Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Not so many years ago, most people described their preferred style of home design as one of the following: traditional, contemporary or eclectic.
In the last few years, however, design trends have shifted and adapted and now many people are embracing a cleaner, simpler design style that transcends those years-ago terms and restrictions.
Consider the New York Times best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and you’ll realize that Clean Design is a trend that it attracting people around the globe. From Gen X and Gen Y homeowners who are designing their first or larger home to Baby Boomers who want to update and redefine their homes now that their kids have moved out, all are wanting to simplify, organize and make their homes function efficiently while still creating a space that expresses their personal style in a way that’s peaceful and calming.
What is Clean Design?
Clean Design can describe various elements of your design concept. It can mean:
Fewer furniture items in a room with less knick-knacks and unnecessary “filler” pieces
Solid or textured fabrics on sofas and chairs instead of patterned and printed fabrics
Consistent, continuous flooring and color schemes throughout the home
Straight or smooth-line table legs, chair legs and crisp clean kitchen cabinetry
Mid-Century Modern, Shaker, Arts & Crafts, Asian or Hand-hewn furniture pieces
Wood furniture pieces with less carved elements and heavy detail
Can you incorporate one or two pieces that aren’t strictly “clean”?
Absolutely. When you have less furniture pieces and clutter in a room, the room feels less busy. When a room is less busy, you can focus attention one or two pieces that might be family heirlooms or previously purchased “treasures” that still help define your personal style.
What if you like clean design, but don’t want to re-do everything?
Not to worry. Most people make one or two changes at a time.
If it’s time to replace the old sofa and loveseat, then consider sofas with a slimmer arm style, maybe raised off the floor on legs for a less bulky look than you had before. Then you might consider 2 smaller scale chairs instead of a loveseat for more versatility and less mass.
If your wall-to-wall carpet is in poor shape, visualize how your home would look with wood floors and area rugs defining the living room and dining room groupings instead of carpet. You might be able to eliminate a tile-to-carpet flooring transition at the entry and a carpet-to-tile transition to the kitchen for a cleaner, smoother flow throughout the living spaces of your house.
It may be as simple as editing down the furnishings you currently own and replacing one or two pieces or it might be you’re ready for a larger-scale update.
If you’re planning a Clean Design remodel, consulting an architect, interior designer and building professional early in the process is often a valuable idea. If your concept involves moving walls and windows, raising ceiling heights or other architectural features, your project will benefit immensely from involving an architect. Working along with your architect or for smaller remodel projects, an interior design professional can help you identify your project goals, develop efficient space planning ideas as well as help you select flooring, cabinetry and countertop materials, paint colors, window coverings and furnishings that fit your clean design plan. A good general contractor will help you determine the scope of work that is within your budget, will know what alterations will be possible with and without changes to the exterior envelope of your home and will manage all the various subcontractors that will be needed to make your clean design vision a reality.