Minimalism, is one of those terms that despite referring to a specific style movement, can be incorporated into just about anything — the Wikipedia article describes it as “In visual arts, music, and other mediums, minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements.” However, when people start talking about minimalism when applied to interior design, or worse yet, minimalist lifestyles — it has connotations of throwing away the majority of your possessions, painting everything white, and embracing the nothingness as it were.
People seem to assume that minimalist interior design aims to be sparse and could never be described as ‘cosy’. This is not the case, in essence it is about exercising restraint and utilising pared down design elements in order to create a sense of luxury, through simplicity in the same way that the seeming simplicity of an iPhone’s interface seems more luxurious than a Blackberry handset with all of its complicated looking keys, despite the fact that both of these items serve the exact same functions. So, just what are these principles of minimalism and how could you use them in your home? Here’s a few tips…
Select one standout piece per room
It could be a particularly stunning statue in a hall, a sofa, or a table. The idea is to create one object of focus the eye is drawn to when you enter the room. Too many things drawing attention at one makes a space feel stressful and a tad bewildering. This piece could be anything from an overhead light to perhaps even a particularly large TV hung on the wall (Just about every old school adherent to minimalist ideals died when they read that.)
Keep it simple, stupid
Keep it simple, stupid! Or ‘K.I.S.S!’ for short is a term that has been attributed to the US Navy since the 1960s, but that also embodies minimalist ideals. It essentially means that good design, is simple design and therefore any unnecessary complexity is to be avoided. This straight forward mentality should be applied to everything when planning a minimalist room. Avoid fastidiousness or anything that seems a bit fuddy-duddy.
Go for high quality
This is a key point of consideration if you’re planning on creating a minimalist influenced space. Rather than stuffing a room with items for the sake of it, minimalist spaces need to be more considered. Everything in the room, by itself should add value. It is better to place a few high quality items than dozens of poor quality ones. While this principle on the surface seems to refer most directly to things like artwork, and furnishings like rugs. You can apply to just about any piece of furniture in the room, even to the paint you put on the walls.
It’s not all white actually…
While many think that minimalist is synonymous with that matte white, colour those first generation iPods all came as, it’s really not. Any interior designer will tell you that the minimalist school of design, permits any and all colours to be used. It’s more a question of keeping the colour palette and use of different patterns relatively tight.
A simple way to keep it simple is to keep to a tonal or neutral base. Then include some brighter colours and patterns in with the accenting.
Keep to simple lines and shapes
Clean straight or curved lines are a key element within the minimalist movement, look at the furniture designed by members of the Bauhaus and Mid-century Modern movement, which heavily influenced the ideals of minimalism when it started back in the 1960s.
While you can essentially include any furniture you want, it is best to avoid items that overly complex, frilly or ornate.
The question of clutter
Finally, we come to the question of clutter in the room. Many supporters of the minimalist movement would state that visual clutter is distracting and claustrophobic which makes a room feel stressful and therefore inhibits the atmosphere you’re trying to create. You don’t need to throw half of your things away however. It’s more about keeping things in order, and things have a place.
Keys, clothes and the kids’ homework strewn all over a room will break up the simple lines you’re trying to create. But by creating spaces to put everything such as a hook by the door for keys and plenty of tuck-away storage to hide thing away is a simple way to keep a room clutter free. Therefore when you start to plan out a room, you should consider this idea of ‘a place for everything’ first.