A simpler way to live with your stuff

The Surrey Hotel penthouse suite is streamlined.

Minimalism is not for everyone. We love our stuff. Our stuff is who we are. It’s our lives in the form of objects. Mementos and art are what makes a space our home. We don’t have to live in an empty space in denial of who we are, though. The current thinking in design is simplicity, meaning having both your stuff and your space  — in moderation.

“Minimalism is extreme paring back so that there is one large concept, few materials and a very sparse visual excitement,” says Lauren Rottet, founder of international architecture and design company Rottet Studio. “Simplicity can be full of life, color and collection, but it cannot be overcluttered or overworked.”

Elegantly livable aesthetics can be seen in Rottet’s recent overhaul of Manhattan’s Surrey Hotel, where boutique black and white is swapped for a muted palette of magnolia, brown and gray.

Unlike minimalism, simplicity isn’t about denial. It’s about comfort, just without the excess and, well, junk!

“Think about your kids having to clean out your house when you leave it,” adds Rottet. “Would the objects be collectibles, or worth something? Or would they cost more to haul away in a dumpster?”

Show off your possessions in a neat way

“Keep things simple and fresh, sort and categorize,” advises Rottet. “Take all of your glasses and glass objects, for example, and arrange them by color. Collectables could be neatly arranged in rows or by color or type. This is visually interesting and full, but minimal in the sense that it has been culled.”

Simple is sustainable

Simplicity is about cherishing what you have without coveting more and more.

“Be minimal in your approach and slow to purchase,” advises Rottet. “Make a home feel fabulous with just a little bit of art, rugs, furniture and some flowers. But each object has to be important or at least important to you. [Start] with being careful about what you buy.”


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