I have been learning a lot about minimalist living lately, and I like it. A LOT. Honestly, I'm sick of wasting money on stuff, having to buy stuff to store my stuff, having too much stuff in my house to the point that I feel no spiritual breathing room, etc.
So. I've been getting rid of the stuff. Maybe a little too much. Some rooms are pretty bare. I want to strike a balance.
I'm seeking your ideas about the BASICS to have in different rooms of the house - in order for that room to be 1) functional and 2) warm/cozy/homey/feel good. So not the bare minimum, but the basics.
Please list your idea by room.
For me, I'm thinking:
Bedroom: bed, night stand, lamp, books, cozy comforter and pillows, warming artwork on walls, bureau with clothes.
Kitchen: Dishes, pots, tupperware all in cabinets. Tea kettle on stove. Charming artwork on fridge. Kitchen stove light on at night.
Bathroom: Soft white towels, cool blue shower curtain, shampoo, conditioner, soap, wood boats, toilet paper. Soft candle.
Living Room: Books. Chair and Couch. Warm paint on Walls. Good lighting. Warm throw blanket and quilt. Basket of knitting near fireplace.
Please list your "home essentials" or other items that "make the room" - even if nothing else was in it.
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival
For me it would include:
Kitchen: wooden stools that people can sit on to chat to you while you are cooking.
Dining room: a china cabinet to display some of my favourite china pieces. Something like this:
1.A gorgeous big teddy bear or other soft toy on the bed propped up against the pillows!
2.Room spray...there are some heavenly scents which are lovely to spray just before going to sleep that actually help you relax.
1.Chimes hanging that gently move when a breeze blows through
2. Table with basket of shells on it.
going room by room, here are my thoughts:
bedroom - a *pair* of nightstands, a *pair* of lamps; cut flowers are nice; candles; a yummy, peaceful smell (either from candles or flowers or a reed diffuser or something).
kitchen - fresh produce; nice dish towels and dish cloths; pretty things on the sink instead of a big ugly bottle of dish soap and/or a yucky sponge . . .
bathroom and living room sounds nice - what about art work, or family photos, or . . . ?
I like having (and not in excess):
-framed family pics, especially candids in black and white
-trinkets/treasures from our travels
-artwork our babies have created through the years
-small lamps for warm, incandescent lighting
-curtains (we have some in the kitchen that soften the very white, tiled area and make it feel more homey - love them!)
-uncluttered surfaces (in the kitchen, very little on the counters; just a couple framed pics on entertainment center, a couple special display items on my nightstand, etc.)
throw blankets on couches and big comfy pillows, books, kids art work, toys in pretty woven baskets, a nice smelling candle or two.
Tea kettle, jars of teas and spices, flowers and plants
Just a big ole cozy bed!
Personal artwork. I think I only have 2 professional pieces up right now. Everything else is either a family photograph or something made by me or a family member.
Throw pillows, blankets and foot stools.
One bean bag chair. Who can resist them? But seriously, it is a most coveted place to sit.
Lighting is very important. I think people forget just how much it impacts the feel of a room. We have lamps and dimmers everywhere. Colored lightbulbs can really change the feel of a room for a party.
Bedroom: throw rugs (unless you have warm floors)
Kitchen: potted herbs, stools for people to chat while you cook, a big bowl of fruit, nice hand towel
Bathroom: pretty half-curtains for privacy if you have low windows, soap pump (sorry I cannot stand bar soap for some reason & I get all squeamish if I have to use it )
Living Room: paintings. living items (for us that's mostly toys & board games but if you don't have young kids it might be a newspaper or magazines, a radio, a piano, etc.)
And books. This is a personal homey touch for me, because I grew up in a house filled with books (and plenty of other stuff too!), but I love the look of strategically placed small stacks of favorite books just sitting around for someone to leaf through. (I know to some people this is clutter, but a house with lots of books is so homey to me!)
Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)
I like things really bare and stark. I do like colors, but I don't like 'stuff.' If it were up to me, we would have soooo little, it's not even funny. But DH likes 'stuff' around. So, I'm stuck with it, unfortunately. Maybe someday he'll let me have my way.
