So just what is a minimalist lifestyle? Why is this so much more than an approach to décor? What does it really mean?
Essentially, a minimalist lifestyle simply means reducing the clutter, scaling back your possessions and aiming to say and do more with less. It means appreciating a few things instead of having a huge amount of clutter that you don’t really need or want.
I often see minimalism as an approach to UI design for devices from companies like Apple and on an increasing number of websites. Here, the all-important maxim to follow is ‘communicate, don’t decorate’.
That means that unless something is serving an actual purpose, it doesn’t belong in the design. A website doesn’t need a patterned background, it doesn’t need unnecessary menus and it doesn’t flourish filling up every bit of white space.
Every single element should serve a purpose, whether that is to guide the viewers’ eyes in a certain direction, to communicate some key information, or to facilitate an important interaction. If a button doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t need to be there!
Applying Minimal Design to Your Home
This same ethos can then be applied to décor. Of course, you don’t need to communicate anything as such when it comes to your home’s decoration but you can accomplish something similar when looking at items of furniture etc.
Minimalist items of furniture are items that are utilitarian in as much as they don’t have lines or decoration that doesn’t need to be there. That means that they will be made up of straight lines and they won’t feature things like swirly handles, or unnecessarily elaborate feet. Everything serves a purpose.
With that serving as the basis for your décor, you can then continue with that basic concept by adding just a few items that you need while staying away from the temptation to add extra decoration that will serve no real purpose.
In UI and design, this minimalist concept has come to the fore because it allows for better interactions. By having fewer distracting elements, this approach is able to more effectively direct users to the right points on the screen and encourage the right interactions. It also allows a website design to more effectively scale to different screen sizes when users change devices and it creates more ‘space’ which makes the experience more calming and enjoyable.
But while your home is not a UI, all these same concepts apply just the same. When you start removing unnecessary decorations and clutter, you start to make interacting with your home much simpler. When there are fewer items on your desk, you’ll find that you can find what you want that much more quickly and easily.
Likewise, when there is less clutter generally in your interior design, you’ll have less clutter in your visual field. This will make your space that much more calming and relaxing and also make it much easier to keep clean and tidy.
And that, in turn, means you’re now spending less time cleaning and less time digging around for things. Your home will be clean and attractive more often and you’ll have more time and energy to do the things that you enjoy doing and actually use your space!
Just like a UI, your home serves a function. That function is to support the lifestyle that you want to live. So, if an item in your home is not serving that role, then the simple solution is to remove it! And then you can breathe more easily…