Minimalism as a choice in Life
I was reading an article recently about last year’s Interior Design trends. Can’t remember and can’t find on which website it was. The article was focused on trends that were “out of fashion” and the author was happy about it! One of these trends was the minimalist interiors (minimalism). I was really surprised and shocked about the way the article was written. The author’s style was a bit humoristic, but was crossing a line. A parenthesis here, if someone loves for example pink and this colour is “in” for a year, doesn’t mean that if next year the colour is “out” this person must change their preference! Apparently, for some people (including the author of the article) if you continue to like pink while is “out” you are “out” too.
Anyway, I don’t really like that kind of thinking. I believe people are free to choose whatever they like.
Therefore, my current post – article is for those how would like to explore and experiment with minimalism!
Minimalism can be interpreted in many ways. If we just take the word minimalism and read it, we see that comes from the word minimal (-ism). Minimal means the minimum amount, something very little. This “definition” is a lot different from what people mean – understand by minimalist interiors. When you search on google for minimal interiors you would expect to find monochromatic, clinical, “dead” interiors. That’s also the way the author of the article I read was perceiving minimalism. But that’s not minimalism.
Minimalism is much bigger and wider than just monochromatic, clinical or “dead” spaces.
Minimalism is a state of mind, is a choice in life. The true form of minimalism can be described as “we only have the things we need to survive”. We can survive for example, without dying our hairs or our bodies or our nails. Similarly, we can survive if we don’t go out for drinks. Or, we can survive without hundreds of shoes or without a dressing room. As, we can survive without ornamentations in our houses. Or without items in our houses that we never used or going to use.
So, minimalism, means refining, redefining and letting go. Minimalism has nothing to do with colours. You can use as many colours as you like.
Minimalism has to do with what is really important!
I had a conversation few days ago with my mother. I was saying to her that I realized how many things I have! And no I don’t like ornamentations, so I don’t really have any. But my concern was more regarding my death. You see, our lives here on earth are ephemeral. We live now, and tomorrow we die! And when people die, they don’t take anything with them. We are not Pharaohs or Kings and Queens to be buried with our favourite things. Some of us will be buried while some others will be incinerated! So, I was thinking, what about my stuff? We (my partner and I) live in a country away from our families and friends. We don’t really have anyone here. So if something happens to us, what will happen to our stuff? To our books and furniture?
Another parenthesis here, in the same spirit. I was saying to my partner that if something happens to us our cat Hermes will be all alone! We usually commute together, so if something happens we are both unable to inform anyone, who’s going to feed the cat? Anyway, we still haven’t found any solution for this problem. But, we found a semi – solution for our stuff.
Everything started when we moved to the new house. We had to pack so many things and disassembly so many Ikea furniture that it was like a punishment or something. So, in this process of moving I just asked myself “Do you NEED this?”, “Have you ever USED it?”, “Are you going to USE it?”. If the answer was no, or just once, or maybe, then the items was going to the donation box!
For example, I didn’t need a side table, or spare cutlery, some vases, and containers, along with DVDs and CDs. So, all this stuff went to the donation box. I also gave some of my books in order to make space for new ones. It’s not like I’m not going to miss them, but I didn’t really need them.
Less is More
Mies van der Rohe said this famous three words “Less is More“. The way I understand this quote is that by removing the excess – unnecessary items from our homes and lives, we make space for the important things. By having less (cause in reality we don’t need much), we can appreciate what we’ve got and what really matters.
The only thing that gets satisfaction from the plethora of stuff in our lives is our ego and our vanity. But these too cannot offer us anything more than suffering.
So in reality, minimalism isn’t just white spaces. Minimalist space is a red room with a green sofa and pink pillows. It could be a grand living room with wallpaper and heavy velvet curtains. Or just a room full of bookcases all around the walls, or a room full of collectibles.
Of course, we can live without collectibles or hundreds of books. But the key is to not get attached to our stuff. If we are willing at any time to give one of our favourite objects, then that means we are one step closer to get unattached from things.
Minimalism follows form and form follows function.
Now, when in doubt, try to bring in mind the phrase Louis Sullivan said “Form follows function“. This phrase along with the one Mies van der Rohe said “Less is more” is where the true form of minimalism lies. For example, if you have a plain white vase and one that has curved colourful flowers and you only need one so you want to give the second one. Which one are you going to give? The curved flowers don’t offer any practicality so you don’t actually need it. On the other hand, what if that vase is handmade and not mass produced from China? You shouldn’t consider it as a vase, but as a piece of craftsmanship, a piece of art.
Minimalism is not a trend neither an interior design movement. But, rather a state of mind and a choice in life. Therefore, minimalism will make us choose what is important and what are the things that we really can’t live without. Minimalism is the process of peeling off all the unnecessary layers of an onion so we can reach the important part.
In interior spaces minimalism will help the users to have a clutter free space. A space without unnecessary ornamentations either as objects or as decorations on walls and furniture. As these don’t offer anything practical. But under the minimalist “umbrella” you can use whatever colour you like. Furthermore, you can display important collectibles like gems, crystals, travel memorabilia or your books. Always in moderation in order to avoid cluttered spaces. Not everything is so important that we cannot live without it. So I’ll just repeat it again that if you want to choose and try minimalism don’t forget to refine, redefine and let go. Also, don’t forget that “Less is more” and Form follows function”.
Hope you like minimalism as much as I do!