Design 101: HOW TO PULL OFF THE MINIMALIST LOOK WITH AN INDIAN TOUCH

Minimalist Indian Homes

I have been a long time admirer of the clean, minimal look. And, I can only blame this fondness for a pared-down house on two things: one, it takes less time, effort, and money to maintain a minimal home, and two, there is no constant compulsion or confusion over what to buy to keep up with the trends and neighbors.

In short, I have discovered over the years, that a minimal home is the secret to our stress-free lives, and the most preferred place to just be. In recent months, fewer knick-knacks has also helped me in combating dust mites and other allergy related issues of my son more effectively.

If you have been a long time admirer of this look, but not sure how to tailor your home to this trend, this post will come to your rescue. Take cues from a step-by-step tour through four homes designed by Livspace to pull off this fuss-free look with finesse.

Before you can embrace this clean look, let’s clear the slate with some groundwork. Shall we?

—  Clear the surfaces. Both horizontal and vertical. Remove area rugs all over the house in every room, newspapers, bills, piles of clothes, keys, homework on the dining table, tea cups on the side tables etc. Take off artwork, paintings, carpets. It’s a clean canvas now. You’ll be surprised by the clarity a physically empty space brings to the mind.

— Make a note of the essentials as we traverse through every room below, and just retain those.

INVEST IN SLEEK FURNITURE

A minimal home transcends trends when you invest in a few, high-quality pieces of furniture, furnishings, and artifacts.

I find Mumbai homes embracing the minimalist trend with open arms. Blame it on the lack of space. This contemporary living room belongs to the Rawals in Mumbai.  This predominantly white space breaks the monotony by mixing disparate pieces of furniture that do not look out of place as the grey color scheme ties them together.

The grey button tufted couch is one piece of comfortable seating option to sink yourself in for watching the TV, while the sleek wooden bench is good for seating when you have guests over. My eyes keep wandering over to that curvy side table. How about you?

It’s important to not introduce too many finishes in a given space. For instance, the smooth polyurethane finish of the coffee table is carried over to the TV unit as well.

Minimalist Indian home

A minimal living room

A minimalist contemporary indian living room

Takeaway #1:

Focus on furniture and underplay everything else. Do you notice the living room is devoid of any artwork allowing the white walls to act as a perfect backdrop? There is also no carpet or rug. These are the key tenets of a minimalist look. Having said that, one abstract, modern artwork on the wall behind the sofa wouldn’t have hurt the look much.

INTRODUCE POPS OF COLOR & TEXTURES

Minimalism does not mean you should be color-averse. But, choose your colors wisely in conservative measures.

This sprawling 2,000 sq.ft home of Siddharth Kothari in South Mumbai is another exemplary case of style, simplicity and sophistication.

This living room is again an amalgamation of multiple seating options from button tufted sofas to tan leather swivel chairs and a day bed. The varied seating arrangement comes in handy when you are entertaining often like the Kotharis. The highlight, however, of this home is the exposed brick wall in white. It accentuates the tall ceiling and the flood of light streaming in through the large windows. The rustic texture against an otherwise contemporary room works beautifully.

 

A minimalist living room in Mumbai

Smart seating an storage for a minimalist living room

Takeaway #2:

Introduce colour in small doses whether it is from an abstract painting or cushions.

WORK WITH A NEUTRAL CANVAS

There is no exception to this basic rule of minimalist interiors: create a neutral canvas. 

In simple words, work with a base neutral color for the walls such as white and its derivatives such as beige or off-white. The reason behind this is neutral colors don’t grow on you with time and you don’t tire easily. For instance, I have a mint green accent wall in my bedroom that had a sense of calm and tropical feel to it initially. Now, after two years, I’m aching to repaint it.

With a neutral color, you can change the wall art or soft furnishing for a refreshing feel.

These bedrooms are dressed in whites and greys. The gallery walls do the trick of elevating them from boring to elegant.

A minimalist bedroom

Colors for a minimalist bedroom

Takeaway #3

Neutral colors give enough room to experiment without breaking the bank. A sense of peace prevails with subdued colors around you. There is no rush, no gloom, and no room for error.

BUY A FEW QUALITY ACCENT PIECES

Make every piece that comes into your home count.

This is the living cum dining of Fayyaz Hussain and his wife Deepti Srivastava. Their relaxed and functional 1,463 sq.ft home in Gurgaon is just that – practical and fuss-free. What stands out for me is the cluster of industrial pendants and a living area that is dotted with their travel finds.  I also love the use of this distressed cabinet for crockery instead of a mundane smooth finish one.  A perfect example where form and function are in harmony.

Lighting, artifacts and furniture for a minimalist room

Rustic and distressed furniture for a minimalist dining room

Takeaway #4

Minimalism does not mean cheap or bargain hunting all the time. Make sure the few pieces you invest in stand the test of time. You can give the room a luxurious feel with just that one painting,  a piece of rustic furniture, a classy pendant lamp, or a statement wall clock.

CREATE JUST ENOUGH STORAGE

Minimal spaces do not imply minimal storage.

Minimal spaces are often confused with less storage. Create just enough storage for your needs like this home in Bengaluru. Keep them out of sight or buy stylish pieces like the cabinet above.

You see, when we were in the process of designing the kitchen for our home, my interior designer advised against loft space. I reluctantly relented then, but can’t thank her enough now. I reckon all that loft space would have been gobbled up by cartons stuffed with vessels and assorted ladles that I wouldn’t have used until we were ready to move again.

Yes, random stuff has a way of sneaking into all those unused drawers and shelves. And one trend, that I see now is to place floating shelves in every nook and cranny. They look sleek but are not minimal in any way.

Kitchen storage and artifacts for a minimalist home

Bangalore

Bangalore home

Takeaway #5:

Do not skimp on storage but do not go overboard either.

The mantra to keeping a minimal home clutter-free is — “Do not shop impulsively.” Exercise restraint, and ask yourself, ” do I really need this item?” Unless something goes out, nothing comes in.