Is minimalism really on its way out? That seems to be the consensus of popular international interior designers since 2020 when the pandemic changed the way we lived our lives. This opinion is gathering steam. Homes became multifunctional as the phenomena of work from home and online learning became the norm. How does one design a home that can absorb all the different demands made upon it on top of the primary function of being the sanctuary to shelter, nurture and rejuvenate body and soul?
In the last two years, we’ve all learned to make it work. We’ve shoved things out of the way to accommodate work and study places. We’ve refurbished extra rooms to become a home office or a study room, or sectioned off precious square meters by putting up walls. And for those of us who have very limited space, we’ve either carved out a place in the living room or kitchen or anywhere possible to make vignettes for the functions needed, or just adjusted the scheduling of a particular room, like office by day, living room by night.
So where is minimalism in all these? “On its way out” is the answer you get from home magazines. For the 1%, the answer may very well be “on our way to a bigger home”. For those with the flexibility and the means, it may be a run to the rural areas. But for most of us who do not have that luxury, how do we, whose hearts beat for minimalism, have a semblance of that sober design style in our homes?
What is Minimalism?
To a purist, minimalism would have these hallmarks:
- bare essentials (no decoration and embellishments)
- simple, clean lines
- uncluttered spaces
- monochromatic colors
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For Filipinos, this style would be hard to achieve. We’ve got too much fire in our veins. Even most of our churches, bastions where asceticism is espoused, come with burloloy. Filipinos seem to go for the saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum.”
Pinoy minimalism allows for some embellishment, and more stuff. As I always say and I say it again, make a home that fits your dreams. Straight lines not for you because you want an arch? Go ahead. Want some colorful cushions on your sofa because these make it prettier and more comfy? Knock yourself out. Your picture wall of family, alive or dead, is not clutter to you? Understood. As long as you can navigate your way around your home without having to go through an obstacle course, everything should be fine.
Colorful minimalism is a calm and cool style with the Scandi or Japandi aesthetic as base plus a touch of monochromatic pastel colors. I suggest that you explore Breathe, one of the paint color palettes in Boysen Color Trend 2022/23.
The sophisticated tones found in this color palette can create a modern vibe in your home. Choose a couple of colors and add them to your interiors with a light hand. Check out this villa in Bali, and see how the colorful touches add to the neutral palette of the home to give the place a happier but still serene vibe.
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Does It Spark Joy?
This question comes from the original decluttering queen Mari Kondo. Her focus is to keep what sparks joy, not what you want to eliminate. Her Konmari method is not about minimalism, but if we want to have that minimalist style in our home interiors, we need to start with tidying up and that includes asking ourselves what we want to keep and what we want to give or throw away.
I have nothing against Lazada or Shopee or Amazon or any online shopping marketplace. But if you are budol-prone, stop hanging out in those sites because they’re a rabbit hole full of goodies and you’ll probably come out of there with lots of stuff you don’t need and a much lighter wallet. Say aye if you’ve experienced this.
Nowadays, many external events beyond our control challenge our serenity. We need homes where tranquillity reigns, where peace pervades, where we can breathe. I suggest we don’t add to the stress by cluttering our homes with accumulated detritus. Take this to heart:
At some point I realized that I wasn’t organizing my life; I was organizing my clutter. That’s when I changed strategies: I went from world-class organizer to world-class declutterer. Instead of arranging and containing things, I got rid of them. Instead of shuffling them around my house, I escorted them out of my house.” – Francine Jay
So do banish those things in your home that do not spark joy. Yes, that includes auntie’s first attempt at portraiture, the one where you look a bit skewed. Believe me, that didn’t start out as an abstract.
Back to the question: is minimalism on its way out? For purists, never. But for the rest of us who like some of the elements in this interior style, think about how you can weave your own color through a minimalist canvas.
For more color inspiration, visit the Boysen Color Trends website.