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  • Writer's pictureBre Oriolo

Book Review: Cozy Minimalist Home

I (unsurprisingly) have quite the collection of home decor books. And I haven't read most of them. So I'm embarking on this journey to read them all. Thought I might as well pass along any great wisdom I gain from reading them. The information may even inspire you to read one or two. OR it might inspire you to try something in your own home. Either way, I hope you enjoy the insights.

I bought this book because the concept of "cozy minimalism" grabbed my attention. The two words are practically opposites. The author's POV, however, is that cozy doesn't have to mean cluttered. One big mistake people use is turning "cozy" into excess. Also, minimalist doesn't have to mean cold. After doing work in her own home, she simply felt more relaxed in spaces with less stuff. Then wrote this book for "helping you make house decisions using the filter of cozy minimalism."

One interesting thing author Myquillyn Smith shared in her book: "Recent scientific research has shown that the level of cortisol- a stress-response hormone- rises in women when we are faced with the excess of stuff in our homes." Instead of buying a bunch of little decor pieces, buy fewer quality pieces. When Smith talks of minimalism, she means focusing on the right stuff. She shares a quote from Joshua Becker, "Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them." Essentially, when you have less stuff, the stuff you have isn't competing for attention. I'm a big believer in creating negative space! So many of my clients feel like every blank space needs filled, and it doesn't. Your eyes need rest. This idea of editing the distracting things out is hard for so many. Like so many popular organization systems will tell you, let go of keeping stuff you MIGHT use or need later.

Left is before, right is after; look at the impact less stuff can make!

I enjoyed the humor Myquillyn sprinkled throughout the book. She tells us that defining our decorating style doesn't solve our problems. "We'd love to have an irresistable style name like Chunky Vintage Cottage Glam or Southern Traditional Primal...there are no stores devoted to French Coastal Rustic Vintage Farmhouse or Tropical Midcentury Boho with a touch of Industrial." Instead of relying on style alone, she recommends trying the following. One is to ask yourself how you want people to feel in your home. You might have a response like cozy or welcome. She also wants you to focus on one word that you never want people to feel in your home. For her the word was formal.

Her other suggestion is to try this: Pin 50-100 images on Pinterest. Don't think too much about what/why you're pinning. Just pin what you're drawn to. Ask a few friends (or your decorator!) to "read" your Pinterest board. Have them look through and write down what they notice. What are the repeating ideas and themes? I tried this on my own Pinterest board for wallpaper.

Here's what I noticed:

  1. I like bold, statement wallpapers. Oversized prints are a big yes for me!

  2. Animals and insects. Tigers, snakes, butterflies...

  3. I like leafy! Tropical, jungle, I'm here for it!

I'm not surprised by any of these things. Pinterest is just proof of what you are drawn to. I pinned the same wedding dress FOUR times without realizing it. Obviously I ended up buying that one, and without ever trying it on in store.

The author goes through the rest of the book giving step by step instructions for how to create the Cozy Minimalist look and feel in your own home. This is probably my most favorite quote I found in the book. Inspiration isn't about copying, it's about seeing how you can integrate something into your own space.

How will this book help you in working with an Interior Decorator?

This book is geared toward the DIYer. However, there are two key things that help in your work with an Interior Decorator:

  1. The concept of "less stuff" helps you understand the importance of editing things down in your home as you work on a new design. You can make more of an impact with less stuff.

  2. Having plenty of images saved to Pinterest (or Houzz, etc.) helps your decorator not only see your style, but also key elements you're drawn to.

Ever since reading this book, I've been looking around my own home, trying to edit and remove the little "distracting" things. I relate to the clutter indudcing anxiety, and strongly encourage clients to create more negative space. Already looking forward to my next decorating read. Stay tuned!

Want to see the rest of my Pinterest? Check it out here.

Want me to analyze your Pinterest board? Send a link to

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