The term "minimal" has been used a lot in recent years. More people seem to be looking to simplify their lives and their homes, perhaps to create a calm sanctuary in the face of a complex world.
"Less is more," is how the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously described his style. Buckminster Fuller, architect and futurist, tried "doing more with less." I think the reason why minimalism has resonated with so many people as a design style is because it encourages focusing on the essential elements needed to create a home. It's not so much about "empty" homes or feeling like you can't decorate. It's about stripping away what's unnecessary until you are left with just the things you need and that make you happy. Doing more with less.
I think "minimal" now is beyond the definition any textbook can give it. Embraced by different people, the idea of living more minimally has been interpreted in fresh ways. Some people focus on the aesthetics of minimalism in order to create a peaceful space that brings them calmness. Others dive deep into the philosophy of minimalism, focusing on the things in life that are most important to them, and crafting a home that reflects that.
Whatever your interest level may be in minimalism, find the inspiration (and resources) that influenced the people living in these beautiful, real, minimal homes.
Drew has been living a minimalist lifestyle for five years, which is on display in the Texas studio he calls home. He says that the outcome of living more minimally has "been rewarding and consists of less stress, more freedom, and better mental clarity." He shares his influences:
The Farnsworth House designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and The Glass House designed by Philip Johnson have influenced me the most. Both residences send a sense of peace and calm my way whenever I view photos of them.
Robyn shares a Toronto home with her partner Sam and their two dogs Carl and Prune. The reasons for her adopting a more minimal lifestyle were very personal, and she also shares one of the biggest influences that started her down the minimal lifestyle path:
A few years ago something led me to Courtney Carver's blog Be More with Less. I'm not sure how I got there, but once I started reading her posts I was hooked. Around the same time, my husband Sam and I had our lives turned upside down. In the span of a few months we were both dealing with life-changing personal issues all while renovating our house, which was a nightmare on its own. Under normal circumstances I might have read about minimalism and thought "hmm, that sounds great, but it's just not for me," but every part of it resonated so deeply as I reevaluated what mattered most to me and worked on focusing my energy on what was truly important.
During our renovation we were living with my parents so a lot of our stuff was in storage. When what was supposed to be a two month reno turned into a year (did I mention it was a total disaster?) we started to question whether or not we needed most of the stuff we had in storage. How important could it be if I didn't miss it? We decided that when we moved into our home we'd only unpack things as we actually needed them and everything else would go. Since then, we've continued to embrace this mentality and are mindful about what we purchase and bring into the home.
I've already mentioned Courtney Carver, but she's worth mentioning twice. She is an excellent writer with approachable and thought-provoking content. Not only did reading her blog get me into minimalism, it also led Sam and me to plant-based eating. In a dark time in our lives, she provided a light that shifted our perspectives, helping us become stronger as individuals and as a couple. Also, you're reading this right: we're a couple of vegan minimalists. The epitome of the type of people you never want to get stuck talking to at a party. I would have rolled my eyes at us a few years ago, which has definitely been a lesson in being open-minded.
Lisa and her husband recently moved from Sydney, Australia to a rental in Nashville, Tennessee. They only shipped a small container of their belongings (like special artwork, keepsakes, books and kitchenware). She shares what's inspired her simple style:
Some of my favorite home bloggers (most of whom I stumbled across on Instagram) have the most beautifully styled spaces. I realized that I was really drawn to their minimalist aesthetic and wanted to try and emulate that in our new home. One designer I love to follow is The Faux Martha. Her home is an absolute dream. I also love combining modern and vintage pieces, which House of Hipsters does so well! Beyond that, Apartment Therapy, My Domaine and Domino are all favorites.