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A new minimalism has taken over from the bare, austere interiors furnished with steel and black leather.  Today’s minimalist homes cleverly combine the spirituality of minimalism with a respect for light and colour, clean lines and easy living.  It is a style that marries form and function: it is comfortable, beautiful, affordable and practical.

Although ‘minimalism’ suggests reduction, the best way of achieving this contemporary look is by peeling back the layers of an interior so that its bones are laid bare, and then carefully adding elements, piece by piece, and carefully weighing the effect each piece has on each other and the space.

Minimalism today allows us to have it all.  It is a democratic style that throws away old design rules, replacing them instead with freedom of expression.  Minimalism is no longer about following strict design guidelines, but is concerned more with creating a heightened awareness of material, colour and texture.

In the past, any colour other than white was rejected as non-neutral.  Nowadays, colour  – a splash, a wall, a dramatic sofa – can be used boldly and effectively, allowing us to stamp our personality onto our home.  Technology has injected texture into previously bland items.  The blank canvas of our walls, floors and ceilings can be covered with an amazing array of textures and materials while still allowing our space to be minimalist.

Before starting any design project, it is important to have a comprehensive plan and a clear picture of what you would like to achieve.  Nowadays, we tend to use the same room for socializing, watching television, browsing the Internet, doing homework and even cooking and eating.  This variety of activity presents the greatest challenge when designing a space.   We need to find a balance between spatial purity, personal style and practicality.  Spending some extra time clarifying our needs is the first step in creating an interior that is right for us.

Maintaining the clean living spaces that are essential to minimalism might seem to run counter to our natural inclination of relaxing without regimes.    We might admire the interiors in glossy magazines but believe that our lifestyles make them impossible to achieve or maintain.   Add children and pets to the equation and minimalism might become just another unrealistic pipe dream.   However, once you have identified a framework for living that allows you to uphold minimalist ideals, it becomes easy to create a pure, tranquil space.  The key is storage.

“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is the maxim that is central to minimalism.  Everyone collects clutter – the key is putting it away.  In today’s smaller homes, storage takes on even greater importance and it is important to try to earmark spaces for storage as early on in the design process as possible.  Don’t dismiss any space – even the smallest corner has storage potential.   Use irregular room shapes and sizes to your advantage by building storage to square off the room, use the space beneath the beds, build wardrobes and kitchen units as high as possible and add stylish storage units in the bathroom and hallway.   Think about what you want to put away and design spaces that suit your brand of clutter.

The spirit of minimalism allows us to stamp our personality on our homes.  Don’t be afraid to exploit its potential.