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Minimalist living: Interior design tips for a minimalist home

You only have to flick through an interior design magazine, watch an episode of Grand Designs, or scroll through a couple of Pinterest inspiration boards to see how popular minimalist interior design is. It's a restrained style of decorating that can require quite a bit of planning and upkeep. But it's worth the effort, as there is evidence to suggest that living in a clear and tidy space can reduce stress and even help you to live a more fulfilling life.

Here, we're going to explain how you can give your home a minimalist makeover. So, if you're interested in clearing your home (and mind) of unnecessary clutter, read on to find out more.

What is minimalist design?

The concept of minimalism first emerged in the art scene of New York in the early 1960s. The city's artists had grown tired of creating bright and abstract expressionist pieces that were supposed to convey a strong sense of emotion. So, to rebel against this, they began to produce sleek, geometric work that looked very different to what was traditionally accepted as aesthetically pleasing art.

Creatives like Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris spearheaded this change in attitude. They wanted to see how much could be stripped away from their creations without it compromising their purpose, and this is the principal that minimalism has been built on.

Minimalist interior design

It didn't take long for the minimalist trend to spread to other areas and industries, including fashion, music and, of course, interior design. Minimalist living spaces have been popular ever since.

If you're looking to decorate your home in a minimalist fashion, you should focus on creating a sleek and modern space that's free of unnecessary furniture, superficial decoration, and clutter. For a true minimal look, it's also best to pick a simple colour palette and hide everyday items away wherever possible. We'll explain exactly how you can do all of this below.

We're aware that everyone has their own sense of style, and this doesn't need to be compromised in the minimising process. Decorating your home in a minimalist way is simply about choosing the things you love, and giving them the space and attention that they deserve.

What are the benefits of having a minimalist home?

As well as being an interior design trend, minimalism is often considered to be a lifestyle choice. This is because there's evidence to suggest that living in a tidy, purposefully-decorated home can have a positive impact on your mood and attitude towards life. The fact that minimalist homes look sleek and stylish is a bonus.

As we've previously mentioned, creating and maintaining a minimalistic home can take a lot of planning and upkeep. So, what makes it worth it? Here, we're going to outline just some of the benefits to paring back your home's décor.

You'll have a calmer mind

Messy homes and workspaces can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed, according to Dr Sherrie Bourg Carter of Psychology Today. This means that, by keeping your home's décor simple and hiding clutter out of sight, you can help to make your home a much more relaxing place to live. This is likely to lower your stress levels significantly.

You'll find it easier to be productive

The more clutter you're surrounded by, the more likely it is you'll get distracted, according to a study carried out by Princeton Neuroscience Institute. This means that having a tidy, minimalist space can help you to focus and, in turn, become more productive. If you work from home, you're likely to find this especially helpful.

You could save money

The principals of minimalism are all about differentiating between what you do and don't need, so bringing this way of thinking into your home should help to deter you from buying unnecessary items. When your home has a minimalistic design, you shouldn't feel like you need more furniture, decorations, or art on your walls — going for a pared back look is the whole point. As a result, you should find that you shop less and save money.

You'll have less cleaning to do

Minimalist spaces are tidy by nature, so simplifying the design of your home can be a great way to cut down on the amount of time you spend cleaning. Think about how much of your life you currently spend reorganising your space and putting things away. By having a clear-out and going back to basics, you can dramatically reduce how much time you have to put into keeping your space presentable.

Your home will look incredibly stylish

We've covered how having a minimalist home can improve your mood, make you more productive, and reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning. But, there's no denying that minimalist spaces look great: they've been on-trend since the 60s, and there's no sign of their popularity wavering. So, not only can paring your home décor back make your life much easier, it'll show that you're in-the-know about interior trends, too.

How to decorate like a minimalist

There's an art to decorating a room in a minimalist way — you should keep things simple, but without creating an environment that's uncomfortable to live in. Here, we'll explain how you can create a minimalist home. Take these tips on board and you should have no trouble designing an attractive and relaxing space you're proud to live in.

Get rid of unnecessary clutter

You can choose the perfect colour palette, furniture, and home accessories but, if your home is full of unnecessary clutter, you'll still struggle to achieve a minimalistic look. So, having a huge clear-out should always be the first step if you're looking to decorate your home in a pared back way.

In order to slowly but surely clear your entire house of things you don't need, The Spruce recommends having five baskets or bins on hand:

  • One for things that need to be returned to their rightful place
  • One for items that need to be recycled
  • One for bits and pieces that need repairing
  • One to put rubbish in
  • One for items that you would like to donate

You can take these around your home as you declutter different areas and rooms. Then, while you aren't tending to one particular space, you can leave your containers in a cupboard and still sort things that you encounter when you aren't tackling a particular room.

It's important that you're thorough, so you should clear out and reorganise all of your drawers, cupboards, and even your medicine cabinet, if you have one. Eventually, there should be nothing in your house that you don't need, use, or cherish.

