How to decorate without clutter – three rules I live by
I grew up in a home where decorating meant filling up every surface with things – replica artwork prints on every wall, porcelain figurines in every corner, even my Kinder Surprise toys had pride of place in the glass display cabinet (which from a certain point of view, count for artwork, really). Though my childhood homes had that lived-in feel that only years of organic knicknack accumulation could achieve, the suffocating sensation of being surrounded by clutter was probably what first set me on the path of minimalism.
Now, in my little house with my staunchly anti-clutter boyfriend and giant Ragdoll cat, I endeavour to retain only what is necessary – something to sit on, somewhere to work, something to eat with. But there is a balance to be struck between elegant simplicity and abject emptiness, and, for that matter, charming homeliness and cluttered magpie’s nest. For me, a successful interior is not predicated on the calibre of its ornaments or the allowance of empty space, but an optimised pairing back that makes for an easy and happy lifestyle within.
Here are three rules I live by to decorate without clutter.
Keep to a single focal piece
The minimalist might be scanty with her things, but she is not the monastic type that shirks all worldly possessions. She keeps only a select few treasured things, chosen against specific aesthetic criteria and for a designated purpose. Accordingly, each facet of a living space should contain no more than a single focal piece, whether it is a favourite chair, a piece of artwork, or a distinct textile. For example, in this corner of my bedroom, my Salt & Pepper marble base rose gold lamp takes centre stage.
Find the nexus of the functional and ornate
The more business-like spaces in the home – the kitchen, laundry and bathroom – present unique decorating challenges. These have a tendency to look rather clinical when stocked with only the essentials. However, beware of the urge to fill the void with superfluous decorations: the oversized novelty fork wall ornaments, the faux needle work ‘Home is where the heart is’ plaques, and those little potpourri sacks (aka dust magnets). Rather than adding more bric-a-brac, inject personality by opting for functional pieces that are also decorative. I have chosen marble plates and bowls over the archetypal white basics, and ultra-fresh rose gold cutlery set over the ordinary stainless steel (both from Salt & Pepper).
Use accents of colour
A minimalist’s attraction to a monochrome palette reflects a love of simplicity. However, there is a fine line between simple and monotonous. One way to strike a balance is to use key accents of colour. For me, I have introduced warm metallics and pale blues (being in complimentary colour families), expressed through small accessories, like my Salt & Pepper watercolour inspired ‘Cumulous’ cup and saucer and rose gold cutlery.
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(Styling and photography with the assistance of Tracy Dinh)