Google the phrase “minimalist house” and the vast majority of results will show you utterly modern, shiny, white box-like homes.
And that’s lovely.
But it’s such a misunderstanding of the idea of simple, minimalist homes to think that white, shiny boxes are what it’s all about.
Minimalism is not about the absence of personality. Or History. Or uniqueness.
And it doesn’t have to be about the absence of colour. Or mementos. Or quirkiness.
It’s not about stripping out everything that is unnecessary. (Because, strictly speaking, much of what we own is unnecessary. Taking all of that away would leave our homes very empty indeed.)
Now, if shiny, white boxes float your boat, then that’s fabulous. But me? I love a home that has warmth, personality and history. I simply don’t like clutter.
Today you’ll see that creating a beautiful, simple, clutter-free home does not mean creating a boring, sterile, style-less home.
Firstly, some inspiration to get your imagination firing:
So how do you create a personality-filled home without the clutter?
1. Start with White Space
If you don’t already, you need to learn to love white space.
And just so we’re on the same page – white space doesn’t actually have to be white. It needs to be clear, empty, blank, bare. Devoid of stuff. The colour doesn’t matter so much. In fact, as you can see above, colour is one of the most beautiful, simple ways to decorate.
The best way to find white space in the first place is to declutter. When you rid your home of things you don’t love, things you don’t need, things you don’t use – you will find your white space.
2. Use What You Already Own.
Chances are you already own things that are beautiful and meaningful. So use them! Do them justice!
Look at things you own that have special memories or meaning attached:
- a handmade quilt from your grandmother
- a piece of art gifted to you on your 30th birthday
- a beautiful piece of furniture that has been handed down to you – a cabinet, hallstand, lounge or table
- a framed photo from your favourite holiday, your wedding day, your baby’s first birthday
- a dining table made from recycled timber
- a lamp you bought from an op-shop one beautiful weekend
- newspaper clippings from your past
- artwork from your kids, nieces or nephews
3. Set the Foundation and Highlight the Special
Now that you’ve found your white space and decided what beautiful things you’re going to highlight in your home, you need to strip the room back to its basics (in terms of furniture and decor) to create the foundation.
The foundation is everything that the room needs to function well. For example:
A lounge room requires a lounge, TV, entertainment unit, perhaps an armchair and bookshelves.
A bedroom requires a bed, storage for your clothes, somewhere to sit and perhaps a bedside table.
Once the foundation is in place, you can carefully choose what personal mementos, photos, belongings or keepsakes you want to highlight.
It’s really important to choose wisely. Your aim is that everything remaining is beautiful or useful.
If you follow these guidelines, you’re going to create a home packed with personality, but not packed with clutter. And that’s what we’re after.
10 Tips to Create a Stunning, Personality-Filled Minimalist Home
Using the images above (from top left) as inspiration, start to think about the various ways you can create a stunning, liveable, personality-filled home – without the clutter:
- Vibrant, handmade touches. By removing clutter and unnecessary decoration, a gorgeous, personality-filled quilt like this brings the bedroom alive while still allowing it to be the haven you need.
- Find beauty in utilitarian items. Just because an item is “useful” rather than “beautiful” does not mean it should be hidden out of sight. By surrounding the bench and hat/coat stand with plenty of white space, suddenly these items become beautiful in their own right.
- Make a colourful artwork the centrepiece of your room. You can consider making one yourself, or as a family project. Then it becomes not only simple and beautiful, but also meaningful and something to be proud of. If you’re fortunate enough to own a beautiful piece of artwork already, don’t be afraid to let it stand in its own beauty on an otherwise empty wall.
- Use light to decorate. A dramatic colour on the walls and a simple, yet beautiful wall-hung light fitting is all this room needs to pop with personality. And no clutter in sight. You can also use this idea with daylight as decoration. Consider removing your window coverings and let the outside world be your artwork.
- Don’t be afraid to use dark colours. When surrounded by plenty of white space, a dark piece of furniture, art or bedding looks refreshing rather than overwhelming. It gives the eye something interesting to rest on in an otherwise neutral room.
- Use colour on the walls as decor. Don’t be afraid to do something a little different with the colour on your walls. Adding a simple two-tone colour job plus neutral, utilitarian furniture is enough to make a room warm and inviting. And again, you don’t need to clutter the room with piles of sentimental items to communicate your style.
- Use furniture with a built-in past. Second-hand furniture brings warmth and history to a room, even if it’s not necessarily your history. But if you really balk at the idea of buying furniture second-hand, then consider purchasing a piece made from recycled timber. Not only is it a sustainable choice, it brings so much character to the space that additional decor is unnecessary.
- Decorate with texture. A simple lace curtain or a neutral coloured, textured blanket is often all you need to break up the sameness of a simply decorated room.
- Choose your favourite colour. Or the colour you find most calming, or meditative, or exciting. In a pale/neutral room, use this colour to provide the pop of personality you want. Think a gorgeous blanket in grassy green, or a chair spray-painted yellow. Surround it with white space and be reminded every time you enter the room that you chose that piece and that it is beautiful to you.
- Let the room speak for itself. If it is a dining room, then let it be a dining room. Don’t feel the need to fill every empty nook and cranny with stuff, just so the room looks lived-in or utilised. Keep the furniture to the minimum that is required, and simply enjoy using the space for what it’s designed for.
What are your favourite tips for creating a home with personality? Do you have any examples? Photos? Websites? Let us know in the comments.