4 Ways to Create a Calming Modern Space
If you’re like us, a new year means new goals. Take January’s ‘clean slate’ throughout the entire year by practicing one of year’s biggest design trends: minimalism.
To help us start the year right, we spoke with Amanda Jane Jones — an expert on the trend. You know Amanda best from her work with Kinfolk magazine, which demonstrates her perfectly curated and simple design. We figured she was the perfect candidate to help us pare down. We spoke with her to highlight four ways to make your home a sanctuary.
In 2011, Amanda was approached by Kinfolk‘s founder Nathan Williams shortly after quitting her full-time job to become the magazine’s founding creative director. The timing was serendipitous, says Amanda.
She described the initial design drafts for Kinfolk as “mainstream, reminiscent of Martha Stewart.” The trick in moving forward was establishing a design that married Kinfolk’s ethos for slow living with a print design that resonated in an industry pushing towards digital formatting.
With her vision in mind, she eliminated chunky block text and staged model poses for a simplified, inspiring design that reminded her more of a book than a traditional glossy mag. Though she’s since left the company, her work was the fuel for Kinfolk’s trajectory from an independent publication to a recognizable visual trendsetter.
It’s no surprise Amanda’s ability to create tranquility is her design signature.
Amanda currently works as a freelance graphic designer. Much of her time is spent quietly creating the look and feel behind some of your favorite brands. She’s also a photographer, an art director, a mother of two young children, a world traveller, and did we mention her impeccable taste in modern furniture?
Needless to say, we trust her when it comes to mastering the restraint needed to create a calm space.
Store Away the Cutter
Minimalism doesn’t just carve away the unnecessary, it organizes the things you do own in a visually appealing way.
“Organization! It’s so key to a calm space,” says Amanda. “Our closets are super full, but also really organized. Everything, for the most part anyway, has a place or a bin or a drawer which makes keeping the house clean and simple easy.”
Not only can boxes validate a nerdy desire for a home label-maker, but they also create visual symmetry and quiet spots for your eyes to rest. It’s like the more functional version of turning all the book spines in — they keep everything organized and in plain sight, but without the eyesore or unrealistic way of living (e.g. How are you supposed to find your copy of Interiors for Slow Living with the spine turned in?)
Inspired by Marie Kondo’s Lifechanging Magic, Amanda says she subscribes to the same ideals: “don’t hold onto stuff unless you love it or need it.”
Overcoming the nostalgic attachment to objects can keep you from buying into this method. Another is the fear that by paring down your possessions, your space will become dull or utilitarian. But Amanda stresses that this doesn’t need to be the case at all.
“Scattered all over our home are little treasures from our travels like little wooden trinkets, games, artwork, and photographs. We’ve surrounded ourselves with memories and pieces we love and for me, that’s what brings in the warmth.”
Your Color Palette is your Compass
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: color has a huge impact on your home decor. For a home that is cohesive and calm, Amanda says it’s important to define a strict color palette and only make purchases within those hues. Following this will not only create a modern home that flows from room to room, but also acts as preventative measure against impulse buys. Does that highlighter yellow floor lamp fit in your color palette? If not, move along.
Amanda says her home is frequently inspired by her own design work. “I always design with a pretty neutral palette and I guess it’s no surprise that it translated to my home as well,” she says.
“I like to keep my large basic pieces neutral so we can bring in more color and experiment elsewhere. Using the light gray and vanilla for the couch and rug was the perfect canvas to kickstart the design in our living room.”
Invest Where it Matters
Working within your color palette is one way to cut down on clutter, but Amanda advises that investing in large, quality pieces is another way of not letting objects pile up.
Making sure that she had a quality modern sofa that could survive in her busy household was also a huge factor. She says her two children, Jane and Miles, “jump on [the Burrard sofa] constantly and it still looks new.”
Her space is proof that a child-friendly home can be both minimal and beautiful by selecting high-quality and multi-purpose furniture that’s suitable for down time and playtime.
Clean House, Clean Mind!
Self-care has never been more talked about – or as important – than as of late. For Amanda, a minimalist home creates room for comfort and peace.
“Having an organized space has been key to keeping a minimalistic feel in my home, even though life with two kids is anything but,” she says.
With fewer objects taking up physical and visual square footage, her mind has more opportunity to decompress and focus on all the other goals on her 2018 list.