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minimalism - featured

Making Minimalism Work for You

by Thea Dellas

When you hear “minimalism” do you think sharp edges, black and white lines and huge empty spaces? These are a few traits that define minimalism in art, music, and design. But minimalism has evolved—it’s become a lifestyle, a way of cutting out unnecessary material possessions and mental stress. Minimalism in the home is an extension of that lifestyle into interior design and personal inventory. While an adamant minimalist will define herself by a complete lack of excess and a dedication to simplicity, I believe that it’s time to redefine minimalism, to personalize it and establish it as a universally achievable lifestyle.

Having spent a lot of time considering what minimalism means traditionally and what it means to me, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all individuals and we all express ourselves in different ways. Minimalism shouldn’t be defined by any particular color, shape or style. We can all attain the beauty and comfort of minimalism in our homes without sacrificing our individuality and our self expression within the spaces we inhabit, as long as we follow a few guidelines and allow ourselves to put all of our energy into what is most important to us.

Organize
My definition of minimalism says nothing about having nothing. We all have things, and many of us have lots of them—clothes, books, makeup, shoes, electronics—the list goes on. Living minimally does not mean that you have to throw away all of these things. But even my loose interpretation of minimalism dictates that everything must have a place. The key to a minimal interior is avoiding clutter. This means putting things away when you’re done using them, labeling storage bins or boxes, and understanding what you use most and least. minimalism - labels
Via Deliciously Organized

Minimize
It’s also extremely important that you know what’s necessary and what’s not. If you’re in the process of trying to be more of a minimalist, you’ve probably thought to yourself at least once, I have too much stuff. And that’s okay. It’s good to have stuff. It’s also good to remember that some of that stuff is garbage and that some of it might be useful in another home. So every time you think to yourself that you have too much, take some of that excess and throw away what is too broken in or outdated. Take what works but doesn’t work for you anymore and donate it. You don’t have to go through everything at once or put yourself through a grueling week-long purge—just keep a box for donations in a closet and fill it little by little. Challenge yourself to put one thing you’ve deemed unnecessary in the box or in the trash every day for a month.
minimalism - donate
Via Real Simple

Centralize
Minimalism at its core is about focusing on your passions and eliminating what distracts you from them. This sounds cheesy, I know. But it’s true. Living minimally means eliminating the things that detract from what matters. So when it comes to creating a minimalist home that works for you, remember to channel your passions into the spaces you’re working with. Use colors, shapes and patterns. Give your spaces meaningful focal points. The important things should stand out—whether they’re as simple as the color green or as complex as nature itself.
minimalism - passion
Via New House of Art

Customize
Once you’ve established what your passions are, you can build your personal minimalism around them. Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

  • You can’t imagine life without color. Create a minimal interior by combining your love of bright colors with organization and clean lines. Try going for one of two looks: a neutral base with pops of bright color or a space dominated by the color of your choice.
  • Flower child at heart? Contrast bohemian patterns against simple, neutral furniture and walls.
  • If you were a king or queen in a past life, create the minimalist palace of your dreams by combining modern furniture with ornate wallpaper, or keep the walls simple and install gilded mirrors and ornamental molding.

minimalism - snip 1
Via Decoholic, Side Street Style, Commona My House, Home Décor Point

  • For the Ivy-Leaguer in you, use the nautical stripes and monogrammed pillows you love while keeping your colors consistent and décor at a minimum.
  • If you’re an artist, or just love your art collection, then fill your walls with artwork and keep furniture simple and sleek, so that it doesn’t detract from your fantastic gallery walls.
  • And for the minimalist nature-lover, the bright foliage of indoor plants in well-lit rooms with simple white furniture and walls makes for an awesome, organic minimalism.

minimalism - snip 2
Via Bob Vila and Beyond Interiors Design

Once you realize that you’re capable of personalizing minimalism—that a minimalist home doesn’t have to mean a nearly-empty closet, shiny black countertops and a total lack of decoration—then you open yourself up to endless possibilities and the chance to live minimally without eliminating the personality from your home. All you need to do is stay organized, minimize a little bit at a time and focus on what’s important to you.

Feature photo via OnPine

Thea Dellas

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Creative writer and obsessive organizer.