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Minimalist Decor: Living Room and Dining Room

Welcome to my living room!

Sorry you can’t see too much. Photographing the insides of houses has never been a strong point for me.

I think for the right shot I would need a wide angle lens…

But since I’m an minimalist and all…

Okay, moving on.

What do you picture when you think of “minimalist living room”?

Stark white walls with creamy white trim? White chandelier? Simple furniture? Nothing but a chair?

They sound nice to me, they really do. But with 7 people in the house, white is just not practical. White couch? White rug? It wouldn’t take long to be brown.

So, I’ve gone with the flow of our life and most of our decor is…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…


Isn’t that exciting?

For some time I thought, well, when the kids are out of the house, then I’ll have white furniture. But let’s be realistic about this: My oldest is 16 and my youngest is 3. So when the youngest is 18, and off on his own (yes, that is the hope) our oldest will be 31. There is a good chance that we’ll have a couple grandkids by then or close to it and then what good would white furniture be? I’m going to want to have those grandbabies over as much as I can and if I can’t have white while the kids are growing up, am I going to have it while my grandkids are growing up?

So brown it is.

Okay, back to the decor side of it!

Limit it. There is no need to have a picture, coordinating sconces, candles and fake ferns clustered on each wall. It takes way too much time to keep them all dusted and clean!
Remove excess furniture. Just keep the pieces you use.

Keep it simple. Try to limit the number of walls with things on them. Keep it to one painting or family portrait. Just one adds more drama to it and makes the picture the focal point, rather than the do-dads and the arrangement.

Keep it functional. Hang things that you use on the wall. Like a guitar in the living room. It needs a place to rest anyway, why not make it something nice to look at when not in use? Not every decoration has to be functional- but you do need to really enjoy it. I love art- I have pieces of art it almost every room in our house, but I do keep half of the walls bare.

Keep open shelves open. Nothing defeats the minimalist look like open shelves with miscellaneous things stuffed in every which way. If this is not possible to keep it mostly empty, trade in the open shelves for storage pieces that can hide things away.

Use storage pieces. In our living/dining area we have 4 pieces of furniture that are nice to look at and have good function:
1. An old trunk for a coffee table. (Pictured above) This holds all our photo albums and board/card games.
2. An antique cabinet that holds a small TV and dvd collection. It is kept closed most of the time, and doesn’t look like we own a TV.
3. A window seat for seating at the dining room table, it holds jackets, coats, boots, etc.
4. A Storage shelf with baskets. (pictured to the right) This holds all of our odds and ends that don’t normally have a home: Electrical cords for laptops, charging cords, digital camera, etc. Table linens and napkins, kids toys and school & craft supplies.

Keep the floor open. No decorative baskets on the floor and avoid piles of shoes or stacks of books. The only thing sitting on the floor should be furniture.

Keep the windows open. Simple window coverings are the way to go. Basic shades, roman blinds, wooden shades and a simple curtain with grommets. Plain colors keep it from feeling cluttered. Keep them open as much as possible and let the natural light fill your home.

Keep surfaces empty. This is, I believe, the most appealing part of being a minimalist. I feel like I can breath when I see a clear table top and clear counters. Make sure everything has a home, so your surfaces can stay empty.

Color. Everyone is going to have different ideas of what is relaxing. Don’t be afraid of color. Even if you think of white when you think of minimalism, it doesn’t have to be white. There are no set rules to be a “true minimalist”. If you enjoy white- go white! If you enjoy color- get color! The point is to comfortable in your space, no one else can tell you what color you need.

And if necessary, go brown while the kids are little. *Wink*

Click here to tour my minimalist kitchen!

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I go live in my FREE Facebook Groups every weekday- feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group


  1. Raina Daniels on 10/06/2012 at 4:42 AM

    Great article. And brown isn’t so bad.

  2. Anonymous on 08/09/2013 at 7:20 PM


  3. Susan on 08/09/2013 at 7:45 PM

    Well, I went wild with color, cream on the walls with white trim, grey curtains and black loveseat and bed coverings. The dove grey curtains are raw silk and they block morning sun if I want to sleep past 6 am. I have an extensive art collection (it’s my last weakness), all framed in black. Everything in the studio must serve two purposes. Except the artwork, that just makes me smile.

    • Rachel on 08/09/2013 at 7:48 PM

      Sounds lovely Susan! I love art! I can be pretty picky, but I paint, so I need to figure out what I’m going to do with my artwork.

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