How to keep your minimalist design stylish

The minimalist lifestyle is more popular nowadays than it has ever been before. There is an ever increasing stream of design and fashion gurus who swear by ¨less is more¨each day, all the while social media influencers can not manage to declutter their apartments and decrease their wordly posessions fast enough, so they can edit their next video.

As with all trends, minimalism slowly penetrates many aspects of daily life: minimalist living, minimalist shoping, minimalist fashion, minimalist cooking, minimalist working, minimalist design.

And why shouldn´t it? Seems easy enough:

Walls are whitewashed, table cloths are bleached, each and all pieces of decoration are removed from the walls, wine bottles are stashed away, furniture is upholstered in one and the same color and most often than not, you or your clients are left floating in a never ending space of white, on white, on white.

Is it minimalist? Probably. Is it stylish? It could be!

Minimalism is usually defined by focusing on removing everything that would detract from enjoying fully the main experience at hand: in a restaurant for example, some would argue, that would be the food. And they would be right, to a certain extent.

Because if you are anything like me, you choose the places you visit based on how they make you feel and not solely on their main function: food for restaurants, stay over for hotels, excercise for gyms, bars for drinks or hair dressers´ for trim and dye.

A short overview of a hundred something reviews of restaurants online quickly shines a light on human psychology when it comes to eating out: people come for the food and repeat for the atmosphere and service. Furthermore, they are more likely to recommend a place, where they felt the space was adecuate and the decoration thoughtful, rather than a place where the meal was fine but lacked ambiance whatsover.

So, how do you make your minimalist style work for your business?

  • White is good. And so is every other color. You don´t have to stick to arctic white to create a minimalist design. Sure enough white is breezy and the go-to color when it comes to minimalism, but some rooms are just not meant to be white. Feel the temperature of the room, assess the light, know your clients, immerse yourself in their expectations and you will get a pretty decent idea of your options when it comes to choosing the color palette.
Photo by C. Cagnin on
  • Use more than just one color. One of the first mistakes people make when it comes to minimalism is using the exact same color for their walls, linen, floors and even furniture, hoping that would make the space coherent and stylish, yet they achieve quite the opposite: boring. Consider instead the use of complimentary shades of the same color. Combine off whites, greys and beige – it will always do the trick.
Photo by Emre Can on
  • Use textures. Texured fabrics and surfaces reflect light in a different way and can help differentiate layers of the same color in a design. Combine smooth with grainy surfaces and lacquered with matte for visual diversity.
Photo by Allie Smith on
  • Add visual anchors. Many people believe, that in order to stay within minimalist boundaries, they have to remove each and all possible decorations. Nothing can be further from the truth. Including well placed pieces of complimentary decor entertains the eye and introduces interest and focus to the design. As with anything else, you don´t want to go overboard, especially if you are going for the minimalist look: pick your art and decor wisely and make sure they tell a story throughout the whole space. Paintings can be tiny and intense or large and unidimensional, so they don´t prevail but add subtle accents to the layout.
Photo by Mark McCammon on
  • Color as an accent. Not into pots and vases and knicks and knacks? Use a bright colored piece of furniture instead. Don´t be scared: adding a complimentary color will not throw your minimalism off tracks. Including a bright contrasting color in the design, can brighten the space up and give dimension and depth to the whole concept.
Photo by Jessica on
  • Add various light sources. There are hardly any firm rules when it comes to lighting. Use lights to break up the space into different segments, mix, match and combine shapes, lengths and intensity for a cosy and destructured design.
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

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