Have you ever thought how living in a minimalist home or working in a minimalist office would enhance your busy and chaotic life by simplifying it while still being sophisticated? It can happen, and you will thank me for it.
What is a minimal home?
In simple terms, your minimal home is a clutter free home. Your minimal home has only absolutely necessary things inside it that serve a purpose of function. Your minimal home has a few pieces of meaningful art on the walls and perhaps a few plants to add a natural element. Your minimal home has a bare minimum of furniture. Your minimal home takes advantage of natural lighting.
Let's think about this. Your home would always be so clean and visually appealing - ready to receive your friends or family at a moments notice. We all have had the experience of someone dropping by unexpectedly. Psychologically, it benefits you by giving you peace of mind after a day of hard work, which is always well deserved. If your home is clean, visually pleasant, and everything is arranged perfectly, think about how much simpler your life will be and takes the stress away from your life by surrounding yourself in a serene environment. It is always a positive feeling.
I know you are a busy professional and cleaning your home may be the last thing you think about with your laundry list of other daily task. For me, I have a housekeeper that comes twice a week. I strongly encourage you to invest in yourself and get a housekeeper at least once a week. It is so beneficial to take these mundane tasks off your already full calendar to free your time to do all the things that bring you joy. Living in a minimal home is so much easier to to clean. When you have more stuff, you have more to clean. Think about how less stressful and the time you can save with minimal living. It naturally looks beautiful. It is always clean, clutter free, more open space without visual distractions. All of this will greatly enhance your well-being.
Whether you are constructing a new home or remodeling your existing home, there are certain characteristics which define living simply and minimally. Everything I chose to make a home minimal is thoughtful and just as important as to what should be avoided, purged, or just do without.
Does every room in your home have different finishes and feel incongruent?
Typically, when choosing surfaces I keep them natural and in an earth tone color palette. There should only be three to five finishes that flow seamlessly throughout the home. For me, there is usually a wood floor throughout the home and possibly a tile or stone on the floor in the bathrooms. I prefer large sized tiles without pattern, details, and grout joints should be as small as possible. The grout color should also match to the tile or stone.. The walls are generally white. Now, if you have ever tried to select the perfect white, you know what a daunting task this can be to find one that works in your space. Natural lighting and artificial lighting, atmosphere, location, and time of day all play important characters in the selecting a white paint for your walls and ceilings. There is always one stone surface that is repeated throughout the home. Certainly, other natural materials such as concrete can be used in its natural color on impregnated with pigments to add color. My philosophy is the sum of the whole is greater than any one of the parts. All these finishes together visually create a harmonious, soothing, and calming interior.
Let's talk furniture.
A minimal home or office would only have the essential pieces of furniture which are absolutely necessary. We have all experienced the two extremes. The home that doesn't have an ample amount of furniture, it is cold, a sad, soulless white box that doesn't give your a sense of comfort. You are almost scared to sit on the furniture. On the other hand, we have been to the home that is filled with furniture and tchotchke. It looks like an episode of hoarders, and you feel claustrophobic and unable to move freely and easily around.
Since you will be buying only the necessary furniture, invest in high quality pieces from reputable companies known for their craftsmanship and lifetime of the furniture. Initially, this will cost your more money, but you should think of them as longterm investment pieces. Like I have said before, have fewer items, but buy the best of what you can afford. Two of my favorite showrooms are Minotti and B&B Italia. These fine pieces of furniture are handcrafted in Italy. Let's face it. When it comes to fashion and furniture, no one does it quite like the Italians. Many of there upholstery frames are constructed of steal as opposed to inferior wood products that are massed produced in factories in China like Restoration Hardware. My favorite part, if their upholstery pieces are fabricated in fabrics (leather is a different story), you can actually buy new covers to change the color. So, these are pieces that can really last you a lifetime in your current home, be changed, and also integrated into a new home.
Do you realize what an impact natural lighting has on your everyday life?
A minimal home is designed to maximize natural light. Therefore, the need for artificial lighting is greatly reduced. This has a dramatic impact on the environment and your pocketbook. Traditional windows are not the only way to increase natural light in your home. We can also include transom lighting. These windows can be opened to provide cross-ventilation while maintaining security and privacy due to their small size and height above floor level. Skylights are another option. Think about the use of this is your master bathroom when you get ready for your work day and the natural light illuminating you. Everyone looks much better in natural light than artificial light any day. Am I right? Perhaps you have a long hallway, why not create a repetition and rhythm of skylights strategically placed to fill a rather pedestrian space with a lighting and architectural feature. If you are building a new home, consider lighting from the North as it is of the best quality. You should really avoid having large openings on South or West facing walls. The light from these directions tends to be harsh.
If you are upgrading your existing home, increasing the natural light might not be possible at times. My goal would be to use artificial light very carefully. I prefer LED lighting with a warm tone, and by all means, every light fixture should be on a dimmer. It is part of the building code, but it also creates ambience and an experience for each time of day or task.
Who doesn't love art?
I am sure you love art in one of it's many forms, and you want to showcase art you love. Your art should be meaningful. Maybe it is something you picked up during a vacation by a local artist. Perhaps there is a local artist in your city that you find at a gallery exhibition that you purchase. Be mindful with you art. Buy what you love. Be strategic in it's placement. Don't just hang anything to fill a wall. A blank wall will look so much better than a wall with bad art.
Accessories are acceptable in a minimal interior. Keep them to a minimum. When you have beautiful finishes, quality furniture, the harmonious balance of natural and artificial lighting, and a curated art collection - there is no need to clutter it up with unnecessary objet d'art. A simple bowl on a table, a vase on the kitchen island, or a family heirloom by the bedside is plenty. I always ask, "Does this bring me joy and happiness? Is it absolutely necessary?"
Remember, keep it simple. Creating a minimal interior is living simply but sophisticated. It is about living a clutter free life. This will greatly enhance your life, your well-being, and provide you a home or office that you feel at peace in your demanding and engaged life.