In any case, a minimalist interior looks great in photos – but can you really live in it?
Minimalism in architecture, design and art is an undying trend surviving from the 1950´s till today. It found expression in the art (sculpture and painting) first and as a reaction to the previous style – expressionism.
Minimalism was a way to achieve the maximum results with the use of the plainest and simplest means. The philosophy of reduction of all unessentials soon spread to other areas of art, such as music, film, literature, architecture and design.
Many people refer to minimalism, many adore it and many swear by it, yet the minimalist style is rarely applied in the living spaces in its pure form. Although it is significant for minimalism to use as little as possible (of the materials, forms, details and colours), designing an interior in this style is quite costly. The less is the quantity, the more emphasis is placed on the quality. That is why a stylish and functional apartment, whose inhabitants give up the furniture, is not an economical solution of a living space.
A home like this can miss the unnecessary shelves and cabinets, tables and chairs, tablecloths and covers, curtains and ruffles and to be a pleasant place. However, it cannot miss high quality flooring materials, tastefully selected pieces of essential equipment (in a minimalist interior, you do not store books and clothing in boxes on the floor, nor you dine standing) supplemented by plants and by solitary original pieces of art.
The Minimalist Trend And 10 Principles Of Good Design
Anyway, a minimalistic interior is not for everyone. Many people find such a space uncomfortably austere, cold and sterile, while others (and they are not many) are impressed by its purity, elegance and its grace lines. However, minimalism is applied increasingly in the design. According to professional designers, it is clearly the trend of the 3rd millennium, although it has been applied previously. Dieter Rams, a famous designer from the company Braun, who designed many other objects beside the electrical appliances, has been creating in this style since his professional beginnings; he also formulated the famous 10 principles of good design:
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a useful product.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive (modest).
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible (as little decorative as possible).
Is Minimalism For Everyone?
The current trends dictate to minimize the decoration and overflowing of living spaces. A home should be a space balanced both visually and functionally and the comfort should be achieved with a minimum of elements and objects. Therefore, you do not need to have absolutely minimalistic apartment in glass and metal or in wood and stone and even though this timeless style can apply well. It is often used, e.g. in a bathroom or a cloakroom, where the residents of a traditional apartment try their minimalist experiment.
These are the rooms, whose purpose, usual equipment and layout invites you directly to such a solution. Both in a bathroom and in a hallway you strive for an effective arrangement, order and cleanliness as well as for an effective (and possibly invisible) storage of lots of necessities, and also for an easy maintenance of these highly trafficked parts of the house. That is why you choose the clean austere lines, smooth materials and floor coverings for them intuitively, even without an expert´s advice.
How To Do It?
If you feel like living in a minimalist furnished apartment and enjoy some austerity, you should look for an architect and a professional designer to help you to achieve the true purity of the style and the result. Or at least, read the technical literature and other resources available carefully. The compromises are not a very appropriate way to success in this case. It will also be difficult to fit minimalistic an interior which has previously been fitted expensively with carpets, decorative windows, cornices, wall hangings, wallpapers, accessories and so on. You do not need much for the minimalist look of a living space but you have to stick to good quality.
From The Floor Up
The basis is a good choice of the flooring material. You will definitely do without carpets and linoleum. A floating floor is a more affordable option, however a fine wooden floor or floor tiles will be more spectacular. You should invest in a coherent system of storage spaces; the built-in wardrobes are the preferred option as they can hide everything, you cannot live without but do not want to display. Choose a conventional plaster in neutral tones on the walls and do not even think about wallpapers or tiles. Just to embellish the space, you can opt for slate or other stone cladding in some areas, e.g. around the fireplace or the kitchen stove.
The Important Role Of The Light
Let the windows free without cornices and curtains and the window sills without a display of trifles and flowers. In the rooms which are not guarded by a large garden, use blinds to keep the privacy. The ultimate effect will be created by the light and sunshine then.
The Furniture In The Minimalist Approach
The furniture in a minimalist interior should include only the necessary but not dull things. Although only a few pieces are sufficient in a room, they should be meticulously selected solitaires that are worth attention. For seating in a living room, one aesthetically refined sofa or chair should be enough. A good alternative is to allocate a portion of the room for a slightly elevated “stage” covered by the same flooring as the rest of the floor; you place a few seat cushions on it. There will be an additional storage space under the “stage” and it will be become really useful during a large visit; however, it is suitable only for vast spaces.
If you have a pedestal-ledge (about 50 cm high) built along an entire wall, you will get a multifunctional surface for TV, books, candle holders and other necessities without needing any cabinets that would disturb the minimalist concept.
If minimalism is your style, a nice floor, bare walls, a play of light and shadows, a few design or artistic solitaires and your dear ones will be sufficient to create a happy home.