Less Is More: 15 Pieces of Furniture You May Not Really Need

published Aug 16, 2012
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(Image credit: The Binghams’ Budget & Design Friendly Family Home House Tour))

Minimalism certainly isn’t for everyone. In fact, it probably isn’t for most people. But in the words of Francine Jay, thinking like a minimalist can be “a fun little thought-experiment on what’s truly necessary.” If you want to play along, here’s her list of 15 pieces of furniture that you may be able to live without.

Be forewarned: this list is probably going to strike you as extreme. There are items on here that I certainly couldn’t live without, and Miss Minimalist herself acknowledges that people should not “sit around on floor cushions in empty rooms” and that her suggestions aren’t well suited for “those who have bad backs, frequently entertain, or long to sink into a sectional at the end of the workday.”

Fundamentally, though, the type of mental exercise that she’s doing is a good one. Given that furniture is often larger and more costly than other home purchases, spending a few minutes thinking along extreme lines might help you reconsider what you really need before you buy, and it might save you money and space that you could then devote to things that you truly love or need.

Here are five of her fifteen items:

1. Dresser. Instead, try fabric shelves that hang from the closet bar. I use them myself for socks, undies, and folded clothes, and in my baby’s room for everything from onesies and sleepers to bibs and washcloths.

2. End tables. In my opinion, all those extra little tables that live in corners, and at the ends of couches, are just magnets for clutter.

3. TV stand or entertainment center. I’ve eliminated the need for this monstrosity by ditching my television altogether. But if you’re not ready to go that route, you can simply hang it on the wall.

4. Buffet or sideboard. Say sayonara to all the fancy table linens, and the heirloom (or wedding) china you never use, and skip this storage piece — giving your wallet, and your dining area, a little more breathing room.

5. Curio/display cabinet. Do away with the tchotchkes and knickknacks, and you can do away with this massive (and potentially expensive) furnishing. You’ll also spend less time and money acquiring dust-collectors to fill it up.

For the ten other pieces you may be able to do without, see Jay’s article over at The Huffington Post or visit MissMinimalist.com.

This list made me rethink my desire for a sideboard, and it also helped me cut down on my desire for so many occasional tables. (Yes, they’re handy, but when you have five of them in a living room, it’s probably time to pare.) Are there other pieces that she didn’t mention that you could do without, or are there some that she did list that seem absolutely essential to you? And on a more general level, do thought experiments of this kind help when you’re rethinking your home?

*Re-edited from a post originally published on 8.16.12 – AB