The freedom of minimalist living
The dream of freedom and independence is reflected in our society particularly clearly in minimalist furnishing. Scandinavian countries have made a strong contribution to this trend. Famous Danish designers, Swedish furniture stores and Asian culture have been pioneers in the massive spread of minimalist furniture, which deliberately sets itself apart from the "cozy parlor" of the last century. Minimalism is an expression of an independent way of life, freeing oneself from all that is superfluous and from ballast.
What does this mean for each individual? While there is a general definition of the term "minimalism" as the "restriction to the most necessary", this quickly makes it clear that it has its limitations. What does "the bare minimum" mean to you or your neighbor? Ultimately, you yourself will individually define what is important and necessary for you - and what is ballast. And your neighbor will certainly have a different idea of what is important than you do. But this is not a disadvantage, on the contrary, it is a great opportunity to find your own personal style of minimalist living. As different as the different origins of minimalism, so different are its manifestations. Welcome to the world of minimalist living.
The beginnings of minimalist living
Again and again in history, there have been strongly controversial tendencies in art and culture. For example, the extremely archaic, structural Romanesque period was followed by the Gothic era. More and more decoration finally culminated about three centuries later in the rampant Rococo, which was hard to beat for ornamentation. A little later, with the development of Classicism, this led to a stark departure from decoration and a return to classical, simple forms. At the turn of the century in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries, historicism and art nouveau brought decorative and floral forms into play once again, respectively. Finally, the 1920s are considered the birth of modern architecture and minimalism.
Pioneers such as Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier had a decisive influence on the architecture of an entire era, which still serves as a guideline for minimalist living today. The Bauhaus can look back on a good one hundred years of history and has lost nothing of its current importance for modernity. If you want to furnish your home in a minimalist way, you will find a rich source of inspiration in the design icons of the Bauhaus.
What does a minimalist apartment look like?
You can recognize a minimalist apartment at first glance by its clean lines and ample space between individual pieces of furniture. Courage to use empty wall spaces, very few, selected pieces of art and solitary furniture characterize minimalist living. Predominantly light colors create a sense of calm and order. The various shades of white and gray flow into each other and visually enlarge the space. The few minimalist furniture are stylishly combined with each other and give a feeling of space and simplicity.
However, this concept should not be confused with uncomfortableness. A barren sofa without cushions in front of bright white concrete walls can quickly cause an uncomfortable feeling of a sterile office atmosphere. Instead, in a successful concept for minimalist furnishing, matching blankets, pillows and a few selected decorative elements create an inviting ambience. In the best case, the unobtrusive lighting coordinated with the minimalist apartment supports this effect.
Since minimalist furnishing in the living room and other rooms is based on reduction to the essentials, special emphasis should be placed on the high quality of the individual pieces of furniture, pictures and decorative objects. Minimalist furniture and pictures are given much more free space than other furnishing styles. Conversely, this means that they stand out much more and become the focal point than in conventional furnishing concepts. Therefore, every little mistake or imperfection immediately catches the eye. A concept worked out by experts turns the minimalist flat into a total work of art in which every element, be it a piece of furniture or a picture, has its important function and justification. In an ideal minimalist flat, neither a piece of furniture nor a picture can be added or removed without the overall impression suffering.
What does minimalist living mean for you and your environment?
The desire for a sustainable lifestyle that is as CO2-neutral as possible has had a major impact on our philosophy of life in recent years. A conscious, environmentally friendly lifestyle is increasingly asserting itself against the consumer behavior that is getting out of hand with cheap products from the Far East. This is based in particular on the liberation from unnecessary ballast and the acquisition of a few, long-lasting objects that do not become "uncool" after a short time and are replaced by new, short-lived goods.
Minimalist living is based on the philosophy of consistent reduction, which has its origins in the thinking of the founders of the already mentioned Bauhaus in Dessau. Reduced and ballast-free living means for yourself a liberation from everything superfluous, spiritual freedom and for the environment a very valuable contribution.
What interior design styles are currently in vogue besides minimalist living?
Of course, in addition to minimalist living, there are other styles of interior design, which are contemporary and can be perfectly combined with new and old buildings. In fact, a diverse world of living styles opens up to you, allowing you to create your individual home. Our interior design styles overview will help you better find your way around.
Many of the most popular furnishing styles of our time are based on modern design and are an ideal match for the current formal language of contemporary architecture. But minimalist furniture integrates just as perfectly into a stylishly renovated old building. This is the great advantage of clear forms typical of minimalist furnishing: they harmonize with both old and new.
Minimalism, founded in the Bauhaus, was significantly influenced by the Dutch De Sttijl movement. Since the 1930s, designers such as Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen also developed a similar style in Scandinavia, which has minimalist features. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Scandinavian style is very appropriate and can be well integrated into a minimalist home.
Very related to minimalist living is the modern style. Simple, straightforward and functional - this is how to characterize this style of interior design, which gradually conquered the world since about 1900. It was the answer to the sometimes excessive ornamentation of past times. Its ideological basis originally lay in the move away from a hierarchically structured society to an age characterized by social reform. Purposeful and straightforward, the modern style today already presents itself as an absolutely timeless classic.
Trends outside Europe
Other continents have also greatly influenced our interior design in recent years. A great similarity to the Scandinavian style with its clean lines and shapes is the traditional Japanese style, which has always advocated minimalist living. This finds its contemporary continuation in modern Japanese architecture and in current Asian furniture design. The fusion of the cool design of Scandinavia with the reduced aesthetics of Japan in the Japandi style is fully in trend. In this style, principles of Zen and Feng Shui are elegantly implemented. In terms of color, the Japandi is based on the bright and fresh hues of the North in elegant combination with warm wood tones of Asian living culture.
In contrast, a style of living based on the aesthetics of old factory buildings since the nineties has a completely different origin. The Industrial style, has its roots in the poor industrial districts of the USA. This style uses the formal language of former factory buildings and quickly spread throughout Europe in the typical port regions of London and Hamburg. Nowadays, "loft-style living" is one of the most popular trends in interior design.
Minimalist living with minimalist furniture
How do you furnish a minimalist apartment in the best possible way? When choosing the right minimalist furniture, you should pay attention to careful planning. Our interior designers have a sure hand in creating a coherent overall concept. Minimalist furnishing does not mean spreading meager shelves made of the simplest materials throughout your apartment. On the contrary, true minimalist furniture is characterized by its excellent workmanship and high-quality combination of materials. Noble materials such as solid wood, stainless steel and crystal glass predominate. Chipboard, as used in the mass-produced collections of large furniture chains, you will find at Upscale only in exceptional cases.
In other words, minimalist furnishing has nothing to do with the reduction of materials, but rather with the reduction to a few, particularly select minimalist pieces of furniture. Some describe this with the words: "class instead of mass".
We invite you to find your individual style in our Upscale Style Quiz. Let us surprise you, which interior type you are!