The minimalist look can be summed up in three words: "Less is more," but what does that mean and why do architects
and interior designers
love the look so much? To the uninitiated, "minimalist" is sometimes thought of as sterile, but as so many photos in our HIP Inspirational Photos
pages prove, if done right, it is anything but. Here's how to get the minimalist look in your home.
Less is More
What does it take to make a room work for you? Do you really need to fill up every metre of floor space? Do the walls need to be covered with photos, paintings and shelves? A minimalist would say no. Minimalism is as much about the beauty of empty space as it is about making a space comfortable, functional and attractive. The play of light in the room; the unobstructed view of the outdoors; a stunning focal point; and, perhaps most importantly, an atmosphere of uncluttered tranquility are some of the most appealing aspects of a minimalist interior.
Furnishing a Minimalist Room
Minimalist interiors are beautiful both because they are uncluttered and because the furnishings and decor they do contain is beautiful. When choosing furniture
, look at its style before you look at its price tag. Since you will be buying less, you can probably afford to buy better furniture. Instead of a three piece lounge suit, for example, think about one comfortable couch and a side chair or two as needed.
In the bedroom, a headboard is an unnecessary distraction. Instead, look at some low platform beds
with unobtrusive storage drawers that you can use instead of having to buy another piece of furniture for bedroom storage.
Because you're keeping furniture to a minimum, it's also important that it is in proportion to the size of the room. A two-seater couch in a large living room, for instance, would look awkward and out of place.
Your choice of flooring materials in a minimalist environment is arguably more important than your choice of wall colours. Because so much of the floor is exposed, it strongly influences the room's ambience. Timber floors
, bamboo flooring
and some of the newer minimalist styles of seamless looking vinyl flooring
are a few of the most popular choices of interior designers.
White, grey and black are often associated with minimalism, but subtle earth tones can work just as well. Since your floor is going to be such a prominent feature of the room, choose wall colours that complement the floor. If you have a hardwood floor, for instance, a touch of beige in the wall colour may be in order. In a larger room, you might consider making one short wall a feature wall. Stone veneer
wall tiles add a touch of natural texture that keeps the walls from looking too stark and bare.
Minimalist Room Accents
The walls and shelves in a minimalist interior don't have to be bare: in fact, they shouldn't be. However, instead of filling the walls with hangings and the shelves with bric a brac, choose a few tasteful, stylish accent pieces. A beautiful vase filled with fresh flowers adds a refreshing splash of colour against a wall. One great painting is better than half a dozen hangings spread around the room.
Keep it Clean
Fortunately, keeping a minimalist interior clean is easy, since there is so little to clean. Cleanliness is important, though, because a coffee stain on a coffee table or breadcrumbs on a kitchen benchtop will become unwanted focal points in the room. Also avoid clutter on flat surfaces. If you have a designer expresso machine in the kitchen, for example, show it off, but put the toaster away. A vase or attractive ornament in the centre of a large coffee table is great, but magazines, your TV remote and some mail are not "ornamental."
There's no reason why you have to go to extremes to get the minimalist look. Once you get a feeling for its simple elegance, you can personalise your interior as you like. You might like to keep a copy or two of your favourite magazine on your coffee table, for instance, or want to prominently display your book collection or antique dolls. Once you have an eye for mimimalism, you'll see that it is the best way to highlight the things that are most important to you. It's the unimportant things you can do without. That's minimalism in a nutshell.