With the increasing development of condos and other smaller residences, the need to live a simplified lifestyle has never been more in vogue. Minimalism is often the go to style for most of these small spaces, but there have been many homeowners who are slowly getting attracted to a more diverse and otherwise spiritual take on the minimalist style.
It has been a proven fact that to live a minimalistic approach, one would require to invest in quality materials and pieces that are designed to last for a good number of years as well as adopt several habits when it comes to maintaining your lifestyle and interior. Luckily, there is a style that follows the principles of minimalism and practicality. And would you believe it shares its name with a well-known concept store?
Muji is a Japanese concept store that works on the philosophy of less is more. It promotes practical and functional products such as towels and hampers as well as clothes that are designed for every minimalist’s lifestyle. The concept of Muji’s interior is exactly the philosophy it advocates: practical, clean, neat, organized and above all, functional. It is not overtly minimal and plain, but rather minimal with a touch of elegance.
So if the look of Muji appeals to your lifestyle, here are several ways you can try to have the Muji interior design in your home.
1. NEEDS VS. WANTS
Before you start your design, take the time to sit down and think of what you want to have in your interior.
- Consider the number of windows and how high your ceilings are.
- Check also if you’re plumbing, electricals and overall interior structure are still in good condition. If not, you might want to consider having it fixed before you start your design.
- It is good to take note of the needs and the wants so that you can gauge which has more priority over the other. It also helps you understand the philosophy of the Muji style which is functional aesthetics through simplified living and the use of quality and practical pieces.
2. CLEAN AND STRAIGHT LINES
As stated before, minimalism uses simplicity and practicality. This is evident in furniture pieces that have straight lines. Simple tables with straight legs, bed boxes with storage drawers or trundle beds, stacking chairs and wardrobes are all ergonomically designed to adapt to the homeowner’s needs effortlessly.
When designing your home with the Muji interior design, always start with the goal to create a calm and sophisticated look. And as much as possible, resist the urge to have frills and curves. As nice as they may be, it would clutter up and even crowd your already small space
3. NATURAL MATERIALS
Minimalism, believe it or not, takes most of its design inspiration from the natural forms of nature. As such, it is only logical that most of the materials used in minimalist design are all natural and sometimes locally cultivated.
Woods such as oak and teak are often treated thoroughly in order to be applied in many minimalist spaces. Not only are they sturdy, it is also used even in the smaller elements like hampers, benches and even desk storages.
Aside from wood, fabric and fibers are also part of the Muji look. Linen and cotton made from various plant fibers are often used in creating stunning and durable bedsheets that don’t fray; pillows that soften any sofa’s overall look; curtains that both regulate and block the natural light when necessary and of course, clothing pieces such as blouses, trousers and dresses.
4. COLOR PALETTE
There is no question as to what are the colors in this style’s palette. The style relies heavily on the use of whites, grays, creams or beiges, taupes, khaki, light oaks and even olive green. This is due in part of the style’s philosophy which is creating an ambiance that is airy and organized. As such, the use of light colored neutrals as well as a few accent colors is what makes this palette unique to the style. However, one must take care of how much of the colors will be used. You wouldn’t want to have a predominantly white palette or a completely woody looking interior.
A good balance in the palette would be to have at least 40% of the light colors mixed with 60% of the neutral colors. An example would be a white colored wall with taupe or light gray upholstered sofas and a light oak or teak custom cabinet.
You can even use an equal amount of white and neutrals with a singular pop of color like olive green, teal, aquamarine or even maroon.
5. FURNITURE PIECES
With the space being limited, it is wise to consider what you need rather than what you want when it comes to furniture pieces. When choosing furniture pieces, go for pieces that have a more streamlined look about them. You can go for beds that have a basic design or beds with built in storage. As much as possible, opt for beds that fit your space as well as your needs. You can even have box beds with pull out trundle beds if you would like to have guests over.
For sofas, you can choose to use a 2 seater sofa if the space is quite restricted or a 3 seater sofa if you have ample space. Another living room piece to invest in, especially if you have a small space to begin with, is getting an L shape sofa. While L shape sofas are considered excellent space savers, you can go the extra mile by getting an L shape sofa that has storage as well as open out to a bed. You can also opt for the classic sofa bed if the L shape is not your cup of tea. Choose sofas that are light in color or has exposed all natural wood.
Dining sets are something with a little bit of a personality in a sense that you can choose to have the chair of your choice. Go for rectangular tables as they take up little space and can easily be placed on against a wall. You can also go for round tables provided there is ample space for it. Choose chairs that are light, but sturdy in structure. Wooden chairs that evoke designs similar to the Scandinavian style are high favored pieces since they are timeless, practical pieces that can easily adapt to any interior.
6. BUILT-IN ORGANIZATION AND STORAGE
The premise of the Muji style is that you are designing a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. As such, having ample storage is vital for any Muji interior design space. As much as possible, try to make the most of every corner of the room. If your stairs have space, you can opt to have some cubicle shelves built under so that you can store either your shoes, your books or even some linens.
Instead of buying large TV cabinets, why not mount your TV on the wall and build a simple and practical storage cabinet that can hold your remotes, game consoles or even your WIFI router. You can even install a few floating shelves to display your books and knickknacks in a carefully arranged manner. If you want a definitive piece of storage that is a guaranteed conversation starter, you can design a full length cabinet with equally spaced cubicles for all of your thinks. This cabinet can even serve as a divider between spaces like your living room and dining room.
The same can be applied if you are considering building a built in bed; you can opt to include special features like storage compartments at the bottom. There are no limitations to what you can create; the only thing you must always consider is making the most of your chosen area.
Even if the style is somewhat minimalist in nature, that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with accessories. The point of using accessories is that they soften the overall look of an otherwise severely rigid style. Pillows and other linens are one of the most versatile accessories ever. You can soften up an otherwise dull looking sofa by placing several pillows on top of them. You can even drape a linen throw or blanket across the sofa for that added comfort. For tables, you can place a vase and some flowers and a few books neatly stacked and laid out. You may also invest in storage accessories such as bins and baskets as they can also serve as organizers for just about anything you can think off from stationery to even shoes.
As much as possible, opt for accessories that are simple in design and uniformed in color and size. You wouldn’t want to have a completely cluttered look, do you?
8. PRACTICAL LIGHTING
Last, but not least, the style also requires comfortable and ample lighting. If you have windows, consider getting curtains that can regulate and provide natural light. If your ceilings are just right, you can have some track lightings to help highlight certain parts of the area or you can have penlights with LED bulbs as they emit a powerful light source without taking up so much energy. You can even have cove lightings if and when your ceilings are quite high. You can even hang simple pendant lights as focal pieces or even ceiling fans in order for natural air to circulate.
If this breakdown of the popular style suits you entirely, then you have no problem in rolling your sleeves and creating the iconic Muji style. Just remember that maintaining your Muji interior design should never be considered a chore, but rather a calming and elegant lifestyle. After all, less is more and by embracing this soothing style, you are ensured to live an organized and joyful life.