The GardenDespatches from The Satyrs’ Forest

White walls, grey sofas, potted plants

When i was just a bairn, my oma was an avid scrapbooker and collage-maker. Dotted around the walls, alongside the paintings, antique cupboards, and kitschy statues of dogs, were little collaged images of every important moment in her life — and mine.

Just by looking around her house, you could instantly get a sense of who she was, and what she cared about. (Her dogs. She cares a lot about her dogs.) It was disorganised, it was a wee bit cluttered — but it was hers.

Today’s trends are rather different. Some time after the great recession (when it became, understandably, somewhat gauche to display how much Stuff you owned), the style du jour turned to blank, white walls, with spare tables and maybe (if you were lucky) the occasional potted plant. As this bareness took over, i can’t help but feel something was lost.i

The top results for “minimalist living room” on Google Images, for example, tell you almost nothing at all about the person who might be living there:

A selection of spare, white-walled rooms, with the occasional grey sofa and chair strewn in.

Compare with these more cluttered affairs, filled with alkin books, rugs, photos, and the like, and the difference in the amount of personality that shines through is like night and day:

Several clujttered rooms of various colours, books filed high to the ceiling, chairs everywhere, tapestry rugs...

I don’t know. Maybe i’m just grumpy and nostalgic. What do you think?

1 comment

  1. Ræl says…

    I'm taking a middle approach to this debate. I feel the two styles have their places, y'know. A minimalist restaurant feels like a hospital ward and a maximalist hospital ward feels like a restaurant.

    I like the clarity that minimalist room design provides, but do feel it to be a bit soulless. But I find the cluttered room style too overwhelming and prone to collecting trash.

    I believe a room should be a reflection of one's mind, and that one's room mold the state of their mind. Treat it like a good bed and breakfast; let things come and things go, but overall keep it clean. Never let it stagnate.

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