Less is More: Spartan Living

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Image: Kitka

I have a long-standing interior design fantasy: being given free reign to create as minimal a space as possible that’s still very livable. I think of it as Spartan living, where emphasis is on rooms that include only the essentials for daily comfort, with nothing opulent but without sacrificing basic needs. When I look at the spaces pictured here, they bring out that minimalist aspect of my personality and move me to share my tips for getting the “less is more” look for your home.

Let it Be

Minimalist Bedroom
Image: Barbara Hill Design

The essence of Spartan living is to allow your room to be what it is. I know; you’re thinking, “What the heck does that mean?” Well, take this bedroom for example—without a closet, some would be hunting down an armoire or shopping Ikea for storage. Neither of those is a bad idea, but a simple rack and small screen actually accomplish the need without adding bulk to the space. Notice how the bed and table have an airy, floating feeling as well, increasing the sense of emptiness.

Empty Gallery

Gallery Lighting
Image: Justin Alexander for Luigi Rosselli Architects

For many, this living space screams out for art—there’s even gallery lighting installed in the ceiling! Leaving the walls bare focuses your gaze elsewhere: to the carefully selected furnishings, the minimal fireplace, and the floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading outside. For an even leaner look, you could replace the slipcovered sofa with one that has cleaner lines.

Stand Alone

Image: Scandinavian Deko

Being very selective with furnishings and fixtures, and editing down to the bare bones—again, without sacrificing essential comforts—is a hallmark of Spartan living, and this bedroom demonstrates that masterfully. There’s still a tremendous amount of visual interest, much of it due to the fact that these pieces are pulling all of the attention. I never see this image without marveling over the double light fixtures.

All In One

Image: Plastolux

The ultimate minimalist design fantasy has got to be the challenge of living all in one room, and this simple but stunning cabin epitomizes that idea. A mattress, a chair, two lamps and a fireplace; less is indeed more.

What is your interior design a fantasy?

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the post Dave! Spartan style living is definitely an inspiring and unique lifestyle that contrasts how people live today. Living with the bare bone essential actually leaves a lot of room for character to show, and I can see all that in every picture. As you mentioned, “less is always more.”

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of JapaneseTrash.com, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite (ruraltheory.com) and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (thenovogratz.com), Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.