If you like the uncluttered look but don’t necessarily want to give up all your stuff, there are ways to make minimalism work for you. You can definitely achieve a minimalist aesthetic at home and still keep most of your stuff. And that’s what I want to talk about.
First, I probably should qualify what I mean by keeping most of your stuff: In home design, there is a point when less is really more and too much stuff just looks untidy. More stuff can also leave you feeling overwhelmed. And I personally, have never seen an overstuffed room look chic. Somewhere between cramped and the stark look of some minimalist decor is a nice balance of living with stuff; it’s that balance that I’m referring to. Call it semi-minimalism or whatever you want to, but this balance will make your rooms a pleasure to be in both aesthetically and energetically.
Here are some ways you can achieve that. Here’s how you can do minimalism (or semi-minimalism) without changing your whole life:
If you love books, guitars, vinyl records, shoes, or have a thing for Disney dolls, store and display the thing you love all together as a collection. That area can serve as a mini-museum for your passion item. When you’re in that room or area, you can just feel the pride and joy of your hobby. Creating collections get them from all over the house, to one room/area, leaving the rest of your home to function as they should.
Do empty walls and bare floors
Having more empty wall space and bare floors move the decorating needle toward minimalism, and it’s a look that can benefit your wellbeing. The look gives your eyes a place to rest, which will make you feel calmer. To achieve this, edit your rooms a bit. Take down a few wall pieces and show off more of your floors.
Add closed storage
Another way to get the less cluttered look is to put things away in cupboards, closets, and behind closed doors. It’s a nice cheat that gets you the look of minimalism without you having to give up those things you’re still attached to. Just shut them away!
Take advantage of natural light
Unless you geek out on interior design like I do, you may not have noticed the less-is-more window treatment trend. Today, it’s rare to see designers using heavy drapes in living areas. The heavy drapes are mostly reserved for bedrooms. Heavy window treatments usually attract more dust and block natural light, and in 2019, they make a room look heavy and dated. Get on trend and switch out heavy window treatments for a more minimal style.
With more stuff, use less color
I have less furniture than most people I know but my home doesn’t look spare because of this decorating trick: I use colorful accessories like flowers and bright pillows to “fill” the space. If you have more stuff, you want to do the reverse of that by decorating with less color. Less color will make your room feel more spacious and less cluttered.
Any decor is going to feel homier (and lighter) with wood. Showing off wood-based architecture and b is to take advantage of the opportunity to feature nature in your home. I mentioned having more bare floors above so if you have a lot of wood floors, it helps not to cover them up with too many rugs.
Do less bulk shopping
Buying EVERYTHING in bulk, can make your home look (and feel) like one big storage room. The trick to buying in bulk and still live like a minimalist is to limit bulk shopping to select items. After assessing my storage and considering how I live and which items I use most often, I decided I would stock up on paper towels, toilet paper and a couple of kitchen staples only. I will buy just enough tampons for 3 months and a 8-pack of Double A batteries will last me a year. With this type of discipline, even when my non-bulk items are on sale, I resist my urge to stock up. They’re not on my bulk items list! Whatever items make sense for you to stock up on, your available storage needs to adequate for it. Even in your cupboards, you can have that sense of order and organization that makes your storage look cute and uncluttered.
Think about how you’ll use your space
Cramped spaces make it harder to move around and they place limits on how you can use your space. When I was thinking of what to buy (or not buy) for the my living room, I gave a lot of thought to how I wanted to use the space. Because I wanted enough floor space to do yoga and have “dance parties for one,” I left a lot of room between my sofa and TV. I also left enough room in another area of the space where I could roll my long table to host a dinner parties and use as a co-working space. I recommend everyone put this type of thought into how they want to use their rooms. Don’t decorate for once a year, decorate for how you’ll live most of the time. You may find that instead of a three-piece sofa set, two pieces will leave the room feels more spacious and functional. And if you really need that third piece, consider using it in another room—even your bedroom. With this type of planning, you will make space for living and get the feeling of minimalism.
So as you can see, with a little bit of thought, there are ways to achieve the minimalist decor and still keep most of your beloved stuff. You can get the look of clean lines and thoughtful design without changing your entire lifestyle or becoming one of those minimalists. The payoff is that you’ll begin to enjoy your space more. Rooms will feel more comfortable and the less clutter look is great for your wellbeing.
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. She believes the way we live affects everything we do, especially our motivation.