When I moved from a place that looked like a Victorian pawn shop to a clean-lined 1960s house, it was the chance to go minimal; calm, considered, classy. The result? Cold, uninteresting and clearly lacking. Where did I go wrong?
"Minimalism is simplicity," says George Clarke, architect and Ideal Home Show ambassador. "It is quality not quantity; design stripped to its most fundamental features; maximising your living space so that your home doesn't look cluttered; it is calming."
Warmth softens sparsity – a sofa full of velvets and fake furs, say, in an industrial setting. "Minimalism's power," says Alan Hughes of the Inchbald School of Design, "is based on juxtaposition: light against shadow, wool against leather, reflective against matte."
Clear clutter to a box under the stairs. Six months later, charity-shop anything you haven't missed. And try clutterclinic.co.uk.
Shine a light
"Clever feature lighting – say, low-level in halls or on stairs – can turn a space into an extraordinary piece of architecture," says George Clarke. Visual artist Claire Heafford, of thepaperedparlour.co.uk, lights her workshop with salvaged chandeliers (from archsource.co.uk). "They scatter kaleidoscopic patterns across bare walls," she says, "without extra ornamentation."
To enhance a sense of space, Occa-Home's Kate Mooney suggests dual-purpose furniture (such as decorative storage trunks), floor-to-ceiling mirrors and keeping room corners free of clutter.
I like the sentiment Kelly Hoppen expresses in her book Close Up (Quadrille, £14.99): "A room that is over-disciplined is in danger of becoming boring."
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