Myquillyn Smith is the bestselling author of The Nesting Place, a book about embracing your limitations (lack of decorating experience, lack of funds, etc.) and learning to create a comfortable and friendly space anyway. She’s all about the thrift store buys and DIY projects. Her style is very “homey on a budget.”
But Smith takes a slightly different approach in Cozy Minimalist Home. She explains what cozy minimalism is in the first section of the book and how she arrived at it.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.
While moving into a smaller house—the first space her family has ever owned and not rented—it finally clicked for her that she had too much stuff. She had been storing extra furniture, decor, and various trinkets and tchotchkes, all with the assumption that “someday” she would use them. Each piece had been purchased “at a bargain,” sure, but all that junk was taking up her precious space and time. She realized that instead of being able to relax and enjoy her home, she had become a manager of stuff, constantly tending to the storage and upkeep of all her Things.
The freedom of keeping only what we truly needed, loved, and used sounded so extravagant and risky and glorious.
So she began to embrace minimalism—not in a strict “less stuff for less stuff’s sake” sort of way, but more in a “just enough to reach a goal” way. She filled her home with functional and beautiful pieces that served her family and friends, and got rid of the rest. The steps she went through to know what to keep and what to toss make up the rest of the book.
After the intro, Cozy Minimalist Home is divided into seven sections that are basically seven steps for decorating each room of your home. Smith says to go through each section in order without skipping. The sections are:
- Look for inspiration (mostly using Pinterest).
- Find a place to start.
- Let a room “speak” to you (empty each room until you have a vision of how you want it to function).
- Find the best placement for your furniture.
- Add rugs, drapes, and lights—in that order.
- Decorate your walls (with paint and wall art).
- Add accessories.
The info in these sections is interesting and mostly helpful, though I wouldn’t say it’s revolutionary. I do like her advice to decorate a room in the specific order she lays out. I’ve already been doing this, but I’ve definitely had to figure it out on my own (and there have been many mistakes along the way…). For young and inexperienced home owners, this book will help eliminate a lot of the guesswork that leads to “teaching moments.”
My only minor complaint is that the religious talk can be a little much sometimes. Smith has good information to share, but talking about Jesus as the Ultimate Artist, or only referring to Christmas and Easter when you talk about holiday decorating, automatically excludes a whole bunch of people—which seems odd for a book that emphasizes the importance of welcoming and accepting everyone into your home. Not a dealbreaker, just a little pushy and exclusionary.
Still, I enjoyed Cozy Minimalist Home. Smith comes across as very friendly and down-to-earth, and, most important, I like her advice.