This next style diagnostic is my style. Yeah, that’s right I’m a Minimalist. You know, I’m done living in mess and chaos, it’s like you’re used to doing the opposite of what your parents tell you. Then one day they stopped trying, (still having that rebellious streak in me) I started organizing my stuff without being told and I realized, I actually love it.
I am not saying that you should feel ashamed for not organizing your stuff, as long as there isn’t a stench or bugs crawling out of them periodically, I know you and your organized chaos *wink*. There is no point in trying to be someone you’re not. Whatever you choose to do, you should do it for yourself (and your loved ones). You should feel naturally in tune with your true style, which in my case it’s Minimalism.
Anyone can look at a minimalist style and say “I can pull this off! Just buy very few furniture and ta-da! Minimalist style!”…smh. A space that is solely Minimalist style, which is full blown or I like to call it Pure Minimalist are hard to pull off (you’ve heard it right!). Successful examples of Pure Minimalist are always airy, bright, fresh, artful and inspiring. For folks who crave for a cozy home, it can feel a tad unapproachable (museum-like). Arguably, kitchens and bathrooms are best spaces to be minimalist because we like to associate them with being clean and organized.
A professional or an expert such as an architect/designer/stylist is almost always needed for Pure Minimalist. Simply put, you can’t just pick up a paintbrush and claim to be Picasso. You gotta know what you’re doing. If you’re keen to DIY the minimalist style, I’ll recommend mixing in another style; which I’m going to talk about it on this post, so read on.
Here’s 3 rules from me to achieve the Minimalist style.
Rule number one is pretty self explanatory; uncluttered (prioritize and organize, don’t keep stuff that are “maybe”, have them around because you “love it”).
Rule number two, don’t go cheap and don’t do “let’s leave the room entirely empty and place one chair here”, unless that room is really an art museum.
Rule number three, create one focal point. See above images; the abundant skylight is the focal point for this serene bedroom, the garden at the center of house is the focal point for this Japanese home. See how they are spaces that are intimate yet so open?
// MODERN MINIMALIST //
This summer house designed by Norwegian architect John Lassen for him and his wife is an example of Minimalist isn’t equal to cold and sterile. Plus I can’t stop staring at his kitchen (this my kind of kitchen, people!). Yes, an Architect (remember about hiring professional, folks) built this house using mostly furniture that he created himself with the rest from IKEA.
I love how the wood contrast the white to create a warm and cozy feel and this is how you pull of white walls and white floors (I love white floors with NO grout lines). This home is fresh and approachable, you save by using some IKEA pieces but as you can see, most of the stuff in this home are of quality. Danish furniture are great but please don’t buy everything from one source and go matchy-matchy, with white walls and white floors, it will make your home look like an IKEA showroom.
In my book, Minimalist style is never cheap, literally and figuratively. My advice is to invest in good quality furniture, let the design of your furniture speaks for itself (remember less is more). Set them against a neutral backdrop (use neutral colors and elements such as wood for warmth). Use rugs and greenery appropriately to create a cozy vibe.
// CONTEMPORARY MINIMALIST //
To be honest with you, I’m kinda dying to show Fiona Lynch’s works on the blog (which you’ll get to see on the next designer spotlight! Yay!). Ever since, I had a discussion with my husband on “what is your style?”, he has been pretty firm about having Contemporary style and stuff in our upcoming new home…btw that is indeed his true style. And by pretty firm I mean he firmly insists. Sometimes, I would show him our 3D design, and he would go “where’s the Contemporary stuff?”. I may be a Minimalist but I’m also a lover of Modern, Glam (shiny metals) and I surprise myself here and there with Rustic elements, the latter my husband IS TOTALLY NOT A FAN OF.
Buy furniture that looks comfortable and are actually comfy, you might be tempted to get a sculptural chair to make a statement but honestly you wouldn’t want your guests to rather stand with their drinks because they feel intimidated. If you must have sculptural chair, use only one and make sure you have other comfortable seating. I personally prefers sculptural pieces instead (see above image).
If there’s one designer that can please me (my Minimalist Modern Glam Rustic style) and my husband’s Contemporary taste, I honestly think it’s Fiona Lynch. A lot of Contemporary homes are too cold/masculine for me until I saw Fiona’s works and went oh my goodness, this looks like an upscale hotel I can see myself in. Fiona uses high quality stuff (marble, wood, etc.), BRASS, colors (this makes a room fun) and her designs are highly functional (very important for a practical Minimalist such as me!).
Above image is an apartment from Taiwan by Z-AXIS DESIGN. What makes spaces Contemporary are the clever hidden storage (use flat panels and low profile hardware such as integrated handles), shiny metals such as Chrome, low sofa/lounge chair. Use pops of colors selectively, this is how you keep the style interesting and balances it from going too masculine.
// CLASSICAL MINIMALIST //
Can the traditional, classical style co-exist with Minimalist? The answer is a definite yes. See the detailing on the ceiling? The walls, the floors and the intricate details are painted one color, in this case white. The entire apartment becomes one open space and the use of one big piece of art on the wall, these are the essential of Minimalist style. Minimalism is not about keeping things out of sight or leaving surfaces bare, this will only make your home look sloppy like it’s under-furnished. Not good.
When using ornate items for a Minimalist space, keep the rest open and airy ideally a neutral backdrop (such as one color for walls, floors and ceiling). The wall above the fireplace deliberately left empty; it’s about what’s not there that catches your eyes. There are people who didn’t like the Minimalist look, they might feel that such spaces look bland, boring and dead. A true Minimalist space uses visual break and negative space to create harmony while generating interest. With that said, it can definitely go wrong without the knowledge of how to achieve the right balance, thus the misconception.
See how vibrant colors are brought into these two homes. A lot of people didn’t feel that they could do Minimalist because you either need to do all white or you can’t use colors. It’s another misconception. Use colors in furniture that you want to draw attention (remember the one focal point rule?), paint your trims and even furniture in the same color tone and of course a Lucite chair for a Minimalist space? It never hurts. Knowing what is your focal point helps determine which items are supposed to draw attention while the rest acts as a backdrop.
Don’t get box into a particular style or look, just because a lot of high end homes are white on white, that doesn’t mean you have to do white. Have some fun and inject your own personality because a Minimalist space without fun looks like a hospital, going overly neutral with your space can make it look like an office. Is your style Minimalist like mine? Stay tuned for more awesome designer works such as Fiona Lynch (coming up…), my own home reno that is Modern Contemporary meets Glam with a Minimalist soul (coming in a few months) and more Style Diagnostic like this one. ;)
See previous Style Diagnostic – Rustic for Modern Farmhouse, Coastal Glam, Vintage Country, Cottage Chic
Image Sources: Featured Image Smarter Home Office // White Bedroom Minimalisti & Garden House Minimalisti // Modern Minimalist (Summer House) Ideasgn // Contemporary Minimalist Fiona Lynch & Homedsgn // Classical Minimalist My Domaine // Red Chair My Domaine & Blue Bedroom Homepolish // Mustard Yellow Leibal
All words by me.