The mention of minimalist interiors tends to conjure images of stark, all white spaces that feel cold and empty. However, minimalist decor isn't nearly as rigid as the yet-to-be converted may believe. There are endless ways to approach how you design your room, and as with any living space, it works best when it reflects your own unique personality and needs. It's usually the space itself and furnishings that we think of as being the most important features of minimalism, because a floor is just a floor, right? Actually, the flooring plays a major role in pared-back decor, setting the foundation for the atmosphere that you want to create with your carefully chosen and placed pieces. The wrong choice can throw off the look and feel you were hoping to achieve, while the right one will bring it all together in that quietly harmonious and elegant way that makes minimalism so appealing.
Here are 5 ways you can use flooring to create effects in your minimalist space:
Clean and cool natural
This is my kitchen (well, half of it). I went from a very busy, colourful space with dark porcelain tiles to a cleaned-lined, neutral kitchen with plank flooring; I just needed to reset completely, and I've always wanted a minimalist home. A darker wood floor would have worked well here as a warming contrast, but I wanted to keep the walls and floor as light as possible as a counter measure against the gloom of English weather! 'White' wood grain flooring (it's usually a light shade of grey but reads as white) is great for brightening a space. Because it's not grounding like a darker shade of flooring would be, it also makes the room appear visually lighter by affecting how we perceive the weight of the space. White on white works well for those who really want that quintessentially minimalist look and feel. And as you can see, it's easy to add warming touches which also help define the space, and I did so by choosing walnut island stools and terracotta pendant lights which were fixed onto a custom made walnut ceiling fixture.
This Japanese-style open-concept apartment would look very different with a white floor. The warm wood tones make the space feel very welcoming and soften the look of the modern furniture. The key is balancing the warmth with light and dark, and being careful not to match any furniture or decor to the tones of the floor which will cause the room to look heavy and a bit 'muddy, the opposite of minimalist'. Here, a camel coloured sofa ties in the red woods of the floor with the room, creating a harmony between all of the elements.
Grounding and contrast
Nothing grounds a space like a black floor. It's a bold look, and nothing is bolder than contrasting the black with white for a striking monochromatic scheme. A light floor here would create an effect of the bed floating, whereas the black anchors it in place. The choice is whatever you most want to wake up to each morning! To avoid going too severe, the large room divider has been finished in a tonal grey, softening the contrasts between the white and black.
Minimalism doesn't have to be white, shiny and smooth. In fact, it's at its best when it brings some of the outside in. In this open-concept apartment, the blond knotty pine floor gives a clean, natural look without feeling like a log cabin, partially due to it being fitted on the diagonal. Most of the apartment is constructed in blond wood, creating a harmony that feels light and minimalist thanks to its sunny tones, offset by pale grey concrete walls. Lots of natural lights helps too!
Flooring as a feature
In very minimalist, expansive spaces, you can go with a feature floor if you want to create visual impact while maintaining a spare decor. There are all kinds of tonal styles to choose from that bring energy to the room while still looking sophisticated. Furniture tends to look best in rooms with feature floors when arranged in a corner, giving the floor a clear platform. Think of it the way you would a feature wall - you wouldn't put much in front of it, would you? Let the floor stand on its own and you will have a living space that's both serene and striking.