Zero clutter, clean lines and true angles; these are all typical to the minimalist style and to achieve the perfect look be prepared to embrace the ‘less is more’ philosophy.
Okay, if we have to ditch any unnecessary stuff in order to achieve minimalist nirvana, we had better have a strong idea about what we need to keep. First and foremost, a living room needs comfortable seating. Let’s walk straight past the intricately patterned, busy sofa designs in the showroom and head straight for the lean lines of the leather sofas, where we find minimalist perfection. A pale leather sofa works best in a minimalist setting, but it needs to be practical too. If small children and pets are regular users of the room, opt for oatmeal, or better still, charcoal.
It is essential to remember that detail, pattern and ornament contravene the laws of minimalism and if compliance is going to be a problem, maybe it’s not a suitable décor option. Some people are natural minimalists, others are clutter magnets – consider this carefully before gutting the room. If living without skirting boards, family photos and chintz fabrics is going to be difficult, think again.
Other furnishings in this style could include a coffee table and single armchairs and footstools. Avoid busy storage options like bookcases and dressers with display cabinets – these represent visual distractions and will spoil the Zen-like tranquillity we are targeting! Tidiness is key to the minimalist look and to achieve this, think about storage carefully. Concealing storage behind sliding walls is a neat solution to ‘clutter creep’ as are storage footstools and cabinets with solid doors.
Choose furniture that comes from the contemporary modern side of the fence, avoiding any antique effect curlicues or decorative details. Materials such as plastic, perspex, chrome, wood, glass and stone all work in harmony in minimalist rooms, the secret is in how it is all put together. To be on the safe side, select furniture from the mid 1950s onwards – this helps avoid any over-fancy mistakes.
Displaying art in modern rooms like these often takes the form of one large abstract canvas. Against white walls, bold shades make a real impact and create focus in the room. Avoid displaying artwork in collections of prints; instead choose single pieces for maximum effect. Giant vases, iron or glass sculptures and wood carvings can look fabulous if well chosen – look for pieces that are stark, bold, grand in scale and small on detail.
Shining too much light into pale minimalist settings washes them out, so design soft lighting that compliments the mood of the room. For task lighting giant overhanging floor lamps can look stunning, as can pendant fittings. Concealed lighting is best for general coverage and a system that works on a dimmer switch is ideal for flexibility. Optimise natural light in the room where possible and keep window treatments ultra simple.
For those ready to ditch the knick-knacks and the ornaments and embrace the simplicity of a pared down life, minimalism is waiting. Just remember to leave any clutter at the door.