What Minimal Looks Like to Me
So, you want to get minimal but don't want cookie cutter. It's great to be inspired by what's out there, but don't let it control your decisions.
I've got some tips to get you to your level of minimalism, without losing what makes you special in the process. And no, you won't find "paint it white & throw everything away" here.
Minimal, to me, means being surrounded by things you love, and giving each item its own stage. That's the important part.
Elevate the things you love
Frame your art. Show off your interests. What you love should be displayed proudly and given room to breathe. The key here is to be selective. I don't believe things should just be pretty. Things should also evoke strong (positive imo) emotions. They should conjure wonderful memories. Surround yourself with lovely things. These special, emotional, bring-a-sparkle-to-your-eye items make your home uniquely yours. To me, the highest compliment of my home is "It's so you!"
Minimal doesn't have to mean white
Minimal often gets lumped in with all white or neutral rooms. But that's not how it has to be! Thinking that there's only one way to be "minimal" is just bad design. If you love color, or have a bright yellow rug, or a giant splatter paint canvas, or a pink loveseat. OWN those things. Don't try to fit someone else's definition of minimal. My minimal is deep wood grains, saturated blues, tons of texture, and some quirky touches.
Have something custom made
It can be as simple as a piece of art, or as elaborate as a bed frame, but having someone make something just for you, adds a whole new level of personality. For me, it meant painting over some classic "thrift store" art, and building a bar that perfectly fit my space. For you it could be commissioning that artist you love to do a painting of your cat. Or trading the guy with the wood-shop, some homemade pies for a custom sideboard. (ok, it may take more than a few pies, but you get the gist). Custom pieces are about building relationships and about being apart of a larger community.
Spend that money
Yeah, minimal style can save you money. And yeah, having fewer things generally costs less. But don't be afraid to spend money. I won't say "invest in quality" because everyone else will tell you that. I'll say, "invest in things you cannot live without" Maybe its a beat-up table you found in a thrift shop, but if it stops you in your tracks, buy the damn thing and get it refinished! Maybe its a $5,000, 7 ft tall, copper and steel sculpture, that makes you want to laugh and cry and scream all at the same time. Save, save, save. Then have all those emotions again when you can't figure out how to get it on your property. I promise. It's worth it.
Minimal is whatever it means to you
Ultimately, it's all up to you. If your minimal is just one less book on the shelf, then high five girl. If it means not owning anything unless it's gray or blue, then more power to you. But at the end of the day, the only person that has to live in that space is you. Follow your gut. Get things you can't take your eyes off of. And put your value in love over labels.