By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
What I call the ″empty-refrigerator look″ appears to be taking over the decorating world! What is that look? Simply open the refrigerator door of a minimalist and peer inside.
You’ll see white walls, trays — maybe of stainless steel or aluminum — and clear plastic drawers. And on one of the shelves might be a tall, slim glass jar of olives and carton of milk. There may even be a lemon or lime in one of those clear plastic drawers. Such as refrigerator has not been stocked by a maximalist, that’s for sure.
Is it any surprise that the owner who likes an almost-empty fridge might also like a home with a similar minimalist sensibility? I’ve seen the trend especially prevalent in apartments and condominiums occupied by minimalists. They like their spaces to be almost empty and definitely uncluttered, except, perhaps, for a scented candle or two.
The empty-refrigerator look might say something else about its occupant: It’s easy to move from residence to residence, and there’s little worry about losing much, decor-wise, to robbers. There really is nothing to steal, unless the perpetrators haul out the sectional sofa or the glass-topped coffee table.
I may be exaggerating a bit, but the model apartments I’ve seen lately definitely say the empty-fridge look is well entrenched, especially in South Florida.
Now, what else does the look say? It says that the occupants have little interest in picking out a china pattern for display or, for that matter, a favorite color for the living room walls. White is a far safer bet, it seems.
White rooms, of course, have been around for years, of course. I think about the glamour days of actress Jean Harlow and her white-satin sofas, which usually weren’t entirely white but trimmed, maybe, in gold or silver.
So where does this leave the maximalists and their refrigerators? Open their fridges and you might to see the plastic bins stocked with oranges, apples, pears, and salad greens, with bottles of cranberry juice and pineapple juice on the shelves. My point is, you’ll see color!
If you have a preference for the empty-fridge look in your home, be aware that uninterrupted expanses of white can be a little disconcerting.
Why not add a little sparkle to your white sectional with an array of colorful cushions? There are so many options in stores and online — solids, prints and stripes. They’ll add welcome visual interest without overwhelming your minimalist look.
Consider a similar color punch in the art you choose for your walls, the vase that adorns your sleek white sideboard and the glass bowl that is centered on your coffee table.
I have a friend who is an empty-fridge person, and for sparkle he painted all the doors in his one-bedroom Palm Beach condo a bright color. The inside of the front door was painted tangerine orange, the door to the powder room was strawberry pink and his own bedroom door was navy-skipper blue. And for the bathroom door? Sunshine yellow! I loved his creative use of color, which only served to complement his overall decorating preference.
For generations, people from all over the world have been painting the front doors of their homes, so why not the inside doors as well? Minimalism does not demand a lack of joy and color. Be thoughtful with your colorful touches and you and your guests won’t be relegated to rooms as visually cold as an empty refrigerator.