We often hear remarks like “I like modern, I like minimal, but I’m afraid of it looking too cold or sterile.”
The truth is, these two aesthetics don’t have to be one and the same. You can keep things minimal, but it can still have warm colors, wood tones, and softer elements. If you start bringing in natural elements like wood, stone, plants and so on, it will definitely warm it up, even if there aren’t 100 knick-knacks on your counter. Truthfully, it’s going to look much better because you will be able to feature and appreciate the things that are there.
Creating Texture And Warmth In A Minimalist Environment
Wood grain, for instance, doesn’t always give you a straight line. Even stone will have some natural staining and texture to it that softens it up.
An example of a job where a client asked for a minimalist design is the Thomas Patterson project. It was almost a Swedish-style design, in the end.
They bought this big, traditionally-styled house, but ironically, they hate traditional-styled things. They wanted it to be clean and bright with sharp edges, but it was in the envelope of this traditional house, which was not simple by any stretch.
What we gave them was simple, plain, blonde wood cabinets with a shaker door style. The countertop was white, but it had some simple engravings on it, giving it a natural texture. The woods we used were the same, and that added a natural texture. The backsplash was back-painted glass in a sage-green color.
The rest of it was bright and white; very minimalist, very simple. But, when you look at the pictures of it, it’s quite warm and soft-feeling, even though everything is clean-edged, sharp, and glossy.
A Splash Of Color Adds Pop
The simplicity of it all allowed them to add a pop of color in the backsplash and it looked very natural. Everything else was so neutral, and the backsplash really is not a bright color, but when you see it against the rest of the décor, it’s what your eye goes to. It’s green, it’s shiny, and it’s different. There’s no grout line. It’s just a block of green glass – very sleek and minimal, but still warm and inviting.
Stained Concrete Floors Add Warmth
A lot of people love a concrete floor because it has visual texture. It is super minimalist and modern, but then you stain it, and it brings out all these natural colors in the concrete, and that gives it a whole different feel. It’s not cold, and it’s not uncomfortable, it’s just textured, which adds depth.
Essentially, minimal design doesn’t have to hide everything. Your functional items, utensils, that sort of thing – they’re not decoration, they’re not extraneous, so they fit into the minimal vibe. In a sense, those things can become your décor.
For instance, your mixer, a set of bowls, your coffee maker. You can still have all those things, and it’s still going to look minimal. If you have nothing on the counter, nothing displayed, it will just look like nobody lives there.
To achieve this look, you can choose small appliances and functional items that are beautifully designed, then they become the beautiful, functional artwork in the room. If it’s going to be visible, it might as well look great!
Change Can Be Affordable
Getting that minimal look doesn’t have to cost a lot, either. You can pretty much have the same kitchen layout, but with a couple of little tweaks and well-placed functional objects, you can make it look completely different – all without changing the main features of the room at all.
Say you wanted a more industrial kind of look. One mistake people make is they go out and buy all sorts of industrial-looking items. But not everything has to have a pulley, not everything has to have to be made of iron or be matte black. You can still make that statement without every single thing having to be pigeon-holed into the industrial category.
For instance, it could be your lights, your hardware, and your faucets, but the backdrop of your cabinets and countertops could stay pretty much the same. Just a few little tweaks and you’ve got a whole new look without having to rebuild the kitchen from scratch.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.