We’ve all had several years of being heavily introduced to the concept of Minimalism. It’s hard to surf the internet, read a magazine, or even watch some of the HGTV shows without hearing the word tossed around. As always when a new idea comes up, there are people who have written “how to” books on the subject. Nearly everyone thinks they “need this” in their lives now. But what exactly is it? “Is it new and are we really ready to embrace it?”
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The word minimalism seems to have a definition that will morph into whatever form is needed. While researching, I found it originally related to the arts and music.
Regarding Art – a trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.
Regarding Music – an avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases that change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.
Neither of these seems to fit the concept of today that shouts to have less, do more with less, de-clutter, and organize all with the connotation that we have to change how we live.
This definition seems to be more suited for the philosophy of our design firm and a much nicer way to think about how we should live.
However, many of our clients are under the impression that minimalism means throwing everything out, starting over and living an almost monk like existence. While this may work for some, for a period of time, it seems like a tough life to maintain. Ironically, that seems to be the very opposite of the peace we are supposed to gain from living with less.
Personally, most of the info I see now about the subject, is too restrictive and gives off a very negative vibe. Most experts in this field lay out systems that are meant to fix a lot of problems and all very quickly. More of a just “do it” attitude. Well, if it were that simple we wouldn’t need help or advice at all. It would be done! What if we looked at this process as a journey not a destination.
This is a rewrite of a post we did awhile back. The more I thought about minimalism the more I wanted to share what is, and has worked for us for a lot of years. It is something we have grown into. I have also made an effort to read, and follow, some very inspiring writers who take a more gentle approach to the idea of minimalism. The one thing we all have in common, regardless if the subject is of decor, food, fashion, careers or families, is that we strive for contentment. If that means fewer of this or that, so be it. If not, the simple term “enough” works in our lifestyles. More importantly, what is enough for me might not be for you. I rather like the few things I am obsessive about. They are not all materialistic but the ones that are would get me kicked right out of the pages of some of the best-selling authors who write about Minimalism.
Many times pictures are worth more than words when trying to get a point across. Honestly, it is hard to find images of American homes that fit what we are trying to say. We will get there as a society but as of now it is easier to admire across our ponds. We’d like to thank Coco Lapine who featured this home on her blog recently. This home shows how to use our five “must haves” to successfully create an inviting, “yet in our minds” minimalist decor. It is not void of comfort, creates interest and is the Perfect LBD for this owner.
The 5 Must Haves For Our Minimalist Concept Decor
Architecture and Lighting
Defined Use of Space
Ease of Maintenance
Use fewer pieces of furniture. Select ones that offer ultra comfort and are pieces that appeal to you. Creating deliberate areas of retreat is important. Keep working until you are content with each area of your home.
Storage of all necessary and desired things is essential. Many people associate minimal design with clean, clear spaces. This happens not because others have no possessions, it is due to careful and adequate planned storage.
ARCHITECTURE AND LIGHTING
When planning a decor with the less is more concept, or in our cases enough is just right, architecture and lighting take an even more important role. This example has beautiful, centuries old architecture that beckons all of us into this space. We are not all blessed with these assets, however, with some careful planning of finishes and furnishings, a very welcoming decor can be achieved. Not up to the task yourself? This is an excellent time to work with a designer that has your same philosophy.
DEFINED USE OF SPACE
Many examples of minimal design will portray large open spaces. In these cases, defining the space is of the utmost importance. In structures, like this one, a series of rooms is more defined but can still benefit from a clear plan for how the rooms will be utilized. Multiple function spaces can also be attractive. Furnishings planned correctly for scale and balance will make the spaces feel like a home.
EASE OF MAINTENANCE
When we asked our clients what they thought of when thinking about a minimalist decor they often said “white”. Yes, many of the decor photos that are appealing to us use a light color palette. Finishes of paints, selection of flooring, cabinets and counters will work best in a light palette if they are of easy to care for materials. More importantly, one of the basic concepts of minimalism is to live life more simply. Spending hours caring for materials that do not work with your lifestyle defeat the purpose. Be mindful of what you want to care for. We all have things important enough to use that will require a little tlc.
Most of our friends and family would say we are minimalist. If using our terminology of having a lifestyle where we have enough of what we need to be content is considered…then yes we are happy to wear the badge of Minimalism proudly.