A bare, white room is the epitome of minimalist decor. Plus, it photographs beautifully.
Yet somehow when I try it myself the room feels cold and bare. I think I’ve learned to accept that for me a bare white room is just too minimal, and that there are other ways to keep a room clean and simple.
To achieve a clean looking room
- Softer colors. Trade bold color for a muted shade, so that the room is easy on the eyes with a tint of color. A pastel or tone with grayish tint is a good choice.
- Clutter is never good. This is something I’m still working on too, as you can see in my progression of the living room.
- Decorate, and then remove, remove, remove until you get that clean look. There’s a fine balance between too little decor and too much.
- Use prints sparingly. It’s easy to go overboard on prints, which takes away from a clean look. If I want prints, I try to only have one print featured in the room either on pillows, curtains, or bedding.
- Use color sparingly. In my new place, I decided white wasn’t working with my neutral decor. So I painted the walls in each room. In addition to this, I tried adding some color with pillows, prints, art, etc. and it became a little overwhelming to the simple look I was going for. I kept the walls and switched out other items. I also obtained artwork that went with the wall color to keep a more neutral, monochrome look.
- Things can always be changed! I’ve painted my living room many times before I found the most comfortable color. I’ve gone through different artwork when it wasn’t feeling just right. Return items if you can, or re-sell them on eBay or Craigslist. If that fails, donate. Don’t settle until you have a room that’s simple in your eyes, but still utilitarian and homely.
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There’s a gray area between minimalist decor and clutter. I would consider my decorating style somewhere in the middle.
As far as simplifying your life, I think it’s important to bring a room down to the bare minimum you can handle. Some people can get rid of everything, others need more to stay happy.
The easiest way to figure out what works for you is starting with a bare room and gradually decorating until satisfied. It’s much easier to do things this way rather than take away from what already exists, because you’re likely attached to many items.
Why is this important? Walking into a room with just the right amount of objects for decor can provide various benefits:
- It relaxes you. The view eases stress, rather than immediately overwhelming you with eye-candy overload.
- You focus on art. Having only a few items allows focus on special pieces or artwork, rather than having too much competing for attention. Quality versus quantity!
- You’re inspired. Until I decorated my area of the office, I wasn’t inspired to blog. The right amount of decoration will neither overwhelm or underwhelm you, which allows room for inspiration and ideas to flow.
- It centers your mind. You should have functional pieces and decorations, but not too much of each. You should feel comfortable and happy walking into the room to focus on why you walked in there in the first place.
After unpacking from my move to a bigger place, I found it too minimalist for my taste. I’m still adding quality pieces that make me happy, and I hope soon that I can experience the points above in every room!
If you’re having trouble limiting the amount of decoration you have, look out for a post on handling collections and holding onto items for decor.
Where is your line between minimalist and clutter? Do you need to do some organizing?
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