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How to Decorate like a Minimalist

Minimalist interiors are popular for various reasons, but above all, for their ability to provide a clutter-free space that is calm and deeply relaxing. Minimalism in interior design takes on many forms. There is no single style that defines it. It can be Scandinavian, contemporary or even mid-century. But the basic philosophy that defines a minimalist interior for what it is, is that less is definitely more.

There is a subtle beauty and elegance in minimalist interiors.

Design: 0932 Design Consultants

Ultimately, a minimalist space is about getting to the minimum that you need to be comfortable. Things are stripped back, and reduced to the essentials. There is no excess; you have all you need in that space. If you’re thinking of embracing this design aesthetic, here’s how to do it:


1. Only the essentials, please

The basic principle of minimalist design is to pare it down to only what is absolutely necessary. No frills, no fuss – only what is functional. The idea of what is essential is different for everybody. For some, it could mean just a sofa and a coffee table in the living room. For others, it could be a sofa, a coffee table, a lounge chair and a piece of art hanging on the wall.

Edit out what you don’t need and keep to the essentials, but you can still find room for decor pieces in your minimalist home.

Design: Swiss Interior Design

Consider what you need carefully and think about what you can do without. Decorations can still play a part in your minimalist home. Think about decorating with items like mirrors, that are functional as well as ornamental. Also remember that living in a minimalist interior shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If you need a couple of cushions and a rug on your feet, include them.


2. Go with white, or something neutral

The key to minimalist interiors is to keep your colour scheme simple, and nothing says basic like an all-white palette. Not all whites were created the same, however. Creamier whites (e.g. eggshell) can provide a warmer look, while brighter whites that have bluish tints can offer a fresher appearance.

An all-white palette is the perfect canvas for a minimalist home.

Design: Arkhilite

While this basic hue is an obvious choice for minimalist interiors, anything neutral will work as well. Pair earthy tones if you want a warmer milieu, while wood surfaces can prevent your space from looking too sterile. Another popular scheme to go for is monochromatic – black-and-white interiors are modern and timeless, and they make a big visual impact. For starters, use black as accents in your furnishings and keep the rest of your surfaces white. Bring a pop of colour with plants or a vibrant hue like red or gold.

Use wood to invite warmth into the space and a mix of neutrals to create visual interest.

Design: Linear Space Concepts


3. You want more natural light

Minimalist interiors let in plenty of natural light into the spaces. That means not letting dark and heavy draperies get in the way. Instead, opt for light and airy day curtains. Plan for open spaces that allow daylight to filter through the different areas of the home, rather than closed-off zones that create dark nooks and crannies.

Bathe your interiors with daylight.

Design: 0932 Design Consultants

If your home isn’t blessed with abundant sunlight, artificial lighting can help. But keep things inconspicuous with indirect and recessed lights that hide the light source away from the eye, or go for clean geometric shapes (squares, rectangles, circles) and sleek lines (or curves!) if choosing pendants or lamps.

Or get help from artificial lighting.

Design: Department of Design


4. Invest in classic and versatile pieces

Minimalist designs aren’t about waste or excess, so investing in timeless pieces that never run out of style ensures that you won’t need to constantly update your furniture. Pick quality-made pieces from reputable furniture stores. Choose colours that are neutral and stick to simple forms that are not overly ornate and decorative.

No tackiness here: go for timeless pieces that can stand the test of time.

Design: Artistroom

Invest in multifunctional, collapsible and mobile pieces that can help you limit the amount of furniture you have in your space. Get a sofa that doubles as a daybed for guests, nesting tables that can be moved around the home to serve different uses, or a kitchen trolley that can function as a bar cart when needed.


5. Include various textures

Textures are a good way to introduce visual interest in your minimalist space. Textures can be introduced in your furniture, in soft furnishings like curtains and rugs, in flooring or wall coverings and even in home accessories. Experiment with different materials and try out varying patterns together.

Notice the layers of textures here. But thanks to their subtle tones, none of them steals individual attention. Everything is in harmony, while keeping the space from looking monotonous.

Design: 0932 Design Consultants

Once again, don’t go overboard. Stick with two, or even three, textures, and keep the overall palette neutral. Also consider the roughness and softness of textures. The former will invite a feeling of intimacy and warmth, while the latter tends to evoke a contemporary flair.

A plaid pattern here, a strip wood feature there and willowy soft curtains make for a visually interesting setting.

Design: 0932 Design Consultants


6. Clutter needs to be gone

Clutter-free spaces are a key component of minimalist designs. The epitome of calm and tranquillity, they also make for less distractions and easier housekeeping. In the kitchen, it would mean countertops free from bulky appliances and cookware. In the living room, it would mean getting rid of piles of old magazines lying around. For the bathroom, it would mean not cluttering your vanity top with copious amounts of makeup. You get the idea.

Your kitchen counters should only hold the bare minimum. Keep the rest in your cabinets.

Design: Ehka Studio

A clutter-free space can always fall back into a melange of mess over time so maintenance is important. Set aside intentional sessions over the course of a year to get rid of things and consider adopting the ‘one in, one out’ rule before you incorporate anything new at home. Always put items back to where they belong after use, and never leave them lying around on your surfaces. Lastly, plan for good concealed storage units around the home that help you hide away some of the clutter. Check our post here for the most innovative storage ideas (ever) for your home.

Include hidden storage to keep your spaces clutter-free.

Design: Museum Homes


7. It’s minimalist, not monastic

Remember that minimalist interiors aren’t monastic interiors – unless of course, you like that sublime aesthetic. Your home shouldn’t feel devoid of personality, overly empty, or like you were going for broke.

To prevent your space from looking overly sterile, decorate (with restraint, of course).

Design: Dezzo

Inject a jute rug on a concrete floor to create a sense of cosiness. Sneak in a muted shade of terracotta in an all-white bathroom. Display a bonsai plant at your dining table. Feature a Moroccan tile you bought from your travels on the walls of your bedroom. There are plenty of ways to prevent your space from looking scarce and sterile. Find the right balance, without going to either extremes.


8. Let things breathe

Finally, let things in your space breathe a little. Space your furniture out to create a sense of openness. Don’t make the mistake of getting only diminutive-sized furniture when doing so however! The key is to make sure your furniture is proportionate to your space. For smaller homes, forgo unnecessary furniture pieces to make sure the rest of your furniture are at an appropriate distance from one another.

Create an open feel by creating plenty of space between your furniture.

Design: Dezzo

Will you be embracing this pared-back aesthetic? Let us know in the comments!


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