Whether you’re an architect or average homeowner, minimalism is appealing for a number of reasons. But what drives most people away from executing are the challenges that come with maintaining functionality within such bare living spaces.
The Perks of Minimalist Design
We often think of minimalism as a purely aesthetic endeavor, but there’s a lot more to it than just clearing out “stuff.” Some of the big perks include:
- Clarity. There’s a greater sense of mental clarity that comes from purging junk out of our lives. With less mental energy being taken away, focus comes much easier.
- Improved health. Furniture, clutter, and “stuff” have a way of trapping germs and grime, which can compromise your immune system. When you have less stuff, you’re able to maintain a cleaner home. This means fewer “bleh” days.
- More freedom. It’s easy for stuff to tether you down. When you get rid of clutter, you have the freedom to make smarter choices. You waste less money on things you don’t need, which gives you a chance to spend on things you actually want.
- More time. When you have fewer possessions, you spend less time cleaning, organizing, and looking for lost items. This is time you can spend doing things you enjoy.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle won’t solve all your problems, but it will make you a little happier and healthier. And considering this is what we’re all chasing, it makes sense to start with minimalism.
4 Tips for Functional Minimalism
The biggest knock against minimalism is that you often have to do without certain items and conveniences. But who says minimalism has to take you back into the dark ages? There is such a thing as functional minimalism, where you’re able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Here’s how you can make it work:
1. Let Color Do the Talking
“When you’re building a space with almost entirely neutrals, it’s crucial to add enough variety to keep the room from looking too homogeneous and, by extension, boring. For this, the 60/30/10 rule is key,” designer Tara Mastroeni writes. “Choose one shade to be the dominant base for the room, another to act as a coordinating secondary color, and a third that’s reserved for accents.”
Color is your friend. By implementing a strategic and cohesive color scheme, you can simplify the overall appearance of your home without much effort.
2. Maintain Control
In order for minimalist design to work, you have to retain control. In other words, you aren’t taking a “whatever” approach where you deal with the consequences of purging your possessions. You’re being purposeful in how you approach each element – including things like window treatments.
“Despite the ‘less is better’ philosophy of minimalism, it’s still important to have blinds or shades on your windows,” Blindster acknowledges. “Having sleek, low-profile, and built-in looking window treatments creates even more clean lines in your home and gives your windows a more uniform and matte appearance.”
The same goes for your kitchen appliances. You aren’t getting rid of appliances and suffering through the consequences of doing without. Instead, you’re finding ways to combine applications and invest in more versatile solutions.
3. Consolidate Technology
Technology has a place in the minimalist home, but it has to be integrated and consolidated. Having one system that controls lighting, HVAC, entertainment, and security is better than having different units, controllers, and systems spread throughout the home.
4. Hidden Storage
Minimalism is about purging your home of unnecessary items and duplicates – not tossing them in closets and under beds. Having said that, there are certain items that you need, but don’t want to display all of the time. For these items, clever storage is a must.
The best places to store items include under the stairs, beneath the kitchen island, inside a coffee table or ottoman, behind doors, and within furniture itself. But remember: only store items that you actually need or use on a regular basis. If you’re storing something with the hopes of one day using it, it’s better to toss it and buy it when you do need it.
You don’t have to choose minimalism or functionality. While there’s certainly some tension between the two ideas, it’s possible to achieve both. Be purposeful in your approach and poised in your execution and it’ll all fall into place.