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Minimaluxe and our love of simple comforts

From the Resene decorating blog

Minimalism is a timeless design trend, all about prioritising clean, orderly design based on simple lines and a pared-back colour palette.

A minimalist dining room painted in earthy and spicy hues

Simple and minimalist doesn’t need to be restricted to pale whites and neutrals. These spicy and earthy shades add energy without being busy.

Walls and console table painted in Resene Cinnamon, skirting in Resene Calico, with floor stained in Resene Colorwood Shade, mirror in Resene Alabaster and table in Resene Mai Tai. Rug from Baya, art by Stephanie Parks. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

For some it’s the epitome of style and elegance offering uncluttered living that can feel liberating. For others, it can feel a touch chilly and impersonal.

For those who have been tempted by a cleaner, less cluttered minimalist look but worry it will feel too sterile for their tastes, there is good news.

Today’s modern minimalism skews much more toward comfort, allowing for a softer edge in textiles and colours that make simple spaces feel innately more luxurious and character-filled. It’s a trend that’s been dubbed “minimaluxe”.

What is minimaluxe?

At its heart minimaluxe is a blend of minimalism with other design movements such as Japandi (a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese influences), that allow for more natural finishes and earthy neutral colours like Resene Half Biscotti or Resene Half Sisal, as well as organic shapes or textures, says Resene Colour Expert Jackie Nicholls.

The rise in popularity of minimaluxe now, comes post-pandemic, she says, as we live in our houses differently, often mixing work and family life, and as we have become much more aware of our own wellbeing.

“Our houses now need to be practical but also provide a sense of calm and comfort; they need to be a relaxing haven. We’ve embraced organic curves and irregular shapes, celebrating the non-perfect forms of handmade pottery as well as textures that feel natural and even cuddly, like linens and bouclé,” she says.

“The result is comfortable, practical and simplistic living which makes us feel in touch with nature and the beauty of hand-crafted forms.”

Having less clutter in our rooms is an important part of minimalism, and modern minimaluxe; another by-product of both the pandemic and the global shift to sustainability, making us realise we needed less ‘stuff’.

“Owning fewer things with emphasis on quality handcrafted items that you really treasure is a guiding principle of minimaluxe,” Jackie says. “Unlike minimalism, the new trend moves away from straight, hard lines to softer forms, and embraces imperfection, as seen in the Japanese principle of wabi sabi.

An elegant living room

A classic colour combination of warm beige with creamy whites, and plenty of natural textiles make this living room elegant and luxurious.

Walls painted in Resene Half Putty with floor painted in Resene Double Pearl Lusta, table and ball tealight holder in Resene Teak, cabinet in Resene Pearl Lusta and vase in Resene Half Putty. Couch from Freedom, throw and plain cushions from Adairs, palm cushion from Elanora, rug from Mocka. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

A luxurious bathroom

One contrast colour and a faux tile effect elevate this bathroom into something luxurious and chic.

Upper wall painted in Resene Alabaster with faux marble tiles painted in Resene Double Stack basecoat with Resene Alabaster, Resene Eighth Stack, Resene Half Stack, Resene Half Baltic Sea as topcoats, grid line and vase in Resene Double Stack, shelf in Resene Eighth Stack, stool in Resene Eighth Stack, mat in Resene Alabaster and small bowl and vase in Resene Incarnadine. Bath and tapware from Plumbline, towels from Bed Bath & Beyond. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, marble effect finish by Hannah Tapner, image by Bryce Carleton.

The minimaluxe colour palette

Neutrals are at the heart of any essentially minimalist look, but that does not need to mean monochromatic white-on-white-on-white, unless you want it to. Painting everything in a space in a fresh white like Resene Half Alabaster can be quite striking, particularly if you add a luxe contrast note in a softer shade like lush green Resene Dingley or rich red Resene Jalapeno.

Oaty off-whites like Resene Parchment and rich yellow-tinged creams such as Resene Half Beeswax will bring added warmth and texture to spaces, and often work particularly well when used in layers, which can work well at lending neutrals an extra sense of opulence and luxury.

