Warm wood, a carpet and a cuddly sofa: Cosy Minimalism will be the interior trend of 2020. Photo: Woodnotes
Cosiness continues to be on tend. At the same time, however, our homes are starting to take on a more minimalist look again – and being able to tidy decorative items and other objects away plays an important role in that. It’s essential to choose furniture that makes for clutter-free spaces. But because we want our homes to be cosy too, the latest take on minimalism is warmer and less rigid than fans of a puristic Bauhaus style might like. So the "cosy minimalism" will be one of the top trends in the interiors season 2020.
Interior moments – minimalist styling for maximum effect
An hour by the stove, luxuriating in its warmth as the firelight dances on the wall, a snug, natural wool throw casually draped over your favourite chair, or perhaps just a row of spontaneously rearranged books – it’s personal interior moments like this that make a house feel like home.
Cosiness and a simple furnishing style are by no means mutually exclusive, as Scandinavian design and lifestyle have been proving for as long as anyone can remember. The much-hyped “hygge” principle that’s become so popular in recent years is the perfect antidote to the winter blues: during the long dark days of winter, the interior has to emanate a cave-like sense of snugness while nevertheless being sufficiently weatherproof to survive the comings and goings of its outdoor-loving occupants. Pragmatic and functional, cosy and stylish – the Scandinavian ideal has established itself as an attractive design approach in the rest of the world too. All it needs is a dash of elegance, and voilà – the “cosy minimalism” look is complete.
Simplicity meets elegance
Reduced but comfortable: the very personal interior moment in a feel-good home. Photo: Müller Möbelwerkstätten
In fact, minimalism isn’t actually a style at all, it’s a design principle that can be applied to various styles. As compared to e.g. purist style elements, minimalism is more subtle, the materials are used in more delicate thicknesses and the furniture’s overall character is more refined. Whereas purism displays every functional element on the outside, minimalism is quite happy for a piece of furniture’s less attractive aspects to be hidden out of sight. Unless they’re an element of the design in their own right, things like handles, fittings, joins or seams are often concealed. What’s more, minimalist design often succeeds in showing classic products in a whole new light by coming up with unusual solutions for their form.
By paring the design down as much as possible and focusing on its essence, minimalism pursues the aesthetic goal of producing a functional and visual result characterised by elegance, an economic use of materials and concentration of form. The motto “less is more” originates from an aesthetic tenet that’s familiar in Asian cultures too – namely that omission often results in greater expressiveness because there’s nothing superfluous to distract from the “idea”. The corresponding adjective – minimalist – is often used as a synonym for “clear”, “simple” or “understated”. Minimalist architecture and design typically avoid any hint of overload, the use of primary colours (red, yellow, green, blue) and primary geometric shapes (e.g. circle, square, triangle), as well as small-scale implementations of a large-scale design language. At the same time, smooth surfaces dominate and contrasts are used sparingly so as to accentuate the homogeneous feel of the space or object.
In search of the right balance
Even a miminalistic interior can create cosiness. Photo: Punt
The new style is simple; it uses minimalist forms without being cold and is decorative without getting bogged down in the details. This well-balanced and modern mix needs the right setting: furniture that falls into line with the architecture and doesn’t blatantly stand out as an independent volume is ideal and brings a sense of calm to the interior. First and foremost, it should avoid drawing attention to itself and provide all the functions required – i.e. by serving as storage space or a place to put the stereo, a vase of flowers, a laptop or anything else that might be needed. Then it provides the perfect backdrop for showing off special pieces and objects, such as a particularly attractive cabinet, a picture, an armchair or a sculptural lamp. In a nutshell, it’s all about reduction, omission and order – but without neglecting practical factors or everyday considerations. On closer inspection, there’s often a multitude of details behind the clear lines and simplicity of the design – details that give the products from the new on-trend labels that special something.
Minimalism and cosiness aren’t mutually exclusive
Minimalism and cosiness are by no means mutually exclusive, as is evident from the traditional interior styles of Scandinavia or Japan. It all comes down to combining clear lines with the right colours and cosy materials. If you opt for wood and warm hues – and there are plenty of warm shades of white and grey to choose from – and don’t ruin the impression of lightness with tons of “unnecessary” decorative items, you’re well on the way to a minimalist and cosy interior. Then all you need is the right lighting to add the finishing touches. Nowadays there’s a great selection of concealed light sources that can be hidden away behind mouldings or integrated into the ceiling. When it comes to conjuring up a cosy atmosphere, a wall painted in warm hues and indirectly lit with dimmable spots beats any conventional lamp hands down. But at the end of the day, even the most perfectly designed minimalist interior will never generate a cosy feel if you don’t bring it to life with your own personal style.