We all like beautiful things and can’t resist buying new stuff we like, from souvenirs to cushions and furniture we don’t need. I used to be the victim of my own good taste, I passionately searched for and collected everything that was pleasing to my eye. Until there was no space left in my house and I started to suffocate. And that’s how I discovered minimalism, by being forced to de-clutter and simplify.
Minimalism appeared in 1920s, as a reaction to heavily decorated lush styles of the previous epochs. The motto was ‘Less is more’ and later ‘Do more with less’. This rather self explanatory rule emphasized the need to simplify and keep only what is necessary, using what’s left to heighten the esthetics. It is a complete U-turn from piling things up and losing the esthetic impression due to the excess of visual stimulation.
So I began, from the golden rule – have a big clear out. I guess the most difficult part is deciding what to keep and what to let go of. Once you have that done, your new look starts to emerge. Then you need to tidy up and organize what you’ve kept in the most functional way, and change the colors, textures or replace some items with new more suitable ones.
My kitchen was cluttered the most. It was full of souvenirs, flowerpots, utensils, machines … you name it. I let go of most of the stuff. We only kept the things we actually do use in the kitchen, and we were surprisingly able to fit them all into cupboards. We completely cleared the counters of any objects except the blender and the coffee machine. The cupboards became visible again and clean lines of kitchen furniture brought texture out so we repainted the cabinets and refinished the table and the chairs and we had ourselves a new spacious kitchen.
We did the same with other wooden furniture in the house, refinished and repainted it in the same light crème color, staying consistent with combining only two basic colors – white for the walls, crème for the furniture. We wanted to have a functional but cozy and comfy space. The change was amazing. In our living room, we only kept the couch and the sofa and covered them with white throws. One coffee table replaced two chairs, a chests of drawers and the TV stand. The TV was hung on the wall, all the floor lamps were replaced by one wall lamp, and our heavy old patterned carpet with a dark grey rug. Twenty or so little framed drawings and photos that hung on our walls were replaced by a single large wallpaper photo of nature. Calming and non-intrusive at the same time, it gave our space soul but did not distract us.
We did the same with the bedroom, leaving only the bed, the night table and a chair. We installed a big mirror over the entire surface of the closet giving the room depth and richness. It was functional at the same time.
Our bathroom was already minimalist, I just uncluttered it from products putting them all into one cupboard and removing everything else except the towel hangers and soap. We changed the rugs into light crème and white and threw in a single white candle for atmosphere. The coat hangers from the hall were taken down and the coats are kept in our almost invisible hall wardrobe.
What we gained from going minimalist is actually some serious relief. I used to waste so much time cleaning and arranging all the stuff in our house. Now cleaning is a breeze and it stays clean for much longer. We can sit on the floor, we can move about much more freely, the space is fresh with whiteness, open, relaxing and soothing. Yet we have everything we need and we enjoy our house much more now. ‘Less is more’ turned out to be true – more time, more money, more space, more freedom!