Minimalist decorating seems like an oxymoron, but contrary to the stereotype, minimalist interiors are all about doing more with less, not simply having less. However, do not think that using less is any easier – working to a constricted set of rules can often be difficult, especially for those who are new to decorating or are used to adhering to more lavish design trends. To help you master the art of minimalist design, Anne Haimes Interiors have put together five tips to help you craft a room that instils a sense of ease and spiritual calm.
One Centre Piece Per Surface
A large part of the appeal of minimalist interiors is their sense of space and openness which is created by inherent simplicity. However, too much simplicity can quickly turn tranquillity to boredom due to a lack of contrast and visual interest. To remedy this common issue, having centre pieces on surfaces that are delineating in colour and material from their surroundings will really draw the eye. This also solves the issue of having numerous surfaces, but still wanting to direct attention to one point within the room. Meditation after all, is about focus; so having a single object, whether it be a stone or bowl of stones, follows in line with minimalist tradition.
Matching Colours and Materials
Equally, one does not want to have too much contrast within a room. Too much variety of colours and materials can be less visually stimulating, and can become overwhelming to the eye. One technique to prevent this problem is to develop visual unison within a room by matching either colour, material, or both.
For example, in the above interior, wooden furniture is matched with wood with the floors, the celling, and the hanging light lamp shades. Whilst there are numerous saturations of wood, there is still that sense of continuity as the materials match. Where materials do not match (such as the ornaments on the tables and bookshelves to the main centre sofa) the colour is kept plain white, producing the same effect within objects that cannot be matched by their materials.
Expanding on this concept, minimalist colour schemes are simple and often not too far from each other in terms of hue. Differentiation is often created via the shade of colour as opposed to having radically different colours, and heavy use of whites and shades of grey. For example, the above interior matches various shades of green, with dark grey picture frames and lamp shades sparking visual intrigue when contrasted with the white furniture. Interestingly, the centre piece for this room is the red picture frame, which is adds another tone to the overall colour scheme, keeping the room interesting yet not over cluttered or blinding despite the use of sharp colours.
Elemental, Natural Materials
Often when we think of minimalist lifestyle, we think of the outdoors and nature, which are in themselves associated with the calm and stillness that minimalist décor tries to instil. To fully replicate this feeling in our rooms, having natural materials is a must, preventing the common error of making a room look too clinical (and perhaps even futuristic and unhomely) with the heavy usage of whites and plain colours.
A good example is the above interior. Notice how the shades of wood from the table, to the lamp shade to the sofa legs all match, creating the unity we are striving for. This lighter shade of wood definitely brings a sense of homeliness to what otherwise would be a very clinical room if it were without. The excellent addition of succulents in white pots on the table muster thoughts of freshness and nature, evoking the target emotions we previously mentioned.
Minimalist Art to Match
Without proper consideration, a hanging art piece can go from point of intrigue to unwanted juxtaposition. Unless your aim is to have something that is wildly contrasting (and nothing else in the room attempts to serve that purpose) using simplistic abstract artwork as opposed to renaissance-style or other complex artwork will keep the room grounded. The below interior is a fantastic example of this, with the black and white abstract piece complimenting the room as opposed to drawing from it, preserving the focal points of the room. Even if your decision is to use a painting or artwork as a main focal point, your best option is abstract work, as it is inherently minimal due to the removal of real world forms and the tendency to use simple shapes and block colours.
Matching And Contrasting Shapes
Whilst the above interior may not be strictly minimal (perhaps leaning more to a post-modern look), it is a fantastic example of repeating shapes to keep a room congruent. The table, carpet, side cupboard, the picture frames and the overall shape of the room are very rectangular, keeping the room unified. However, having all rectangular objects in a room would look more surreal than interesting, so having rounded chairs, cupboard legs and ornaments all help to contribute to the contrast, without creating dissonance between the objects in the room. Having extreme ovals or rounded rectangular furniture would turn this room into disarray and immediately bring the word cluttered to mind, so avoiding such contrasting shapes is a must for any minimalist room.