Just like fashion, home design and interior trends are dominated by factors that are usually beyond our control. A great example of that is the ongoing pandemic. While 2020 fundamentally changed our relationship with our homes, 2021, due to the resurgence of the health crisis, cemented them as a place of retreat with wellness, mindfulness and multi-functionality at its core.
We will see the impact of this disruption in consumer behaviour across segments for decades to come. For now, minimalism continues to be a reigning trend as people move to a less-cluttered life to make it easy to focus on day-to-day chores and needs.
Rise of minimalism
From glamour and maximalism to Art Deco to vintage affair, interior design has seen it all over the last century. The minimalist vibe can be attributed to the 1990s, which brought with itself toned-down styles after the fun-filled and over the top 1980s.
White kitchen, big windows and natural light became a fashion statement. The decade also saw the rising influence of Japanese accents leading to a clean and uncluttered look, something which is back with a vengeance again.
The inside counts
With smaller houses and ever decreasing spaces, minimalist interiors have been one of the most requested themes we have seen in recent times, especially in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Further, pre-pandemic, because of a 24x7 lifestyle, people had less to no time to maintain homes. This led to an increased demand for space which required lesser maintenance while designed to meet the needs of the family/individuals.
Interestingly, even in the pandemic, with an unprecedented amount of time spent at home, people still don't have a lot of time to maintain homes. The sheer time consumed while balancing work-from-home and the endless chores at home made it difficult to maintain a pristine home. Hence, clean, uncluttered and open spaces leading to less distraction with multi-functionality and stylish storage have been the top ask in many of the homes designed in 2020 and 2021.
Given the power of digital platforms like Pinterest, minimalistic designs have become popular and accessible far beyond metros. These platforms have opened for homeowners across regions a plethora of design and decor options and helped develop a taste for minimal designs. For homeowners in metro cities, it has become a fundamental need due to less space. They want every inch of the space to be used while keeping the noise in the design low and space clutter-free. On the other hand, for non-metro homeowners, it's a novel style statement and they are more daring when it comes to colour play. That said, the lines are blurring because many people shifted to their hometowns amid lockdowns. Both designers and consumers are driving this recent shift towards minimalism in non-metro cities.
Building a minimalist space
For years, a natural and neutral colour palette, less furniture, open spaces and an abundance of natural light defined minimalism. However, as design themes evolved, the concept of minimalism has advanced as well.
Eliminating clutter and extraneous objects is also a hallmark of minimalist interior design. More than simple and sparse decoration, it's now a lifestyle revolving around decluttering. A minimalist home by definition requires less maintenance, it's not just a design style, it's also a way of living. It starts with decluttering and then choosing fewer pieces, each with a purpose, leading to less stuff to be maintained. Here’s how you can build the minimalist yet meaningful space of your dreams:
• Furniture: As our home becomes the centre for all things, people today need multi-functional spaces. This is the philosophy you should follow when choosing all your furniture. Pick or build furniture that is simple, elegant yet has hidden storage solutions
• Colour palette: Keeping colour combinations to a minimum further enhances the serene and balanced vibe. Pops of colour, monochromatic hues of any colour, and layers of textures to add your personality but remember to balance it out with warm and neutral tones to keep it from becoming overwhelming
• Lighting: Lighting plays a big role in cementing the minimal character. Instead of using heavy crystal chandeliers or ornate lighting, simpler but bolder forms can be used in a minimal design. Lights with dimmers or on automation are a big trend today. Ensure you use windows around your house to make the best use of natural light
• Kitchen: It's quite understandable if you are scared of a white kitchen concept for an Indian home. Using a dark monochrome colour with accent accessories and furnishings is quite a trend and will remain so in 2022. Another tip: do away with open shelves. Use closed or concealed storage to reduce distraction. Even maintenance time is less, as it is all neatly tucked away and out of sight
• Hide in plain sight: Hide services well such as air conditioners, loose wirings, rearrange switchboards to align with furniture
• Decor and furnishings: Keep surfaces clear and empty, don't fill every surface up with artefacts. Remember, we want to build a clutter free space that’s easy to maintain.
Modularity is a big part of minimalist design and often goes unnoticed. For a healthy, less chaotic, and aesthetically peaceful home, a minimalist designed space could be your one-stop solution.
Payal Bagzai is Livspace’s head of the design.