When it comes to minimalism, more often than not, the next word that pops up is simplicity or fundamentalism. Yet interior designers know that there is much activity that is going on in every minimalist home, meaning, before this theme is achieved, a lot has been done by the designer and/or the homeowner.
The Beginnings of Minimalism
Minimalism is a trend that has its roots in the 20th century and is still being used till this day. The minimalist designs are those that have been stripped down to the bare essentials.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a famous architect, came up with this statement which aptly describes minimalism – less is more. This pretty much sums up what the minimalist design is all about.
Just like anything else in life, minimalism was also influenced by its predecessors; more specifically the following –
- The De Stijl Art movement (happened in the Netherlands in 1917 and lasted till about the early ‘30s). De Stijl is the Dutch phrase for The Style. Abstract and reduced designs were all that mattered – rectangular forms; both vertical and horizontal lines; primary colors and values).
- The traditional Japanese design where there are just a handful of flourishes, colors and design choices. These days, Japanese interior design is often infused with Zen.
- And revolutionary architects such as Van Der Rohe (a German architect who pioneered modern architecture). Some of Van Der Rohe’s greatest works are New York’s Seagram Building and Chicago’s Crown Hall. Architectural designs with a minimalist tone are those that use plates of glass and steel as well as lots of open space.
Post-World War I offered the perfect drawing board for minimalist designs because of the availability of modern raw materials such as steel, concrete and glass. This trend continued all the way to the mid-20th century where Buckminster Fuller designed geometrical domes which are still standing till today.
Minimalism centers on simplicity. For furniture designers, minimalism was all about ease of assembly without even the need for instructions.
A Practical Approach
Now that you know the history of the minimalist design, it is time to put this knowledge into action.
First, less is definitely more so use only the elements that are required on your interior design. Keep in mind that the end result is greater than the sum of is components.
Second, you need to let go of needless stuff. Keep subtracting until you achieve your intended look.
Next, what you choose to keep are also important so create a theme that you can build on. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and deliver what is aesthetically pleasing for them. Use minimal colors or use the ones that interact well.
There are certain wall designs and paint colors that appear too active for a home that wants to be minimalist. If you can, choose only a single color for your theme, preferably one that is neutral or muted. Bright reds, yellows and greens are a no-no. If you really have to add a vibrant color, use it on just one wall so that you can sport an accent wall.
It is also important to create a clean, streamlined space. This is necessary to achieve an organized home. Since you have already purged some items that you deemed useless, you are creating an environment with less stress. To further organize, you may use tasteful boxes, baskets and cabinets to store your remaining stuff.
With regard to furnishings, use only the most basic designs for your sofa. Never overcrowd the rooms in your home with furniture pieces. For example, the living room can make do with a sofa, side table and a coffee table.
Lastly, be sure to install proper lighting. Table lamps work well on a minimalist setting and so can track lights for mirrors. To create a relaxing and cozy ambience, be sure to install some dimmers.