If you’re wanting a minimalist aesthetic and struggling to get there- make sure you have actually embraced minimalism.
It’s too hard to achieve the look of less when the cupboards and closets are overflowing. *wink wink*
Ok- let’s assume you’ve already decluttered the excess, you have only the essentials left in your home and you’ve established some good routines to keep your home tidy.
So, how do we decorate?
A minimalist style is airy
When you’re picking out furniture, a minimalist style has an openness to it. Most decorators rely on mid-century-modern style furniture because you can see the floor under the furniture- couches, chairs, even TV stands have sleek legs with open space beneath the stand.
Being able to see the floor keeps the room feeling light, airy, and open.
Furniture legs and cushions are straight with the detail in the shape of the overall piece, rather than intricate details.
In minimalist decor, colors are typically muted
The decor is often light colors (white and grey tones), with spots of natural color- green plants and natural wood tones to give a sense of warmth to the space.
Why light, muted tones?
Because light colors are generally more calming. The brighter the color, the more energetic we feel, and when people are designing a minimalist space, they are aiming for something serene and calm.
Think of a spa- everything is chosen to add a calm feeling to the atmosphere of the room.
Add pops of color
The base of minimalist decor is going to be neutral tones, but you can add interesting pops of color around the room.
Remember that less is more- a few pieces of art on the walls with color, a plant, a useful basket, even a piece of furniture can spice up a room without making it feel busy.
Do all minimalist decorate this way?
No – most minimalists DON’T decorate in a minimalist style.
If you take some time to browse through a few real-life minimalist home tours, you’ll see that most minimalist simply keep the decor they enjoy- they just own less stuff in general.
I personally LOVE bright pops of color- and I have like a million kids (ok, six- but it feels like a million) so having a bunch of white furniture and potted plants would create way more stress and work for me on a daily basis.
To create an instant minimalist feel decrease items
My grandmother arranged flowers, and when she was instructing me on how to make a beautiful arrangement, she would say “Always use less than you think you should.”
If you’re looking at your room and wanting to create a minimalist feel- get rid of some of the furniture in it. Get down to the minimal amount. Only what you need for daily function.
It’s going to feel strange to remove a chair, a coffee table, and a bookcase- but having more open space and no crowding, gives that open airy feeling you’re looking for.
Have a home for things
We all still have stuff. Even when we get down to the essentials, we still have things we need to be able to put away.
Having designated places for items to belong helps keep them out of the open spaces.
Pick out furniture items that help you store the things you need.
If you have decided to keep books, having a cabinet that closes and hides all the books gives the room a minimalist feel- because all the items are hidden away.
Having adequate storage is important. It’s tempting to purchase smaller cabinets and have fewer cupboards, but be realistic with yourself on the number of items you own.
For me, it’s been easier to have a few empty drawers that I can use if I need to than it was to have a small cabinet and all the drawers packed tight. Being able to easily put things in their place means I will actually do it.
The minimalist style keeps things hidden away
Clear counters, clear tables, empty surfaces- they are that way because the things that are used, have a place to belong- behind closed doors.
In the kitchen, that means keeping the appliances in the cupboards instead of on the counters.
In the bedroom, that means making sure all the clothes, shoes, and accessories fit in the closet or the dressers.
In the living room, that means having a place for all the media, books, and anything stored there, that can be closed or covered so it’s not seen.
Make sure you enjoy the items in your home
The basis of minimalism is to only have things that help you live the life you want to live- not a past life, not a future life, but the life you want to live right here, right now.
And if you want to live in the present- you have to enjoy the things that you are surrounded by.
We don’t want to keep things out of obligation- we don’t truly enjoy it if we’re keeping it because “we have to.”
Think of your own personal style, what types of art are you drawn to?
What type of feeling do you want to have when you look at the art in your home?
Lighting is important
When you’re designing a minimalist space, the functional items need to be beautiful.
Lighting is a way to bring design into the space without adding clutter. Lights add warmth and life to the room, so choose a beautiful lamp, does the job, and also can be a piece of art.
Fluorescent and LED bulbs can give a cooler feeling, so to give a warm and calm atmosphere, aim for Edison bulbs, or warm/yellow “natural” light bulbs.
Texture helps give a cozy feeling
Having all the furniture in the room sleek leather, with nothing else is going to make the room feel sterile.
Texture can give the eyes something to rest on without overwhelming the senses, so it still feels calm.
Natural fiber rugs, faux sheepskin on the back of the couch, and macrame wall coverings can give a cozy feeling that is fairly subtle.