Minimalist Living Room Minimalist Living Room

Here at Sheffield, when we analyze a room, we look at it in terms of the Sheffield Three Guidelines of Interior Design: function, mood and harmony.

In this room, what stands out most, and immediately, is the mood. This room emanates calm and peace; it's as tranquil as a clear, still lake on a breezeless summer afternoon. Everything about it is soothing, for two reasons: one, there is very little in the room, and two, the colors used are by their nature spare and soothing.

This is what we mean when we talk about minimalism: there simply isn't much going on here, at least at first glance. There is no floral chintz, no shelves packed with knick-knacks; there's no ornate wrought iron, no statuary, no bookshelves. We get the feeling that if there is any art on the walls that we can't see here, it is something spare.

There's no clutter, and nothing to encourage clutter. There are few surfaces to collect any clutter, and there's no way for anything to collect under that couch; you would notice immediately the smallest cat toy, stray pencil, or dime that dropped there.

This calm mood is encouraged by the way everything harmonizes.

First, the colors are well chosen: the white floor, white furniture, white curtains and white flower all work together to create a seamless backdrop, against which those colored cushions really stand out. But look closely at the color of those cushions: it isn't so much that they're bright as that the color is rich and deep and welcoming. The cushions that do have patterns share the same pattern as each other and the same tone as the solid cushions, making sure there's no clashing to upset the balance. The cushions are almost neutrals, which blend in perfectly with the white background.

To further illustrate this harmony, imagine something else in this room, a clunky television or a plaid easy chair would instantly pull you out of the mood.

In this room, the last consideration is function. This is clearly a room designed for relaxation and concentration. You could easily pick up one of those books and dive right into it, because there is little to distract you, unless of course you're distracted by the sheer simple beauty of the room.
Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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