We’ve all heard the adage “less is more”, and while it may conjure images of minimalism and efficiency, I would like to propose a different perspective when it comes to our homes…
In my experience, when “less” is done purposefully and intentionally, it doesn’t feel like being happy with less. It actually feels like having more. What we do have is more meaningful, personal, and functional — making our overall experience of home more engaging and fulfilling.
This is what I call The Simple Home, and it is the foundation behind my design philosophy and the way we bring our clients’ homes to life. The Simple Home:
- Creates more physical space
- Saves time, money, and energy
- Makes old spaces feel fresh and new
- Lifts a tangible emotional weight
- Prioritizes joy and connection
This month, I’m sharing the 5 essential elements that create The Simple Home, along with actionable advice and tools for making it your own. I can’t wait for you to apply these strategies with life-changing results. Let’s begin.
1. The Simple Home Only Includes Items You Love and Need
A couple months ago, my husband and I were sorting through our winter gear in the garage when we happened upon our old cross-country skis. The skis were well over 15 years old and covered in dust. We probably used them once or twice since we moved to Vancouver 14 years ago.
I could have made a great argument for keeping them. We already owned them. We love getting outside in the winter. If the urge struck us, we wouldn’t have to rent. In the end, we opted to sell them, and I am so glad we did. By doing so, we acknowledged that they weren’t essential and committed instead to a clutter-free garage that I’m happy to come home to each day, especially since it helped make room for my new Infa-Red Sauna that I currently can’t live without!
It’s easy to see how the clutter builds up over the years — most of us simply don’t see it as clutter. Creating a simple home means letting go of those unessential items. Here are some ideas:
- Sort through every space in your home, especially the items that tend to build up, like kitchenware, clothing, and sports equipment.
- Donate or sell items you don’t use, especially the “someday I’ll use it” items. I know it’s difficult. If you regret letting it go – which you probably won’t – you can always purchase newer ones down the road.
- Take pictures of any items you feel a strong attachment to so you can reminisce from time to time – without the physical clutter.
Do this, and not only will your home and your mind feel lighter, but the items you do keep will be more meaningful.
2. The Simple Home Includes Multi-Purpose Items
One of the greatest secrets of the Simple Home is its emphasis on items that serve multiple purposes. When a single item is functional and meaningful and beautiful, you won’t need 3 separate items to fulfill all three purposes. That goes double for items that serve more than one purpose.
As a result, rooms will feel less cluttered, more spacious, and more comfortable.
A great example could be that stunning hand-painted decorative bowl from your holiday in Spain. Using it as a fruit bowl on your kitchen island ticks several boxes: it reminds you of that trip (where orange blossoms perfumed the streets), it looks beautiful, and it keeps those apples and pears out in the open for healthy snacking. It’s personal and purposeful.
Here’s another great example:
In our clients’ Vancouver renovation, we incorporated their treasured antique chaise lounge. It needed some restoration first, so we took the opportunity to reupholster it in a similar buttery yellow and pale blue toile. The result is functional, sparks memories, and inspired the colour palette throughout the rest of the space.
3. The Simple Home Has a Place for Everything
When most of us think about organization, our minds often settle on bins, baskets, and labels. While it is true that those items are helpful and may be part of a whole-home solution, more permanent storage fixtures are an essential part of an organized, simplified home.
For example, when we have the opportunity to completely design a home, we often add built-ins to living spaces and shelving to closets. These integrated solutions are more likely to create an organized home that works well long-term.
As part of the design process, we are also strategic about how the space will be used and what will be stored there. This allows us to create a custom solution designed uniquely for your lifestyle, placing items right at your fingertips when you need them. This creates easy, stress-free, simplified living.
We incorporated functional storage and shelving in this North Vancouver family room, giving this family’s toys and games a practical home.
4. The Simple Home Prioritizes a Peaceful, Sensory Experience
Close your eyes and recall a favourite memory, like taking your child skiing in Whistler for the first time, the moment you laid eyes on your sweet puppy, or that incredibly comfortable seaside hammock in Hawaii. As you picture these memories, I am willing to bet you become enveloped in another world, hearing your child’s infectious giggles again, feeling the oh-so-soft puppy fur, and smelling salt water and sunshine.
Your home can inspire the same joy and special memories by engaging all 5 of your senses in delightful ways. Here are some ideas:
Sight: Colours, patterns, visual effects, mood lighting, and other sights you find enjoyable or soothing.
Sound: Control the ambiance, from meditative quiet, to sound dampening, to music, to a combined audio-visual experience for movie nights.
Touch: A balance of textures, from soft rugs to smooth woods to irregular shapes. Even pieces we don’t touch (like the light fixture below) add visual texture.
Taste & Smell: The aroma and flavours of cooking at home, soy candles and essential oils, or fresh herbs sunning themselves by the kitchen window.
5. The Simple Home Makes Room for Doing What You Love
Following all of the ideas above will leave you with spacious, clutter-free rooms that have more meaning and purpose, but that is not all you can do to make room for doing what you love. Above all, The Simple Home supports the way you want to live at home, not just relax after work.
For example, I personally love my recently installed infra-red sauna. Having this sensory experience so easily accessible in my home adds an element of luxury and bliss to my daily life. For you, it may be exercise equipment, a grand piano, or another passion piece.
The point is, you can now infuse your personality and interests into your space in the best possible way. Yes, incorporating these items into your space may mean a less-than-traditional furniture arrangement, but after decluttering, you have more room now, don’t you? That’s a worthy trade.
Set Your Sights on Living Simply
When it comes to creating a home you truly love, less is indeed more. If you feel drawn toward this way of living, but are unsure of where to begin, reach out to us. We would love to help you update your home, bask in beautifully personal design, and embrace the simple life.
Until next time,