Trend alert: warm minimalism
Normally when we think of minimalism, we imagine diaphanous spaces, with bare white walls, sparse furniture and almost non-existent decoration that often conveys an atmosphere that is a little… cold. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. In fact, one of the trends that is coming on strong and promises to take 2022 by storm is warm minimalism. Does that sound a bit contradictory to you? We assure you that it is not.
We are going to analyse what its characteristics are, what differentiates it and how to create a space in which this new trend predominates. But first things first, what exactly is minimalism and how does it apply to interior design and decoration?
What is minimalist style in interiors?
Minimalism is characterised by the motto “less is more”, coined by the architect Mies van der Rohe. It is a philosophy in which everything tends to be reduced to the bare essentials and to get rid of any excess elements. When we transfer this spirit to architecture and interior design, it gives rise to open, ample spaces, with a tendency towards diaphanousness and emptiness, in which structures are reduced to only the necessary elements. Minimalism is a trend that uses open plan design to create a sense of freedom and has also been heavily influenced by traditional Japanese design.
Minimalism also involves creating simple and orderly spaces, with clean lines and a very reduced colour palette. There is a strong emphasis on order because it brings visual calm. White usually takes centre stage, sometimes combined with beiges or greys, and colour is usually only used as an accent.
Another defining factor of minimalism is its sparse ornamentation, reduced to a few well-chosen elements that take centre stage, such as a single painting on the wall. In the original minimalist style, furniture and accessories are chosen for their functionality, with smooth, clean lines that emphasise the essential nature of each piece.
For all its characteristics, minimalism is often associated with environments that convey a sense of coldness. However, it is possible to make a minimalist space warm and welcoming. This is what warm minimalism seeks: to combine the simplicity and calm of the style with inputs that invite you to enjoy the space.
What is the warm minimalist decoration that is setting the trend?
These are the main keys to this new trend. Take note.
To achieve a sense of warmth, warm minimalism picks up on some of the elements of Nordic trends. For example, it makes use of natural materials and handcrafted objects with a unique character. Wood and fibres such as wicker, rattan, jute or bamboo are used to create a cosier environment. There is also room for ceramics or cement, and marble and glass are still used, but their effect is softened with natural fibres that provide warmth.
Combination of textures
To create cosy and warm atmospheres, playing with different textures is fundamental, as they provide different sensations, both visual and tactile. In warm minimalism, the love of smoothness, so characteristic of traditional minimalism, is left behind. Instead, the combination of textures, especially natural ones, is used to enrich the decoration in a simple way. However, it is important not to mix too many textures, as this can create a sense of chaos and disorder.
Textile elements are also essential to add a cosy touch to the environment, as they provide a tactile dimension of comfort. This is why warm minimalism combines different fabrics in the same room, such as linen, wool or cotton. In cushions, curtains or upholstery, textures such as embossing and small details that break up the smooth lines can be incorporated. Rugs in light colours are also one of the key elements of warm minimalism, especially during the autumn and winter months.
Use of colour
When a monochromatic colour palette is used as it is often used in minimalist designs and we want to add some warmth to it, it is important to play with its different tones to break its monotony. For example, a pure white can be softened with touches of ecru or off-white, or we can use different shades of grey to generate combinations that are relaxing. Warm minimalism also allows the introduction of details of other colours to soften the white, especially ochre, nude, earth, pastel or aqua tones. Including some details of these colours, whether in textiles or decorative elements, adds colour and warmth to a room, and does so as an accompaniment, rather than as a point of contrast, as in traditional minimalism.
Furniture with clean, strong lines can give a distinctive accent to the space. However, warm minimalism also favours curvilinear furniture and rounder shapes, as they convey a less rigid and more dynamic sensation that invites comfort. It opts for natural wood furniture, solid wood and raw wood, mainly in light tones that are visually lighter.
Enhancing natural light is key in warm minimalism, as it goes a long way to making a space feel more pleasant. The simplest option is to leave the windows bare, but if they are covered, the trend is to use light fabrics and neutral tones so that the sun and natural light can flow in. If the space has little natural light, it is necessary to make intelligent use of lighting elements.
Flowers and plants have never played an important role in traditional minimalism. However, they play an important role in warm minimalism, as they bring us closer to nature. Plants bring freshness, serenity and vitality to the atmosphere. However, it is important to use species that are not overdone. Some that fit well in this style are bamboos, ficus, potos, sansevierias, crassulas, cacti and, in general, those that are mostly leafy, although orchids, for example, can give a very elegant touch.
As you can see, warm minimalism combines the original simplicity of minimalism with some touches that help to create a warm and pleasant environment in which we want to spend time. Despite its links with the Nordic style, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is still minimalism. And, therefore, its premises are still based on simplicity, functionality and a love of empty spaces. Beauty is in the simple. Find out more about minimalism in our magazine.