Why minimalism is a better way to live – experts on the benefits of a clean home
When you hear the word minimalism, sparse spaces, cool neutrals, and clean lines probably come to mind. But while some minimalist interiors may express these tropes, the design trend goes way beyond that.
‘Minimalism in interior design does not mean that you live in a modern, white and cold space, without the objects that you love”, explains Nathalie Deboel, Belgian interior designer and furniture designer. “It’s about the meaning of the things you own. Warm minimalism or soft minimalism is more about the style, colors and materials we use to create a peaceful space. This often means using soft colors and natural materials.
For Russell Pinch, co-founder of furniture and lighting design brand PINCH, minimalism is about “beauty found in simplicity” and “achieving a calm, elegant aesthetic”. He explains, “We live in a cluttered world and understand that any piece of furniture or product has to work hard to earn its place. So we refine our designs until we arrive at our idea of perfection: timeless furniture that is hardworking, meticulously thought out and deserving. of his space.’
So, rather than being rooted in a particular aesthetic, minimalism is more of a design process or a philosophy. “For me, minimalism means ‘the essence’, explains Nathalie Deboel. “It’s how I reduce distractions in my design, so I can focus more on what matters.”
Minimalism as a way of life
Minimalism isn’t just a design philosophy: it’s a way of life. “It’s a tool to help you prioritize what’s important,” says Nathalie Deboel (opens in a new tab). “It’s the intentional promotion of the things that bring you joy and the elimination of the ones that don’t.”
Last year, research by a team from the University of North Texas suggested that minimalism might even make people happier. The team analyzed studies on the emotional impact of minimalism (or “voluntary simplicity”, to use their own terms). They found that 80-85% of studies reported a link between voluntary simplicity and well-being.
We asked Joshua Hook, professor of psychology at the University of North Texas and leader of the study, to share his definition of minimalism: “There’s a lot of variability in how people craft a lifestyle. minimalist, but I would say it has to do with living with less, so you can focus more on the things that are important to you,” he says.
Improve our well-being
So why could minimalist homes have a positive impact on well-being? “I think there are several reasons,” says Joshua Hook. “Having a lot of things can be stressful, as you have to take care of them, replace them, worry about them being stolen, etc. Also, if you remove some of the clutter from your life, you have more time. and energy to focus on your core values, those things that are most important to you.
He continues, “Minimalism allows me to spend time with friends/family and focus on health and meaningful work. But everyone has to decide for themselves what their core values are and whether minimalism is right for them.
For Nathalie Deboel, a minimalist lifestyle promotes calm. ‘[The goal of minimalism is] to feel free in your spirit, to live an intentional life and to find inner peace,” she says. “We only have a certain amount of energy, time and space in our lives. In order to make the most of it, we need to be intentional about how we live each day.
A tonic to modern lives
Minimalism originated in the late 1950s, but in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in its ideas. Watch the success of Marie Kondo, who sold 10 million copies of her Bible The magic of life-changing storage and taught people around the world how to declutter a room. Or Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’ “The Minimalists” podcast, which has been downloaded over 100 million times. The duo’s Netflix documentary on the subject was even nominated for an Emmy.
When we look at the society in which we live, this renewed interest in a simpler way of being is not surprising. “We live in a society that creates false value by owning more things and not having time to use them,” explains Nathalie Deboel. ‘The constant pursuit of bigger and better is an endless cycle. It may seem like an overwhelming challenge, but living a more minimal lifestyle helps us listen better to our true needs and values. It creates space in our home, simplifies our lives and creates a sense of peace. This means we can become more flexible with our time, have more energy and be more productive.
Joshua Hook agrees: “In the west, a lot of people have become rich and have accumulated a lot of things, but still feel unhappy. They bought the lie that being rich and having lots of stuff would lead to happiness and meaning, but it doesn’t always work. Happiness and meaning come from discovering your core values and living a life that aligns with them.
It could also help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. “There are a lot of people struggling with stress, anxiety and other mental health issues, and minimalism could potentially help with that,” says Joshua Hook. “Also, on a broader level, our current rate of consumption is not environmentally sustainable, and I think minimalism could contribute to that as well.”
By helping to create a balance inside and outside of ourselves, minimalism offers a better way to decorate our homes and live our lives.