Would you go minimalist?

 

I came across the concept of minimalism out of a moment of frustration when I closed my shop at the Sherman Oaks Antique Mall and realized that my collection of vintage textiles and furnishings needed a new home.  Some women collect shoes, I collect fabric.  There comes a time in every collector's life where you have to ask  - have my possessions taken control over my space?

So designer, meet minimalism.  A conscious lifestyle choice to live free from clutter, to streamline life's daily tasks and significantly reduce the cycle of consuming.  

Minimalism is identifying the essential and eliminating everything else

If you research this topic you will see that some insist that your worldly possessions be whittled down to 100 items or less - your toothbrush and toothpaste count as two folks. While this is all well and good, you can incorporate this lifestyle in whatever manner adds value to your life.   

HOW DOES MINIMALISM DIFFER FROM DE-CLUTTERING?

De-cluttering is a weekend chore, minimalism is a lifestyle choice.  The essential difference lies in consumption, whether that be shopping / buying things or even consuming media or entertainment.  America is the land of the consumer, our whole economy is based on it but if the entire world consumed at our rate we'd run out of space on the planet.   If you're going to be a minimalist you need to eliminate the clothes, books, furniture, kitchen items, makeup, paper, toys and gadgets that you don't need, love or use, and then consciously reduce your rate of consumption.

One way to go minimalist through interior design is to buy better quality items less often - kind of like French women do with clothes.  

IGNORING THE ROOMS TRUE NEEDS LEADS TO BAD PURCHASES

We can fall into bad purchases and needless consuming when we don't address the true needs of our space.  We try to fill the void.  We sense that the room is off so we buy a pillow and a throw on impulse and end up getting rid of them months later because it's a sectional that your space is really calling for. 

APPROACH TO MINIMALISM IF YOU'RE 'MORE FULL'

Those of you that tend to like things "cozy and layered" would probably not feel happy in a sparsely decorated space.  If you prefer a densely furnished home with layered rugs, walls filled with art, shelving full of books and collected finds from your travels you are more full.  There is a way to let go of a significant amount of items and still keep the "more full" feeling.  Here are some clever tips for doing just so and remember, this is a guide, not a shopping list:

  • decorate in warm tone colors - cool colors make a room feel expansive, warm tones make it feel cozier
  • use a plush rug with a pattern - the softness adds texture and the pattern adds depth and layering 
  • use open shelving / systems to display your best books and collectibles  and provides visual coverage the "more fulls'" tend to prefer
  • use pattern on window treatment or pillows 

APPROACH TO MINIMALISM IF YOU'RE 'MORE EMPTY'

I am among the "more empty" types that prefer less visual clutter and tend to decorate with restraint. Less furnishings mean that the ones you do have need to get the job done.  If you're a "more empty" you're half way to minimalism.  Here are some tips to get you there:

  • decorate in cool tones, like white, silver, gray and blue to give the space an expansive feel
  • use minimal pattern but play up texture for depth and warmth in a room (hide, sheepskin, wool, silk and leather)
  • use closed sideboards, armoires and cabinets 
  • invest in a sofa and an accent chair that meets your seating needs (comfy sectional and a sculptural chair or simple sofa and lounge chair)