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By Marla Caceres, Tribune Content Agency
Sometimes, less is indeed more
Interior designers are noticing a new trend. Homeowners today, whether they are setting up a second home, buying a new first home, or re-decorating their current home, are not just focusing on the things they want to put in their houses. They are focusing on what they want to keep out.
“People now, you don’t buy books, you don’t buy music, you don’t buy DVDs. Most things you’re downloading. You have less possessions — you don’t need a place to store those things that you were buying,” says Wendy Rossi, an interior design in Boca Raton with Baer’s, a collection of fine furniture stores with 15 locations throughout Florida.
This means a focus on not just on de-cluttering, but on simplicity overall.
“Everything is going to a simpler and less cluttered lifestyle,” Rossi says. “It used to be just one generation thinking this way, but it’s everybody now.”
Less stuff, less stress
The emphasis on simplicity is not just about esthetics. Homeowners are realizing that owning too much stuff, and dealing with the clutter that can inevitably cause, can be a source of stress.
According to a 2011 survey conducted by Russell Research and Rubbermaid, 91 percent of respondents said they are overwhelmed at least some of the time by the amount of clutter in their house, while 88 percent said they want less clutter. Clutter can be so overwhelming that almost half of homeowners surveyed said their homes can be so cluttered they will not even invite friends over.
Space is limited
For many homeowners, the choice to have more stuff is just not an option.
“Real estate is starting to climb up again,” Rossi says. “Space is at a premium for people, so a lot of people are downsizing.”
Other homeowners prefer the live-simpler option of downsizing to a smaller house.
Rossi said baby boomers are moving away from the opulence and heavy, carved furniture popular in the past. “They don’t want the upkeep,” she said, adding that the younger generation agrees. “They want simple.”
Form follows function
Fortunately for homeowners, an emerging trend in home design is a focus on minimalism and simplicity.
Instead of a home filled with copious amounts of furniture, art and accessories, each more detailed and elaborate than the last, home designers are now encouraging fewer simple, clean-lined furniture pieces that support a handful of thoughtfully-chosen focal points.
“Homeowners are not buying these china cabinets anymore, all this heavy stuff,” says Anita Catsman, a Baer’s interior designer based in North Palm Beach. “They are buying more focal point pieces, like main pieces of art work. It’s a nicer, cleaner look.”
Quality versus quantity
Downsizing means making the difficult choice of deciding what stays and what goes. This applies not just to the objects that can clutter your home, but the objects that make up your home’s interior design, which can include furniture, art work and accessories.
Interior designers suggest taking a crucial look at not just the things you decide to get rid of, but the things you decide to keep as well.
“If people want their life simpler and not have so much clutter, everything should have a purpose,” says Helene Brown, a Baer’s interior designer.
An outside eye
Deciding what to keep and what not to keep can be daunting. That is where the objective eye of a professional — like an interior designer or design consultant — can help.
“Call your local Baer’s Furniture store and talk to a designer,” says Janet Graham, an interior designer for Baer’s Furniture. “They can come to your house and help you take out pieces that won’t work.”
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