Living room: throw blankets (handmade ones, either by myself or a family member, my mom crotched the one we have in there now), plants, pillows, family photographs on the walls, pair or old windows on one wall, a few handprinted posters.
Bedroom: Big, heavy blankets, lots of pillows, soft lighting, books.
Kitchen: area rug near sink and back door, rocking chair in the corner, jars of spices, dried beans/pasta/etc, lots of produce, *we also do leave the little light above the stove on most nights, DP works til about midnight and uses the backdoor to get into our apt where the kitchen is so I leave it on for him and its usually on for my 3 am trips to the brita filter or bathroom.
Bathroom: Big comfy rug and bathmat, candles.
I didn't notice curtains on anyone's list...kinda surprised me. Do you guys have curtains in every room? We only have a small one in the bathromo which is more of just a big piece of lace I draped over the curtain rod than a curtain. I have nothing against them and I def think they can warm up a room, it just never comes up on my list of priorities and I have never ended up buying or making them before! Everytime I see them in a store I always figure there are more important things to be spending our money on than $13 bucks a panel (or more usually). The outside wall of our living room is almost entirely 2 big windows (that are connected) so it def looks bare without curtains. I was thinking about getting a couple of really pretty flat sheets and making curtains out of those....any ideas?
crafty Mama to Maxwell, born April 5, 2010 and partner & best friend to Dan <3
I agree, it's nice. It's such a soft mellow light. Very welcoming if you want to grab something from the fridge later in the evening.
Our kitchen is downstairs, and at night we put the alarm on for the downstairs area in case of break in....so when we come upstairs to go to bed we would not need the light on at the stove overnight..would just waste energy.
I didn't notice curtains on anyone's list...kinda surprised me. Do you guys have curtains in every room?
I mentioned them in mine GOTTA have curtains in my house, despite their collecting dust We move often and some of our places have had no blinds, like our apt in Germany with HUUUUUUGE windows right in the city with a bunch of people on both sides of our apt. We went the IKEA route for our LR - curtains on sale that can be converted from our German-style hanging method to the American one with a pole back here in the US. I love the softness curtains provide - a definite must, even in my kitchen
My Mom, who sews, got some flat panel sheets and lined them I believe - that is what she has in her LR and bdrm and they look super!
Thanks for the great replies!! Haha, I'm sorry I confused everyone with the whole stove light thing. For me, I love the light above the stove on the lowest level on at night. It's what my mom used to do -- after dinner she would clean the kitchen, everyone would be bathed and in pajamas, and the kitchen would be "closed" for the night (lights off, dishes way) except the stove light on in case anyone wanted to grab a drink of water, snack, or had to be up in the middle of the night -- that way the whole house was not dark. When my DH is travelling I leave the stove light on at night when I sleep...it kind of makes me feel safer in my home. Not sure why. It kind of gives off the type of light that a fireplace/hearth would in a sense (though not nearly as nice as firelight, I will admit), although I concede that it is an energy waster.
Love the plants thing. Definitely true. Anything living adds life and comfort to a room.
There is a really cool group of photos on flickr, called Corners of My Home, that I like to take inspiration fun. It's so fun to click through and kind of get ideas from other's home. Some have too much stuff for me....others strike the right balance between style, comfort, and simplicity. But...I WARN YOU ALL....there are 83,000 pictures uploaded to the group...so don't expect to look at them all....and don't be like me and stay up till 2 am clicking and looking at the photos instead of sleeping so that you can be a good Mom in the morning
so, with that disclaimer, here's the link to Corners of My Home (I think it might be originally inspired by SouleMama from soulemama.com, who used to do a weekly blog themed around that, but not sure).
Cheers! and Happy Homemaking!
