Design Dilemma: Warm Minimalism Captures the Zeitgeist | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Warm Minimalism Captures the Zeitgeist

Warm minimalism

If there’s one decor style which seems to capture the zeitgeist of our times better than any other, it’s what has become known as “warm minimalism.” In an age in which sustainability, climate change, excess consumerism, and growing inequality have become the issues of the day, there is something about a welcoming but very simple environment, boiled down to a few essentials, which seems to reflect the spirit of our times. Environments like these:

Caterpillar House

And this:

master bedroom

And this:

Caterpillar House

Why are these environments so appealing, and what do they have in common?

To answer the first question, many of us feel increasingly jaded by societies in which we are constantly expected to grasp after the next new trend. Instead, we are in search for classic environments that will endure the test of time, spaces that do not require expensive designer furniture, rooms that embrace sustainable woods, and that are not filled to the brim with “stuff.” at the same time, classic minimalism, as it is widely understood — no color, no rugs, sharp lines and empty spaces — does not provide the sense of retreat and welcome that most of us are after in our homes. In an increasingly competitive world, we want a space that gives us a kiss and a hug when we come home, not a cold shoulder.

So that answers the question of why we find spaces like those below appealing.

Albert Park House

The second question of what these environments have in common is easy to spot. Warm, minimal environments make liberal use of wood. Wood is often on the lighter side of the color palette to emphasize airyness and spaciousness. There is a distinct lack of clutter. Organic shapes, rounded corners, nubby textures, are important design elements, as is the concept of light and space itself. While it might seem easy to pull off such a space, it really isn’t. If your home doesn’t have good bones, it will be harder to let minimalism shine the way it should.

The bedroom below just wouldn’t be the same without the huge window and all the light streaming in.

Meadow House

So if your space has good bones and you think you have the restraint to pull off this decor style, here are a few tips:

1) Try Coco Chanel’s tip. Design what you think is the perfect room and then remove one object. It could be that extra lamp, object d’art, or side chair.

2) Use warm woods but don’t go crazy. Wood, used in just the right amounts, can warm up a space that might otherwise seem clinical. But if you add too much, the minimalism effect gets lost. So use wood judiciously. Below, a dining room makes use of wood and organic, live-edge table to warm things up.

Decor Aid

3) Art and touches of color make a big difference in an otherwise empty room. Below, two pieces of art and one simple yellow stool steal the show. Notice also how the lamp brings in a touch of nature, always critical in a warm space.

Beet Residence

And here, a simple white hallway is warmed up with lots of art and touches of color.

Stockholm, Sweden

4) Steal a page out of the Scandinavian playbook, and paint a simple room all white, then fill your walls with artwork and touches of primary color. You can see that aesthetic at work in the hallway above.

5) Make editing a regular part of your life.  The hardest part of having a warm minimal space is keeping it minimal. In order to do so, you’ve got to purge regularly, giving away things — extra clothes, books, art objects, that seem to find their way into your home. If you don’t love it, let it go!

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