Here are smart ways to harmoniously combine the minimalist ethos with Indian aesthetics and lifestyles
Minimalism has long been the mantra for those who yearn for simple, basic spaces with clean lines, pared-down forms and no-frills design. Minimalism isn’t just a design style, ‘Less is more’ is a way of life that celebrates a simple, clutter-free existence. This can sometimes be at odds with traditional Indian design, where ornamentation and opulence are the norm. As a consequence, minimalist spaces are often perceived as cold, sterile and unwelcoming. However, it’s possible to fuse both of these aesthetics. With some tweaks and creative thinking, you can have a home that’s the perfect blend of modern minimalism and Indian sensibilities.
Choose earthy neutral schemes
The all-white colour theme by Building Designs is a staple of minimalist design. However, this is sometimes impractical in the Indian scenario, where the climate and dust can create maintenance issues.
Choose neutrals like browns, greys and beiges, which are easier to maintain. These colours are also popularly used in minimalist interiors, since they are visually soothing.
Keep your furniture and decor down to essentials. Allow for bare walls and floors wherever possible. Avoid layering and wall-to-wall carpeting as much as possible. If your room feels too spartan, use symmetrical arrangements to create a focal point. Studies have found that most people prefer symmetrical compositions, since they create a natural, obvious sense of balance. A pair of lights or small side tables in this space by SPASM completes the arrangement without adding too much clutter.
Use colour for focal elements
Colour and vibrancy are synonymous with Indian design. You don’t have to completely do away with colour for a minimalist home; the key is to use it as an accent. A simple way to do this is to pick dark colours or saturated neutrals for your walls and floors, and add colour in your soft furnishings as done here in another space by SPASM. A colourful piece of traditional Indian art in a neutral setting is a great way to make a statement.
Indian-style interiors are usually complex, with a variety of colours and finishes. For a more minimalist approach, pick one or two low-key colours for your walls, floor and ceiling like it has been done here by Dipen Gada & Associates. You can then accessorise with a careful selection of one or two decor elements like mirrors, paintings, wall hangings, decals, rugs, and so on.
Lose the heavy wooden showcase
Minimalism is all about doing away with excess, unnecessary furniture pieces. The large showcase or display unit here in this home designed by Benny Kuriakose is a staple in urban Indian homes and often takes up a lot of space. Wall niches are a more subtle alternative to display a small number of collectibles that you treasure.
Embrace bare walls
Plain walls can seem dull in the Indian context, but when done right, this can create a wonderfully serene effect like in this room designed by Fulcrum Studio. Pick a single statement piece for a focal point and leave the rest of the walls bare. Choosing smaller sized figurines is also a good way to add character without overwhelming the room. If you’re using multiple pieces, space them apart to allow your walls to breathe.
Upgrade your wooden furniture
Wooden furniture is a hallmark of Indian interior design and is a must-have in almost every Indian home. Minimalism favours light furniture with clean-cut, contemporary lines. Instead of going with traditional Indian furniture (which is usually heavy, imposing and elaborately carved), choose streamlined wooden furniture with minimal or no decoration. This will bring in a sleek, minimalist spin to your interiors like it achieves here in this space by Architecture Brio.
When you can’t completely banish clutter, conceal it. For clutter-intensive areas, like your kitchen, replace open shelving or glass doors with opaque shutters with hidden handles like it’s been done here by Design Cafe. For a seamless look, match the colour of your cabinets with that of the walls and ceiling
Use glass in practical ways
Glass is a popular material in contemporary minimalist style. However, this a material that needs to be used carefully in the Indian context. Large clear glass panels for doors and windows do away with privacy and also let in heat. Restrict glass to internal use in table tops, partitions or railings on your staircases. This will bring an airy, floating quality to your spaces. In this room by Architecture Continuous pairing glass with light-hued woods combines visual lightness with warmth.