An image of a light interior space with a table, chairs, and a plant.


A steady pan across an almost empty room. We watch and wait. Lo-fi background music over a wooden floor. Ikea shelving; one wooden chair; three self-improvement books on a small table. Black coffee poured into an unbranded mug.

The minimalist aesthetic has become something of a parody of itself. Full of clean wooden surfaces, the occasional throw or pillow, and copious quantities of black coffee.

It’s the age-old tree falling in a forest question, except, if you’re a minimalist living in a carpeted apartment, does anyone even care? What if your furniture doesn’t match and isn’t perfectly scuff-free? What about your two shelves of books, an assorted collection from years of reading?

We’re all guilty of feeling that pressure, of throwing or donating everything, only to buy back the perfect aesthetic. At the heart of minimalism, though, is the concept that we can be happy in the present with only the essential things, and that buying more isn’t the solution to our problems.

Any creation of a collective aesthetic is, inevitably, an invitation to buy more in order to make our lives match that of our collective. But even the minimalist aesthetic works in trends, fluctuating between light and dark woods, between monochrome and neutral, earthy, colour schemes.

Minimalism doesn’t only look like matching surfaces, wooden flooring, and three books. For some people it looks like old handed down pieces of furniture, sports equipment, guitars, photo albums.

When you’re clearing out your things, don’t reach for an aesthetic. Reach for some sense of calm and happiness with what you own. Be able to wake up and love everything in your immediate surroundings. The minimalist aesthetic is a paradox, an invitation of sorts, to buy more in order to have the right ‘look’ of less.

What items are ideal for you? What’s your personal aesthetic preference?

Featured image: Catherine Augustin via Pexels.


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