Al Gore, with an enormous pile of documents covering his desk.
The desk of Albert Einstein, who famously suggested that an empty desk reflected a blank mind.
Painter Jackson Pollock in his workspace.
Barack Obama in his community office before entering politics.
Martin Luther King Jr in an office full of books.
Chef & presenter Nigella Lawson amongst a very full collection of publications.
Obama after being elected president, his feet resting on the famous desk of the oval office.
The office and desk of Ray Eames, the designer of the famous Eames Chair.
Steve Jobs working from him home office.
Musical writer Susan Sontag at a desk full of ideas.
Comedian, writer and producer Tina Fey in a very cluttered space.
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How To Design Around Plain Space In Your House
Negative space defines good design. It’s often the most restrained spaces that are the most beautiful.
Reducing clutter and simplifying your living spaces can elevate your home. In Japanese culture, where interior design is exceptional, tasteful and pervasive; the concept of negative space is integral. It connects you to the wider world and prevents you feeling that your walls are closing in on you.
The trick is to decide how you’re going to frame your empty space. You can effect this through where you place your furniture.
It’s All About Balance
Try to look for negative space opportunities that will balance the room.
Train yourself to look for opportunities to create space. Will that cluttered table look better cleared off?
Look for spots that would look more sophisticated and simple if elements were removed.
Think Of Blank Space As Another Piece of Furniture
There’s a difference between intentional blank space and space you’ve just overlooked. A great way to think about this is to imagine blankness as a piece of furniture.
Where can you place it? What does it go well with? What does it clash with?
Give Space A Chance
Open spaces won’t always be right for you. Experiment, give things a try.
If, after a few days, the negative space hasn’t freshened the atmosphere of the room, then fill it with something. But keep in mind that empty space is always a tool in your arsenal.
Blank Space Opens Up A Room
Plenty of factors influence the feeling of size in a room. Blank space is one of the most important (as well as lighting & colour usage).
Rooms that embrace emptiness look much larger. Keep this in mind if you’re designing for a small space.
Use Mirrors To Add Detail to a Sparse Room
It can be difficult swapping over to emptiness and spaciousness. When we’re designing a space, we tend to prefer to load it up with objects to create an effect.
If you’re really struggling to pare back, a mirror can be a great way to get the best of both worlds. Mirrors add detail to a room without filling it with another distracting object.
They also make the openness feel more intentional, and they increase the feeling of space.
Blank Spaces Call Attention to Structure
If you’re in a house with a unique structure, open space can turn that into a feature.
Keeping hallways and entryways cleared can guide attention to the structure of the building itself.
Filled Spaces Are Often Cluttered Spaces
We all get attached to our belongings. But sometimes we end up attached to things that aren’t useful or meaningful to us.
Think about the spaces in your home. Do you really need the things that fill them, or is it just easier to leave them full?
Embrace the simplification of the spaces you live in.