P.S. Clutterwarrior, I think your username is my new fave
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival
Extra cozy/homey touches include a tea kettle on the stove and pretty tea mugs above the stove with the tea (not "decorative" china, these are mugs in constant use and although lovely are used by the kids too). Small pottery vases filled with the nature "stuff" the girls bring inside (flowers, feathers, a neat piece of stick, rocks, etc). Floor pillows, framed art/photos, and candles where appropriate. And things that make me smile when I see them... for example, right now my kitchen area is drapped in tissue paper "prayer flags" that the girls made. It's more "visually cluttered" than I'd normally like, and they wont stay "forever", but everyone smiles when they see them and they add color/life/energy.
My MIL and both of my grandmothers do the "stove light at night" thing... like the OP, it's sort of half night light and half "the kitchen (and kitchen chores) are done for the night" marker. It's not something I do myself, but it does have a sort of comforting air now that I think about it. And we do turn on a small string of decorative lights at night that serve a similar purpose... chores done, kids in bed, gentle downstairs night light.
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mama to (4/05), (6/07vbac), (8/09vbac), and (9/11vbac)
Thanks for the great replies!! Haha, I'm sorry I confused everyone with the whole stove light thing. For me, I love the light above the stove on the lowest level on at night. It's what my mom used to do -- after dinner she would clean the kitchen, everyone would be bathed and in pajamas, and the kitchen would be "closed" for the night (lights off, dishes way) except the stove light on in case anyone wanted to grab a drink of water, snack, or had to be up in the middle of the night -- that way the whole house was not dark. When my DH is travelling I leave the stove light on at night when I sleep...it kind of makes me feel safer in my home. Not sure why. It kind of gives off the type of light that a fireplace/hearth would in a sense (though not nearly as nice as firelight, I will admit), although I concede that it is an energy waster.End Quote/
I was a guest at my friend's aunts house and she had little lamps in each bathroom that sat on footstools, chairs, or a small nook. She had a large home on a hill away from the city and those dinky little lamps made a big difference in the cozy feel. She also left a stereo on downstairs ..very low and played old school tunes like Ella Fitzgerald. She had unusual soapdishes like tea saucers and flower pot saucers with good smelling soaps. I am too chicken to put a lamp in my bathrooms because my kids would probably knock them over.
I put regular bed pillows and small lightweight blankets on my couches ..and I have two huge pillows on the floor that should be tossed out because look worn , but everyone always grabs them and lays on the floor so I just keep them. We have two puppies and I don't want them on the furniture ..so people will nestle on a pillow and snuggle the pups.
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
For me I like pictures up in the house. Either of family or places that are really important to us or that we have visited. I try to take a couple nice pictures of whereever we visit and hang them around. Its good for conversations as well. We live in a different country than most of our family so we also like having pictures up for our girls so they can see and be reminded of family we rarely get to visit.
This is probably bad to say but my husband is gone ALOT and I actually like it when hes home and we have his uniform blouse thrown over a chair or his boots by the front door. Its kind of like a sign that hes home and safe. It actually helps me sleep better at night. I know sad but since January hes been gone 3 seperate times for 1-2 months at at time, doesn't sound bad except it adds up. I also like the kids art work on the fridge, stuffed animal on the couch etc as long as its not to much. I like things clean but I don't like it when it looks like a show house instead of like someone lives there.
Also not sure it got mentioned but a nice clean bathroom room. I like just a bottle or two of shampoo and soap in the shower. And I like sinks and tub to be shiny clean.
Also I make my bed before I get in it at night if I haven't in the am. I like the fresh sheet feel. And of course the best sheets evah are line dried in the sunshine.
Baking smells are nice.
One lady on here said one time even if her house isn't the greatest of clean, she fills the sink with warm soapy water and a drop or two of tea tree oil. It just smells clean and lifts the air. Ive tried that and found I am apt to keep the kitchen neater that way.
I think allthe things I would suggest have been said, but I'm enjoying reading this thread-- has me thinking about how I want things to be now that my purging is winding down
Julia, mom to lefthandedinarighthandworld.wordpress.com
Here's a wonderful article I found about how to have a minimalist home.
Hope you enjoy (and maybe fantasize a little....) about having a completely clutter-free home.
Mothering my sweet preschool boy and my new arrival