One simple way to layer your neutral colour scheme is to pick different intensities of the Resene colour. For example, dusty beige Resene Drought comes in eight, quarter, half and double strengths, giving you a spectrum of neutrals to layer from pale taupe to earthy light brown. The other way to layer is with a collection of similar neutrals from a pale cream Resene Half Spanish White with subtle beige Resene Double Biscotti and deep cream Resene Triple Pearl Lusta.

Top tip:  When layering tonally similar neutrals play with different sheen levels. High gloss paints like waterborne Resene Enamacryl add glamorous shine, while at the other end of the sheen scale Resene SpaceCote Flat can lend shades an almost suede-like softness, particularly on darker, bolder neutrals like Resene Sandstone or Resene Oilskin.

The other colour tool in your minimaluxe kit is wood stain. Showcasing the natural grain of the wood, while still adding neutral colour is another way to add warmth and character to an otherwise minimalist space. Going for a dark stain finish like Resene Colorwood Dark Ebony will add a chic finish to wood surfaces, while the light ginger tones of Resene Colorwood Oregon gives your timber surfaces a gentle golden glow.

A lounge painted in warm dusky shades

This room veers away from traditional neutrals to embrace warm dusky shades that emphasise luxury, without excess. Rear wall and battens in Resene Martini with floor in Resene Dust Storm basecoat with Resene Cest La Vie and Resene Dust Storm mixed with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium. Skirting in Resene Snow Drift, side wall in Resene Half Wood Bark, table in Resene Bon Jour, cup and saucer in Resene Wilderness and shelves in Resene Quarter Karaka with vases in, from left, Resene Hurricane, Resene Quarter Karaka, Resene Snow Drift, Resene Ship Cover (plant pot), Resene Dust Storm and Resene Greige. Chair from Danske Mobler, artwork by Lucy Rice from Endemic World, lightshade from Corcovado. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Jackie says adding texture via Resene wallpaper or the Resene paint effect range to your neutral colour palette adds another layer of visual interest to your room, which helps give it a sense of comfort and luxury, without adding clutter.

Try textured wallpapers like the neutral faux-crocodile pattern of Resene Wallpaper Collection 751345 or the linen-look of Resene Wallpaper Collection 537635.

“There are also products such as Resene Sandtex that create a gentle sandy texture and Resene FX Paint Effects Medium, a glaze that can be used for different colour washed finishes, like limewashing or sponging,” Jackie says. “These have made a huge comeback recently, but the colours are more gentle and natural favouring whites and neutrals or the softest coffee shades like Resene Akaroa, olive leaf greens like Resene Green Spring or rosebud pinks like Resene Twilight, which echo the timeworn finishes of European plastered walls.”

There is also room for bolder shades in a minimalist look, and they are an effective way to add that layer of richness. The trick is to keep to one or two tonally similar shades so your room still feels calm and unfussy. Try soothing, slightly blackened shades like dusky grape Resene Fandango with softer Resene Strikemaster or mineral blue Resene Wanaka with muted cornflower blue Resene Wedgewood.

Curate your space

A key part of keeping a minimaluxe space feeling clear and uplifting, and avoiding clutter is to think carefully about what decor pieces and furnishings you add. Jackie says the best approach is to be intentional and thoughtful about what you include, rather than just plonking things down because you have them on hand.

“Every item is curated and chosen based on its usefulness, how it looks in the space and the amount of joy it brings you,” she says, adding that the luxe part of minimaluxe doesn’t have to come from buying new.

“You can also elevate tired pieces of furniture with paint, stain or even wallpaper, to give them a new lease of life, and ensure they work well with your new completed look. It’s very satisfying to repurpose something rather than throwing it out and replacing it with something new.

“With some good advice on colours and paint finishes, you can completely transform how a space feels and the effect it can have on you.”

Colours mentioned in this blog...

Resene Shade

Coming soon

Resene Incarnadine

Buy testpot

Products mentioned in this blog...

Products marked as "coming soon" may not yet be available in our online ColorShop, however, they can be purchased in-store at your local Resene ColorShop or reseller.

January 20, 2024

If you need help choosing the right colours and finishes for your minimaluxe look, visit your Resene ColorShop, book a Resene Colour Consultation or Ask a Resene Colour Expert.

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