Less is Not a Bore

Maybe you've heard architect Mies van der Rohe's famous dictum, "Less is more."  His ideal of focusing on essentials and removing superfluous detail has dominated modern design.

But Robert Venturi, often called the founder of postmodern design, is famous for his reaction, proclaiming "Less is a bore."  He went on to design buildings that are irregular, eclectic, and likened to pop art.

This apparently caused horror and consternation among architects, which you might think is pretty silly (I do).

How Venturi got it wrong

I don't care for the sleek glass-and-steel look myself, but I believe a minimalist mindset can accommodate many tastes.  If that's your style, enjoy it.

But we shouldn't think that less is boring.  Less is peaceful.  It can reflect contentment with what you have.  And it can certainly be pretty. 

Far from being soulless and cold, less can expose what you treasure and what you're really all about.  Instead of letting your favorite things be buried in clutter and junk, less lets you intentionally choose what makes your heart sing, and then make it a feature.

Owning less doesn't mean you have to do away with photos of your loved ones, vases of fresh flowers, or treasured books.  It doesn't mean you can't keep (and use) pretty china, inherited furniture, travel finds, or meaningful art.

Minimalism – as I see it – doesn't have to mean "stripped down."

Can you be a minimalist and dive into Cottagecore, Grannychic, or Grandmillenial style?  Of course!

So if you love chintz throw pillows, English blue and white ironstone (I have a small collection), flowered wallpaper (try some of the new peel-and-stick), and old brass candlesticks, your minimalist home can certainly accommodate them.  What you'll want to remove is the stuff that has no meaning, the stuff that simply gathers dust, and the stuff you're always moving out of the way just so you can sit down or put your feet up.

Never think that your minimalist home can't be the most comfortable and supportive place around.  At its heart, Cottagecore is about reconnecting with family, friends, and old-fashioned skills – pastimes like knitting, gardening, and bread-making that have been sidelined by hyper-busyness and way too much online time.  People are finding that creating a welcoming home atmosphere and learning to make things with their own hands is super satisfying.

So bake something while listening to the radio and wearing a pretty apron.  Cut some late flowers from your garden and display them in a lovely vase, or fill a bowl with fall apples or mini pumpkins.  Curl up with a cup of tea and a good book (I am currently loving Anthony Doerr's newest, Cloud Cuckoo Land*).  Try your hand at knitting, crochet, embroidery, or even watercolors.  Iron some shirts or some table linens.  Pull on a simple cardigan and take a walk, paying attention to birds, squirrels, trees, and the sky.  Simmer a big pot of soup made from home-grown (or at least locally-grown) vegetables.  Hand write a letter.

* This blog is reader-supported.  If you buy through my links, I may earn a small commission.

In spite of what some websites will tell you, you don't need to "shop the latest home d├ęcor trend."  Cottagecore is right at your fingertips – the things you love most, that make you feel creative and comfortable.

But all the magic I've ever known,
I had to make myself.

Shel Silverstein


  1. Hello, Karen. While reading through your many articles here, I came across this one, and I'm glad to see that you enjoy the author Anthony Doerr--me, too! I've been working on simplifying and minimizing everything in my home and life for several years, and have recently discovered your blog. Thanks for all you write here, and tomorrow I plan to contribute to your efforts using the Buy Me a Coffee thing (it's 3:30 a.m. in Arizona, and I'm up with insomnia).

    1. Hello, Kay, and I'm so glad to welcome you here! I too sometimes suffer from insomnia and I'm sorry to hear it's a problem for you. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment - and also for the "coffee!"

      BTW, have you seen the adaptation of "All the Light We Cannot See"? I haven't, but it looks VERY intriguing... https://www.netflix.com/tudum/articles/all-the-light-we-cannot-see-netflix-release-date

    2. Wow! I had no idea that it was coming to Netflix! I'm going to mark my calendar right away! I'm going to go back to bed now and hope to get some sleep. May you rest well today whenever possible, too. Blessings!

    3. Hi again - I read more carefully, and the series "All the Light We Cannot See" is going to be broadcast this coming November! So no one has seen it yet. Something to look forward to!


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