In the spirit of decluttering and living simpler lives, we look at an entire design movement based on those very principles: Minimalism.
Minimalism spans across all the art and design disciplines and is described as a pared-down, post-WWII movement. “Pared-down” is a term decorators love to throw around while sounding very sophisticated, so I had a look at exactly what it meant.
Oxford defines paring down as “trimming off the outer edges and reducing something in size“. Importantly, it emphasizes a gradual process and the use of “small, successive stages”. And therein lies the key to minimalist décor.
Minimalism is a process
At its very core, it’s a movement that seeks to facilitate a calm, more focused and thoughtful life. To get completely carried away then, and start tossing out all trinkets, colours and even curtains, doesn’t seem rational.
Instead, start with a single room and plan to pare it down in four to five stages over a couple of weeks. This gives you the opportunity to live in the space and see how much or little you really need.
Make a list of everything you simply cannot do without or never want to part with. Bear in mind that 95% of these items should serve a practical purpose.
Stephanie Sterjovski. Practical use items serve as decor items.
Take a good look at the room and remove everything you dislike, that’s run its course or that you know serves absolutely no purpose – not even a decorative one. All the things that immediately jump out at you and disturb your peace, clearly need to go. Don’t throw it away just yet, though.
Revisit the list of things you simply cannot do without. You’ll probably find that you’ve grown a little less sentimental in the process and can remove a a few more items. This is the tough part where you need to be a little brutal!
Now, look at what you’re left with and see if there is anything you need, but no longer have and make a list of these things. Consider whether any of the items you’ve throw out can serve this purpose, but steer clear of putting more than one or two items back. Perhaps you got rid of a tired chair in Stage 2, but instead of buying a new one, you can have it reupholstered in quieter tones.
Finally, throw out the old things and go shopping for new, minimalist furniture and décor items. It’s very important to have a clear idea of what you need. Make the purchase only once you’ve found the exact item for the purpose. Don’t try to finish this process in a single day – you’re likely to end up with a maxed-out credit card, duplicate items, and buyer’s remorse!
What minimalist décor looks like
Much of what we currently see in décor stores and magazines, can be considered minimalist décor. Industrial and Scandinavian designs specifically, exhibit the clean, straight lines and shapes that minimalism totes. Simple, natural materials such as glass, metal and wood are favoured and the emphasis is on form and texture, rather than the liberal use of colour and pattern.
In addition, a furniture piece that can perform two functions, like being both practical and decorative, is a winner.
As a decorator, I strongly feel, however, that it should be approached with caution. Many of the items you’ve bought and have held onto, are deer because they say something about who you are. When achieving minimalism, we are not trying to empty ourselves and become a blueprint, but rather strip away that which hides our true selves.
Apartment Therapy. A mirror doubles as a jewellery stand, and small stack of books on the floor means that no bookshelf is needed.
Why go minimalist, then?
Unless you’ve already purged, you’re sure to have a lot of stuff you don’t want or need. It’s a great excuse to get rid of all these things.
A less cluttered, more serene space should give you a deepened sense of contentment, knowing that your space isn’t filled with things that drain your energy. It creates an awareness that you have a measure of control over the things you let into your home, and on a broader level, your life.
And, if nothing else, you’ll have a blank canvas to fill with new beautiful things if the minimalist lifestyle doesn’t do it for you.
Sometimes the process itself can be rather an overwhelming one, where you end up getting rid of very little. If you’d like a practiced, objective third party’s assistance, get in touch with me for a minimalist décor consultation.
Happy paring down!
Featured image: Casa Cook