Stick to a simple colour palette

Despite what you might see in interior design magazines, minimalist décor doesn't have to be all white walls and black furniture — you can still use colour to express your personality and sense of style.

When you're picking out paint or wallpaper, light grey or beige would make a great choice, as these are neutral colours that are easy to build upon. But, they aren't your only options: a subdued shade of almost any colour will work well with complementary furniture. So, you can always go for something a bit more unusual if you prefer.

Once you've chosen your base colour — this will usually be the hue you're planning to paint your walls with — use it to create a tonal or harmonious palette. A tonal palette is made up of varying shades of the same colour. So, you could paint the walls of a room in a very pale grey, pick flooring in a slightly darker shade, and choose charcoal furniture. Alternatively, harmonious palettes combine hues that are close together on the colour wheel — blues and greens, for example.

Opt for minimalist furniture

Once you've rid your home of unnecessary clutter, your furniture will take centre stage. So, the likes of your sofas, bed, and dining room table will become focal points of the rooms they're in. This means you should look to invest in pieces that fit your minimalist theme perfectly.

Choosing furniture for a minimalist home is all about finding pieces that have a sleek and simple shape. The colour is also incredibly important, so you should decide on a palette for each room before you take the plunge and buy any furniture.

If you get bored of your home décor quite easily, we would recommend opting for furniture in neutral shades like white, grey, or beige. These colours are timeless and can work with a variety of different colour palettes. So, if you decide to repaint your walls or switch things up with a new set of soft furnishings, you won't have to splash out on a whole new set of furniture.

Multi-functional furniture comes into its own when you're creating a minimalist space, as it can help you to cut down on how many pieces you need in your home. So, it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for the likes of simple sofa beds, coffee tables with hidden storage, and beds with drawers. Clever storage solutions are especially handy, as they will allow you to hide plenty of your clutter out of sight, making your new minimalist way of life much easier to maintain.

Add warmth with soft furnishings

A common misconception is that minimalist homes are cold and sterile, but this doesn't have to be the case at all. It's easy to ensure that your home remains a warm and comfortable place to live by peppering your space with soft furnishings that complement the décor of each room. Curtains, scatter cushions, and rugs can also be used to add splashes of colour. Plus, you can replace these to update your décor in an easy and affordable way.

Rugs are particularly great for pulling a room together and helping to give your living space a cosy feel. Here at Rugs Direct, we offer a wide range of modern rugs, and many of these have a minimalist look that won't distract from your simple décor. Our Alpha, Koko, and Atlantic rug ranges are particularly well-suited to bringing some style to an otherwise pared back space.

Without the right balance of soft furnishings, a minimalist space might look cold and bare. If you aren't sure what size rug will work best in your living room, dining room, or bedroom, make sure you read our rug size guide before making a purchase.

Make sure you have plenty of storage

The minimalist properties you see online and in magazines mightn't seem liveable to you: there won't be shoes by the door, coffee cups out on the kitchen worktop, or papers piled up on a desk. But, there are people who live in pristine homes where everyday clutter is nowhere to be seen, and they aren't superhuman — they’ve just invested in smart storage solutions that can hide all of their bits and bobs. If you're looking to create a clean and tidy living space, we would recommend doing the same.

There are plenty of ways in which you can incorporate lots of storage into the design of your home without compromising on how it looks. We've already talked about how you should look for furniture with inconspicuous storage compartments, but you could pick out cupboards and chests of drawers that blend into your colour scheme, too. It's also worth seeing how you could repurpose or make the most of the shelves, drawers, and cupboards you already have. Then, you'll find it much easier to hide clutter away and maintain your minimalistic space.

Add interest with minimalist art

When creating a minimalist space, you don't have to shun artwork and decorations altogether — you just have to take great care in choosing pieces that will complement your chosen aesthetic. Placing a single vase of flowers on your coffee table or hanging one piece of minimalistic art in each room of your home will help to add some extra personality to your space. And, it's a great way to make your property feel homelier.

Add colour with plants

Incorporating house plants into the décor of your home is a great idea: they're beautiful and work wonderfully as decorative touches. They'll also do a great job of bringing colour to a room that is otherwise quite subdued.

The benefits don't stop there, either. House plants can also help to purify the air in your home, and reduce stress as well as promote wellbeing, according to the Royal Horticultural Society — the ideal match for a calm, uncluttered décor. So, we would highly recommend making them a part of your design plans.

There are lots of things you need to consider when giving your home a minimalist makeover. For example, you won't get the look you're after if your space is cluttered, and you'll need to use accessories to prevent your space from feeling too cold and sterile.

But, putting the effort into paring your home décor back is bound to be worth it — not only will your home look stylish and sophisticated, but it could even take a weight off your mind and help to boost your mood. No other interior design trend has that power!