When you think about minimalism in interior design, maybe you think about big empty spaces that are cold and sterile and uninviting. Maybe you think hospital rooms or hotel lobbies, void of personality, warmth or style. But perhaps it’s time to take another look at what minimalist design really represents.
The saying “less is more” is thrown around a lot, but it doesn’t have to mean bare and unappealing. “For me, minimalism means no frill, no clutter,” says Janice Clements, owner of Clements Interiors in Aurora. The majority of us can admit we simply own too many things that tend to clutter up our spaces on a daily basis. For some people, de-cluttering is the best and most desired definition of minimalism; while for others, it can go even deeper. “I think it brings a sense of calm that other spaces don’t have,” says Clements.
If you’re looking to enhance your space with a fresh, minimalist look, keep the ‘KIS’ acronym (Keep It Simple) in mind. “In terms of what we display in our homes, you would pair that down to a minimum,” says Clements. This means packing away the knick-knacks and stacks of magazines that tend to accumulate around the house. A great way to Keep it Simple includes organizing and finding creative, stylish ways to store items that tend to collect on surfaces like dining tables and kitchen counters.
Your décor should follow the same theme. Instead of a gallery wall featuring family photos, consider hanging a single larger scale photo to create a clear focal point in the room. “Everything just needs to be tidy and clear. For example, maybe keep one decorative piece for on top of your mantel. Or remove the mantel altogether so there isn’t an opportunity to put anything up there,” Clements says.
If you want to do more than just kick clutter to the curb, it may be easier to begin by overhauling one floor in your home. Then work your way through the rest of your house with a view to creating a modern, sleek environment with an emphasis on larger elements that take centre stage and catch the eye. “Simplify the colour palette,” says Clements. “Get down to one or two colours, as opposed to nine, and keep them fairly neutral.” She suggests complimenting trendy grey tones with black and white accents. You can also add textures and feature walls to a room, such as incorporating a stone wall around the fireplace.
When it comes to furnishing, less is more. But simplicity in design doesn’t mean compromising quality. “When people have a smaller space, they tend to buy smaller furniture and clutter it up in the interest of getting more seating,” says Clements. “If you’re going for something more minimalist, go for a larger piece that makes appropriate use of the space. This makes the room look larger, without adding any clutter.”
As for the style of the furnishings, Clements advises looking for items with clean details. “No rounded corners or rolled arms,” she says. “Everything is straight and linear.”
With minimal design, recessed lighting can also make a difference, explains Clements. “You can use it to highlight focal points, such as art on a wall, or the stone on the fireplace.” Look for ceiling mount fixtures that are more modern looking with clean lines – drum shades are another appropriate option.
The final result is a look that is simple and soothing to the eye. “Some people consider it a little more stark and harsh-looking,” says Clements. “But done properly, it’s a more serene and sedate look.” In the end, minimalism is what you make it. Most of us could use a little more peace in our lives, and clearing the clutter is a good place to start.
by Allison Dempsey & Charlotte Ottaway
Clements Interiors, Aurora