If you’re on a tight budget and have little cash to spare, minimalism may seem like the perfect solution to a stylish home. You could sell most of your furniture and possessions, make a little money and have a home that is spartan but chic. Sadly, it’s not quite as straightforward as that. If you take this course of action, your home will simply look as though you were hard up and had to sell loads of stuff, leaving it half empty and a bit forlorn. The essence of the minimalist look is a) to have zero clutter and b) for the pieces you do have out to be stylish and cohesive. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture the look on a budget; you just need to be a bit clever at how you go about it.
Clearing the space
The first task is to declutter. There are reams of how to guides, tips, and step-by-step instructions online and in books, so you won’t have any problem finding out how to do it. What you may find more difficult is being ruthless with your possessions. There is a little of the hoarder in most of us, hanging on to objects that have no value other than the sentimental, and possessions we haven’t used for years but cling onto in case they come in handy. If you find parting with such things a real wrench, you have two possible courses of action. You could take the path of getting to the root of why you feel this way, and work on any insecurities that make you want to hang on to everything. Or you could decide that you want to keep your possessions and forget about minimalism. Remember, no-one is forcing you to make these changes, so it’s up to you to decide what is most important to you.
Looking at what you have left
Once you’ve cleared away everything and can see all the furniture properly, you can then decide what pieces are appropriate for your new design, and what is just taking up space for no good reason. Think about what you want out of your space in each room and take out anything that is not contributing in a practical or aesthetic way. When you are down to your final choice of pieces to keep, you need to look at how you can arrange them to best effect, and see what you need to add in to complete the look. There’s no shortage of ideas and expert advice available, so have a browse for inspiration and tips on how to make the minimalist look work for you. Look at your color scheme too. White may be a mainstay of minimalist design, but it’s your space and your rules. If your existing furniture wouldn’t suit a white backdrop, choose a color that will complement or contrast with what you have instead of sticking rigidly to white and being disappointed with the finished appearance.
Reusing and repurposing
Before you get rid of all the bits and pieces you have left over, see if there is anything you can re-use. One good idea is to bring all your decorative items together and see how they would work in different combinations and places. You might find that something you had tucked away upstairs makes a perfect statement in your living room now you have redesigned it. If you have a tired old gift box in the bathroom full of seashell soaps and faded tissue paper, open it up and see if there is a nice jar or container, beads, a ceramic starfish, or anything that would look good on its own. Being minimalist doesn’t mean being bare and uninteresting, and you can adapt the minimalist principles to suit your own tastes too.
It’s a term that was on everyone’s lips not long ago, and although interest in it may have peaked, like most trends there is still some life left in the idea. For your room on a budget, rather than having to buy new furniture, take a look at what you have and see if you could do something to it that would freshen it up and make it work in the new layout. Sometimes a coat of paint or varnish can bring a boring dresser or bookshelf back to life, and it’s more economical to buy a tin of paint than a whole new piece of furniture. If you do need to purchase any new pieces, have a look round thrift stores and second-hand dealers to see if they have anything that you could use, either as it is or with a bit of decoration. An old kitchen chair could be transformed with a few coats of white paint and a new seat cushion.
The possessions you left out in the cold
Now you’ve sorted all the clutter, taken away everything that doesn’t fit with the new design and can’t be re-used, you’ll be left with the piles of possessions and furniture that you no longer want. Disposing of them can be a headache, but there are several approaches you could try to make it less of a chore. If you haven’t got the time or energy right now, or the amount of stuff to be sorted is overwhelming, you could place everything in storage for a few months until you get a chance to deal with it. This is only viable if you have the funds to pay rent of course, but units can be surprisingly cheap if you shop around. If you just want rid of everything you could donate the whole lot to charity; they would appreciate the donation, and you wouldn’t have to worry about sorting anything out. If you want to go for either of these options, you need to get a quote from some local moving companies who could come in and take everything in one go for you.
There’s no reason why you can’t embrace the concept of minimalism with only a limited budget. Look at what you’ve got, find out about what makes the concept work and get rid of the things that are crowding your shelves and spoiling your lines. Adapt the philosophy to suit your own taste and funds, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a simply and tastefully decorated space.