Everything you need to know about minimalism

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Minimalism is a design trend that seems to be timeless, with new generations consistently looking to adopt the simple lines and clean finishes that embody it, but don't think that you have to live in a stark white box with no possessions! That is a myth that we want to dispel today.

Widely recognised as a post 60s movement, minimalism inspired great architects with the phrase less is more. While different countries sought to embrace the trend in their own unique ways, identifiable similarities kept the design ethos alive. 

Let's take a look at the secrets behind minimal living and see if perhaps you are ready to embrace a simpler kind of life!

Fundamental principles

Taking a great deal of inspiration from Japanese interior design, minimalist living was thought to really take off when Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe freely adopted the motto Less is more to accurately explain his design aesthetic that saw him re-arranging all of the necessary parts of a building to create something usable, but far more simple. Everything had to serve both a visual and functional purpose, with nothing extraneous ruining the aesthetic.

Today, we still see this notion permeating interior design and thanks to clean lines and unfussy finishes, the ethos lives on.

Identity

modern Bathroom by NOEM

What's really interesting about minimal living is that those people that choose to follow the practice really define themselves in terms of it and embrace it as part of their identity. This will not merely be an appearances concern and upon visiting a truly minimalist home, you'll find that every room has been incorporated.

Take a look at this bathroom. You can't deny that the functionality is still firmly in place, with a working tap, sink and, we presume, a shower or bath and a toilet. There is even fantastically practical storage, but having been finished in a sleek design and in the same colour as the rest of the room, it doesn't scream 'look at me!', just as minimalists wouldn't either!

Clean spaces

Outdated notions of minimalism can easily and quickly lead to a total misunderstanding of how minimal living can be adopted in the home. Suddenly, people are picturing a stark and possession-less home, all finished in bright white, with plastic everywhere, but this is resolutely not the case. 

Think of minimalism as far more of a practical use of space, with nothing going to waste or being included purely for decoration. Though furniture can be beautiful, it must also serve as a practical addition. Just look at this amazing guest room as the ideal example. These unique bunk beds look unbelievably stunning, but more than that, they have integrated storage and make unexpected guests an easy to accommodate problem!

Surfaces and textures

modern Garden by Stockhausen Fotodesign
Stockhausen Fotodesign

Moderner Gartenpavillion im nördlichen Ruhrgebiet

Stockhausen Fotodesign

Minimal living does bring to mind certain styles and textures and one thing that isn't just a misunderstanding is the use of natural materials and smooth surfaces. Coupled with other key elements of the trend, tactile surfaces simply make sense, when you really think about it.

Wood is a firm favourite in minimalist circles as it can be so easily manipulated and transformed into something wonderful, touchable and practical. Plus, the natural tones that it emits add a certain calm warmth to an interior that no other substance can.

Art will work

Meltzer Ames Loft: modern Living room by Specht Architects
Specht Architects

Meltzer Ames Loft

Specht Architects

far from needing to have plain walls and a stark finish, minimal living can absolutely embrace and enjoy a plethora of fantastic art on your walls! We bet that has come as a bit of a surprise, but it's true! Art totally supports a minimalist aesthetic.

Naturally, how and where you choose to hang it will have an impact on your interior, as will the frame that you opt for, but we don't think you can go wrong with some expressive, thought-provoking art, framed in a lovely natural wood and displayed pride of place in a living room!

Push boundaries

The great thing about any provocative design trend is that it will always seek to push some boundaries and we bet you'll be unsurprised to learn that minimalism is no different! In fact, if anything it is far more progressive than many other aesthetics.

With a desire to simplify necessary additions, architectural features can get a little funky and experimental within a home that wants to embrace minimal living. Take this staircase as a prime example! The design is entirely unique and fascinating, but undoubtedly minimal and still practical. What a great way to make a real spectacle out of your necessary home elements!

Make use of space

Manhattan Micro-Loft:  Corridor & hallway by Specht Architects
Specht Architects

Manhattan Micro-Loft

Specht Architects

As we all know, minimal living naturally encourages more thoughtful and less cluttered spaces, but that doesn't mean that you need to rid yourself of every worldly possession you have, you simply need to get clever about your storage! We always love under stairs solutions and this one is resolutely no different! The smooth fronts of the cubbyholes make this an 'if you know, you know' addition and doesn't detract at all from the more pared back room. Fantastic!

So, do you think you could easily embrace a little more minimal living in your life? Are you surprised by what is possible? For more clever storage inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Cabinets To Make Home Organisation Easy. Many of these will be great for a minimalist house!

Would you like to live with less clutter? Have you considered adopting a more minimalist approach in your home? Let us know!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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