Minimalism: When Less Becomes More

BoConcept’s global visual merchandise manager Kalina Todorova and Showhomes business development consultant Amber Dias provide insight on the trend.

We’ve all heard it before: less is more. This could be in reference to your makeup application, your sugar intake or perhaps your interior design inspiration. While different fabrics and accessories are going in and out of style, minimalism is here to stay. To get more insight on the timeless trend, ESTATENVY sat down with BoConcept’s global visual merchandiser Kalina Torodova and Showhomes business development consultant Amber Dias to hear more about minimalism, why it is popular and best practices to make the trend come to life.

By putting fewer items in a bigger space, each piece of the design is a strategic and well-thought-out addition to the room. Instead of acting as a filler or an accent, the design aspects within a minimalist room each have a purpose to serve, no matter the size of the room. However, because clutter in a smaller room can be overwhelming, the trend is increasingly popular in smaller spaces like studio apartments and side rooms.

“The minimalist design is stripped down of any unnecessary elements, which allows one to appreciate the simplicity and aesthetics of the furniture pieces and its purpose in a space,” said Todorova.

However, that’s not to say that larger homes cannot also adapt to this trend.

“The minimalist look is also perfect for larger homes and suburban living,” said Torodova. “We see a trend of empty nesters or those in new homes wanting to change to more simple lines, which are still aesthetically pleasing in any space.”

So, how can you successfully carry out the minimalism trend in your own home?

Contrary to common belief, this trend does not mean all white walls accompanied by black and gray furniture. While the base colors are neutral, the design should incorporate different materials which will stimulate the interiors. The use of warm, organic elements like wood, wool or linen assist in making the space look cozy and inviting. Accent colors can be brought in through artwork and decoration, and materials like copper, marble and concrete can be thrown into the mix as well.

“The furniture should be an integral part of your interior design and support the function of the space. It should allow for easy flow and appreciation of your design elements,” said Torodova. “Go for simple lines and shapes, and avoid busy patterns. Balance is essential. Use less, but larger scale decorative items –like a big painting or a large vase – instead of too many small elements.”

Minimalism, while trending now, is something that has been around for a very long time. A century ago, Mies van der Rohe defined the ‘less is more’ motto. This motto stressed the essence of function over looks, getting rid of unnecessary products and in turn living a more sustainable lifestyle.

“If we look at the practical and health aspect of interiors, having fewer products, ornate details and clutter is more than a design that’s easy to maintain. It also decreases dust accumulation and leads to a healthier, allergen-free environment,” said Torodova. “Also, less furnishings, finishes and materials helps to eliminate the concern of harmful toxins and VOCs released indoors.”

Beyond homeowners, the minimalist trend has been proven to be successful in the home staging sector. We have all walked through a house or toured an apartment with furniture and design pieces engulfing the walls and space. It’s a scene that can make someone feel trapped and closed-in, and typically does not result in an “I can see myself living here” reaction.

“The simplicity and symmetry that you feel when you are in a minimalistic space creates a sense of calm,” said Dias. “If a room is too cluttered, you become anxious. A room too dark, you become depressed and gloomy. Rooms that are too bright make you feel stressed and hurried. And a room that’s too small makes you feel cramped, trapped and closed in.”

By prioritizing and choosing furniture that serves a purpose in the space, homeowners and home stagers alike can complete a project that has the right amount of minimalism.

“For me, when it comes to achieving a ‘design look,’ especially that of minimalist, it all comes down to feeling,” said Dias. “How does the room make you feel when you walk into it? Trust your inner self, listen to your inner soul and if it feels right, then you have achieved the minimalist look that is perfect for you.”