"All was white and clean, as though the room had been designed for surgery, or for Swedish people." I laughed out loud at this sentence from Claire Dederer's recent memoir Poser: My Life in Twenty Three Yoga Poses.
I LOVE those clean, simple interiors that are called by various names like "Zen" "Swedish" "Minimal" "Modern". You know the kind. Walls all white or almost white. Bare floors with maybe one white fluffy rug. Big windows with no window treatments or just some kind of shade that you hardly notice. Natural wood furniture without much upholstery, except possibly for the big white sofa. Sometimes there's a fireplace. If there is art on the wall it's usually large and single. No misc. stuff sitting around. No books to speak of ... maybe an art one on the coffee table. Monochrome palate overall in pale colors. Check out the blog on my list at the right My Scandinavian Retreat. Interior design eye candy for me (or maybe porn.)
I have never once created an interior like these for the various places I have actually lived in. I probably never will. Minimalists people would probably blanche at seeing my places.
First of all, my walls are all filled up with art. Some of it actually is art. I have several signed, numbered prints done by real live artists bought from art galleries. There are quite a few posters in frames. Also photos and even postcards. Many framed greeting cards and also odd "things"... woven wall hangings, little stuffed dolls, a dream catcher made by an artist. Sitting around are some small "statues" , many ceramic pieces made by artists (mostly bowls and vases).
Second, my walls are mostly painted various colors. Right now my bedroom and living area are those light Scandinavian colors, grey, pale blue, cream. But my kitchen is inspired by rainbow sherbet .... it's orange, yellow and green. In a past apartment I painted an area navy blue, and in another the bathroom was bright pink. I grew up in a home painted by my dad who has fearless about color. My brother's old bedroom, for example, was purple and orange and looked good. I'll put any color on my walls that I want, and will change the colors from time to time when the old ones make me tired. Oh, yes, a lot of my furniture is painted too.
Third, I have lots of stuff around to look at and use. Books, throw pillows, light fixtures, clocks, baskets, candles, nice looking office supplies, jewelry boxes, nice looking lotion and potion containers, nice looking kitchen things. Everything is curated. All the horizontal surfaces that have things on them are tablescapes, not random objects that happen to be there. Most things are there for practical purposes. A few are just there to look interesting, like my little collection of nurse dolls or the shelf in the bookcase that contains my mom's old doll furniture.
I also have little "areas" in my place. There's a spinning area with a chair, my spinning wheel and a basket with supplies. There's a mediation area with a low altar table and a zafu and zabutan. There's a stylized Japanese alcove with a hanging obi as the scroll, my old wooden step stool from childhood as the raised platform and a glass vase filled with hand spindles as the flower arrangement. There's an area with a chair near the door, useful for putting things onto upon arrival home or sitting down to put on shoes just before leaving. And the chair is easily moveable if there happen to be guests in the sitting area.
Here's the deal though. My place pleases me. Guests like it too. My place is carefully put together. My place is small but looks surprisingly spacious. My place will tell you all kins of things about me. My place is cozy. My place belongs to me.