Grounded, meditative, natural , and calm. The Minimal Zen style is all about creating a space that feels peaceful, harmonious, and organic. Neutral and earth-tone colors with few embellishments are featured. Furniture is usually low to the ground and very functional, without ornamental touches or curved lines. Most décor takes the form of living plants and natural objects such as stones, grasses, and reeds, even sand or gravel. Often, Minimal Zen décor incorporates running water into the environment, as well as large windows if an inspiring natural view is available.
Stark emptiness and order is a hallmark of this style. Large walls without pictures, open horizontal surfaces, streamlined or even hidden appliances. Each object in a minimal environment has a distinct and useful purpose; knickknacks and tchotchkes have no place here. Everyday living necessities are stowed away for a clean, uncluttered look. In quilt making, this translates to large amounts of background or negative space.
The earthy colors of Minimal Zen style reflect nature: cream, beige, brown, olive green, black, gray, charcoal. Using only one or two of these colors, in varying shades, throughout the space is effective. The resulting environment is soothing and cohesive, allowing those who visit to experience a calm and restful place without visual distraction.
For a focal point, use one infusion of a saturated color – often a leaf green, kumquat orange, or bold red. If a focal color is used, it is important to use only this color, and only a few times, limit the palette of the rest of the room to one or two layered earth tones. Be mindful of this when selecting fabrics for your quilt to determine if a focal color should be used in the quilt itself or through accessories.
When choosing fabrics, use restraint. Consider using solids, linens, and organic textures. Avoid florals, whites, and bold geometrics. The goas is to use fabrics that have subtle differences in print, color, or texture, so that they blend and flow together and direct the eye across the entire composition. Strive for harmony. If a focal color is used in the quilt itself, consider using a single tonal print (and use it sparingly.)
To achieve a modern Minimal and less Zen look, more than one focal color can be used. Applying additional colors to a minimal design adds more modern energy, and removes some of the calmness and Zen feel. If this technique is used, I suggest using solid or near-solid fabrics. Adding prints and patterns can create visual clutter.