Minimalism in Practice

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Minimalist home design can be either modern or contemporary in nature. The unifying element should be a focus on form, color, and texture. Lighting in both cases tends to be industrial in design with a focus on track lights, art lamps, and accent spotlights. Modern minimalist spaces usually feature white or black walls with little to no trim work or window casings. The plain walls allow artwork and large accessories to take center stage. Large walls of windows or glass are commonly used to create a sense of airiness and maximize natural light. A modern layout is typically open concept with simple room divisions made with furniture, bookcases, fabric, or low-rise cabinets.

Modern minimalist home design uses bold geometric forms along with polished finishes and asymmetrical balance. Texture is kept to a minimum, and form takes precedence over function. Furniture is streamlined in shape and is upholstered with fabrics or leather in neutral colors or tone-on-tone patterns. Metal accents like stainless steel or chrome are often seen on furniture pieces, hardware, or fixtures. Wood surfaces and cabinetry often receive a polished or lacquered finish over a light color of wood. Flooring is usually an easy care surface like concrete, wood, linoleum, stone, or tile.

On the other hand, contemporary minimalist home design features the same austere environment but with a softer approach to forms and lines. Sweeping curves and rounded lines take shape in room layouts, furniture, and accessories. Walls are kept neutral but with warmer shades like taupe, brown, cream, and beige. Pops of bold primary colors are often incorporated with painted accent walls, art pieces, upholstery, or rugs.

Texture is also important to creating warmth and comfort in contemporary minimalist home design. Microfiber or velour fabrics add softness to sofas and chairs while rugs feature plush, shaggy textures. Artwork is often colorful and striking which infuses a contemporary space with energy. A minimalist contemporary design integrates the subtle textures of natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, wool, or silk.

 

 

Benefits of a Minimalist Home
I could probably go on for awhile about this, but let me just list a few major benefits:

  1. Less stressful. Clutter is a form of visual distraction, and everything in our vision pulls at our attention at least a little. The less clutter, the less visual stress we have. A minimalist home is calming.
  2. More appealing. Think about photos of homes that are cluttered, and photos of minimalist homes. The ones with almost nothing in them except some beautiful furniture, some nice artwork, and a very few pretty decorations, are the ones that appeal to most of us. You can make your home more appealing by making it more minimalist.
  3. Easier to clean. It’s hard to clean a whole bunch of objects, or to sweep or vacuum around a bunch of furniture. The more stuff you have, the more you have to keep clean, and the more complicated it is to clean around the stuff. Think about how easy it is to clean an empty room compared to one with 50 objects in it. That’s an extreme example, of course, as I wouldn’t recommend you have an empty room, but it’s just to illustrate the difference.

What a Minimalist Home Looks Like
This would vary, of course, depending on your taste and how extreme of a minimalist you want to be. I am a minimalist, but not to any extreme. But here are some characteristics of a minimalist home:

·         Minimal furniture. A minimalist room would only contain a few essential pieces of furniture. A living room, for example, might only have a couch, another chair or love seat, a coffee table, a minimalist entertainment stand (not a huge one with a bunch of shelves), a television, and a couple of lamps. It could even contain less (couch, chairs, and coffee table, for example). A bedroom might have a simple bed (or even just a mattress), a dresser, and perhaps a night stand or book shelf.

·         Accent decorations. A home completely clear of things would be a bit boring, actually. So instead of having a coffee table completely free of any objects, you could have a simple vase with a few flowers, for example. Or a clear desk might just have a family photo. An otherwise empty wall might have a tasteful piece of art.

How to Create a Minimalist Home
There are actually no set steps to making your home minimalist, except to change your philosophy. But here are some tips that I would offer to anyone trying to shoot for minimalism:

  1. One room at a time. Unless you’re just moving into a place, it’s hard to simplify an entire house at once. Focus on one room, and let that be your center of calm. Use it to inspire you to simplify the next room, and the next. Then do the same outside!
  2. Start with furniture. The biggest things in any room are the furniture, so you should always begin simplifying a room by looking at the furniture. The fewer pieces of furniture, the better (within reason, of course). Think of which furniture can be eliminated without sacrificing comfort and livability. Go for a few pieces of plain, simple furniture (example of a minimalist coffee table) with solid, subdued colors.
  3. Only the essentials. Whether looking at your furniture or anything else in the room, ask yourself if the item is truly essential. If you can live without it, get it out. Try to strip the room down to its essentials — you can always add a few choice items beyond the essentials later.
  4. Clear floors. Except for the furniture, your floors should be completely clear. Nothing should clutter the floor, nothing should be stacked, nothing should be stored on the floor. Once you’ve gotten your furniture down to the bare essentials, clear everything else on the floor.
  5. Clear surfaces. Same thing with all flat surfaces. Don’t have anything on them, except one or two simple decorations. It will make everything much, much more minimal-looking.
  6. Clear walls. Some people hang all kinds of stuff on their walls. No can do in a minimalist home. Clear your walls except for one or two simple pieces of nice artwork.
  7. Simple artwork. To keep a room from being boring, you can put a simple painting, drawing or photo, framed with a subdued, solid color, on each wall if you want. Leave some walls bare if possible.
  8. Plain patterns. Solid colors are best for floor coverings (if you have any), furniture, etc. Complex patterns, such as flowers or checkers, are visual clutter.
  9. Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Once you’ve simplified a room, take a moment to look around and enjoy it. It’s so peaceful and satisfying.
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