimalist design. The simplicity of minimalist living is the new norm for sophistication. This article brings you 7 decor tips for the minimalist lifestyle.
What is minimalism?
A minimalist space is generally characterized by a basic design, a serene color palette, and well-chosen shapes and textures. The simplest and fewest elements are used to emphasize the features of every element in a minimalist interior design.
A minimalist pays attention to the details of interior design such as house plans, floor plans, design movements, lighting, and color. Part of it is the right choice of furniture pieces like dining tables, chairs, wall art, natural materials, etc.
In 1947, renowned Architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe coined the philosophy of “less is more” and it became the bedrock on which minimalism in design lies today. Today, minimalism in design is based on its principles. This philosophy holds that eliminating clutter and simplifying one’s environment can transform one’s mental state into a calm and serene state of mind. In-home design, this decor style has gained traction and can often be seen in brilliant homes like Olivia Lopez’s Brooklyn apartment and John Pawson’s English home.
While there might be several questions and misconceptions about this design trend, we have compiled a quick list of 7 key elements to ease the transition if you are considering adopting the minimalist lifestyle.
1. Prioritize Functionality
The unspoken rule of minimalism is to lean towards a more function-centric aesthetic or space. The first step is to assess the functionality of your home. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest one is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the things you do not need to use very often?
- What items have you held unto over the years but hardly use?
- What items are you keeping simply for their sentimental value?
Prioritizing functionality does not always mean removing items that are not of immediate need. Sometimes, a simple arrangement and tucking in items/elements that are rarely used will do. Cabinetry and large storage spaces help ease the struggle of what to keep and what to get rid of.
When British designer John Pawson, designed his home in Cotswolds, England, he minimized the decor style to a spacious country home infused with the basic functional elements in a home. This kitchen with a centerpiece oakwood table, strong wooden accents, and textured walls overlook the green scenery of the beautiful countryside. In the summer, they use this kitchen as an excellent space to connect with family and host dinner guests.
2. Declutter Your Space
Decluttering and organizing your home is the same as taking care of yourself. Household clutter may seem harmless but when you have too much to manage it can cause stress. Just like decluttering your space, prioritizing functionality involves getting rid of unnecessary items. According to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus on Apartment Therapy, following the 90/90 rule can help to rid your space of sentimental clutter. The basic facet of this rule is:
“Have I used it in the past 90 days? Will I use it in the coming 90 days?”
Answering no to both of those questions is a sure sign that this is clutter that needs to be removed.
This simple 20th-century kitchen in Barcelona, and renovated by Architecture Studio Mas-Aqui exemplifies an excellent clutter-free minimalist space. White space and simplicity of interior design allow for a broader visual perception throughout the entire home. A modern house with minimal decor promotes a space that is clean and clutter-free, which inspires creativity and brings about the feeling of well-being.
3. Minimalism does not equate to Blandness
A common misconception is that minimalist decor is synonymous with blandness. This is mostly untrue. Minimalism allows you to focus on the most important elements in your space, including collectors’ items. For instance, if you are a traveler or collector, you can cleverly infuse the basic elements of things you love or things that accurately reflect your personality within a space without introducing clutter.
Embracing the minimalist aesthetic can be optimized by infusing your personality and flair into space, while still embodying a simple decor palette. For instance, Olivia Lopez’s Brooklyn apartment, as featured on www.architecturaldigest.com, clearly defines her love for travel by displaying and incorporating decor elements she has collected over the years into her home. The pair of stone shot glasses, carefully positioned as the centerpiece of this exquisite Charlotte Periand for Cassina table, were collected by Olivia in Puebla, Mexico.
4. Neutrality in Colors
Color plays a major role in the minimalist decorating style. Minimalist decor usually features neutral colors like beige, white, and light gray. However, you can add pops of color to your space to make it more vibrant!
This can be done by adding accent elements such as throw pillows, a sculpture, wall art, figurines, or a sofa. Neutral colors in the large negative space in a home create a strong canvas for adopting minimalism. The impact of this can also be magnified by playing with lighting and shadows on pigments. In minimalistic design, light grey, black, and white are however the predominant colors.
5. Introduce Textures to Improve Visual Layering
Investing in high-quality furniture can do wonders in transforming a minimalist interior. Exquisite furniture does well to draw the eye away from the large neutral space in the room. Additionally, it creates a focal point from which other decor elements radiate from. Furniture with simple and clean lines is usually the best choice in the minimalist decor style.
Beyond furniture, opt for other elements that strongly complement the focal point of the room. This creates a strong visual layering and texturing that retains the minimalist simplicity within any space.
This space by Melbourne architects, Austin Maynard Architects, is filled with textures of wood and fabric that create a sense of intrigue and gives a lived-in feel. The minimalist decor strikes a perfect balance between creating appeal and retaining a minimalist aesthetic.
6. Play with Lighting
When it comes to designing a minimalist home, lighting can make or break the final result. In addition to layering with textures as previously mentioned, lighting can add a strong visual intrigue to space and enhance your color choices. It creates depth and atmosphere.
This grey-theme minimalist bedroom, design and visualized by Z Design, cleverly use cove lighting with yellow undertones to infuse a calm and collected atmosphere in this simple bedroom.
7. Brighten Your Home With Plants
When adopting the minimalist interior, some homeowners often forget that a lack of natural elements might render a space too artificial or bland. It is for this reason that introducing a simple selection of indoor plants gives the space a natural appearance and better vibrancy. Because a minimalist interior is characterized by white space and clean lines, plants add life to the design. In addition to the overall appearance of a space, it boosts moods, increases creativity, reduces stress, and makes for a healthier and happier you. Natural light enhanced with plants truly transform the minimalist look of your home into a classy and refreshing space.
Plants like Bantel’s Sensation or Burgundy Rubber tree do wonders in adding a touch of nature to a minimalist interior. Other plants you might consider are the snake plant or the echeveria. The bottom line is choosing plants that require minimal maintenance but make a large difference in improving your space. Bantel’s Sensation (Sansevieria trifasciata) and Burgundy Rubber Tree(Ficus elastica) are two examples of plants that don’t need much maintenance.
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to minimalism. Over the years, the adoption of the minimalist interior design trends in homes, houses, and apartments has continued to grow, especially in urban areas. Adopting the minimalist lifestyle in interiors is basically a decluttering of your mind and your home creating a more open canvas for creativity and mental clarity.