Secrets To A Minimalist Home
Less Is More... Stylish
By Renée Rutherford
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “minimalist decor”? Is it a cold environment that you only see in the magazines? A perfect space decorated purely in black, white and grey? A clean surrounding that you could never imagine yourself living in?
If you answered something similar, you’re partially right. However to me, minimalist decor is the embodiment of living within your means: choosing quality over quantity, purging items that no longer serve you, and giving yourself room to breathe.
In today’s society we’re so caught up in consumerism. We’re constantly being marketed stuff we don’t need, but are convinced we do! We spend money to impress people we don’t care about. Enough is enough. I’m going to show you how to create a minimalist space that radiates good energy, is inviting and calm, all on a budget.
Step 1: Get rid of your junk
It is time to purge! This is not only a great exercise to give your home a deep clean (i.e. finally getting around to organizing that junk drawer. Don’t pretend like you don’t have one….we all do), but also in relieving stress and reclaiming control over your life. How good does it feel to come home to a tidy home? According to a study conducted by Houselogic of UCLA, women who live in cluttered environments, have a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol. Let’s cut the stress and tidy up.
Look around your space. What do you see? Surfaces covered in mail, bills piled up, random items not put away? The first step is to eliminate what you don’t need and get in the habit of putting things back where they belong. Go through your belongings and ask yourself if you’ve used it in the past year. If the answer is no, either donate or dispose of items that are taking up space and no longer serve you. This can apply to anything, including clothing, kitchen gadgets, books etc.
Once you’ve completed this step, it’s now time to organize the items that truly mean something to you. Find a place where it should “live” and return it to its place after use.
Step 2: Tone it down
Simplicity is key! Let’s check back with what you have decided to keep. How do these items interact with each other and their surrounding space? Remember, your home is your sanctuary. We want to create an environment that you feel relaxed and inspired in.
The easiest way to do this is to freshen up your walls with a new coat of paint. Think neutral. If your furniture is a mix of Ikea, hand-me downs, or vintage pieces that don’t follow a “theme”, painting your walls a white, cream or light grey will open up your space giving it a larger appearance, while creating an easier palette to work with.
Step 3: Freshen up your accessories
A quick and inexpensive way to inject your space with new life, is to update your accessories. We’re talking about those old pillow covers on your couch, that worn-in duvet cover and art pieces that perhaps you’ve outgrown. Explore your options. There is a wealth of merchants selling on the internet these days. Decor doesn’t have to be expensive. When in doubt, Ikea, Way fair and Urban Outfitters are great options for working on a budget. Stay within a neutral colour palette and stay away from trends. This will maintain a timeless vibe, so you won’t need to update often.
Adding plants to your space is a great way to create some depth and energy to the environment. Don’t have a green thumb? There are many indoor plants that require minimal care, such as snake plants, cactus, and spider. Bringing living organisms into the home has many benefits. Not only do certain plants purify the air, but they also create a calmer, more soothing environment.
Step 4: Stage your items
The items you have chosen to keep after purging your home obviously hold some value and meaning for you. Now is your opportunity to show them off to stand out like they deserve. How do you do this? Start small. If you have a bookshelf, coffee table, shelving unit or TV stand you can strategically place your items to have maximum visual impact. Make sure you play with levels, textures and balance. I don’t like to go out and buy things to stage, rather I’ll go around my house and see what I can find. Ask yourself, “how can I arrange and pair old items together to give new life to my space?” Give it a try, you’ll be surprised what you can put together with what you already have.
After you’ve completed these steps, take a step back and allow yourself to truly experience how it feels to be in this new space. It is so important to create an inviting and calming space that you feel good about coming home to. One that you can spend quality time in, escaping from the constant stresses and demands of the outside world. Minimal design is not only about maintaining a tidy space, but also about surrounding yourself with items that have meaning and purpose. It’s about choosing quality over quantity and living comfortably within your means, even though societal pressures try to convince you otherwise. I encourage you to try out the steps listed above in your own space. Start small and work on one room at a time. You’ll be thrilled with the many benefits of living minimally both physically and mentally.