Maybe you've long had visions of coming home from a busy day of work and relaxing in your minimalist home, but just don't know where to begin when it comes to achieving this goal. Perhaps you feel like it's simply too late to become a minimalist—after all, what will you do with all of your stuff?
Well, think again: designers prove that it is more than possible to slowly but surely embrace a minimalist design aesthetic, and lucky for us, provided eight actionable steps to incorporate a bit of simplicity into their homes.
Keep the following tried and true design tactics in mind, and you'll most definitely be able to live more like a minimalist. Cut the excess for good.
Meet the Expert
- Lindye Galloway runs a full-service interior design studio and online shop based in Costa Mesa, CA.
- Joshua Smith is the founder of Joshua Smith Inc., with studios in Palm Springs, NYC, Vermont, and Houston.
Select Furniture Pieces That Serve Double Duty
Minimalist homes certainly aren't packed with furniture, and pieces that do make the cut will therefore need to be ultra-utilitarian.
"Furniture pieces that have hidden storage and are multi-purpose are the key to a minimalist home," designer Lindye Galloway explains. "These types of pieces allow for less bulk to be in the space and properly hide any additional items or clutter."
Ottomans with lidded storage make for excellent seating options when guests stop by while also serving as side tables or footrests. Meanwhile, items such as throw blankets can easily be tossed inside for safekeeping. Galloway also appreciates console tables that can easily turn into desks.
Designer Joshua Smith is also a proponent of such furniture pieces. "Leaving negative space for the eyes to rest means the mind can rest as well," he says. "These are pieces such as baskets or wicker chests with lids, which add a touch of texture while concealing the clutter."
Include Green Friends and Natural Elements
Plants are more than welcome in minimalist spaces, so if you can't live without your green friends, don't worry—they will shine in your new, pared-down home.
"Plants are an easy way to accessorize a room without adding more décor or furniture that could take away from the minimalist impact," Galloway notes.
Smith expresses similar views. "Natural elements are always a must in my more minimalist designs that may involve natural woods or large crystals," he says. "They add beauty while raising the vibe of the space."
Clear Out Clutter
Cutting the clutter is, of course, an essential step for those looking to embrace minimalist interior design. "It's time to let go of things you no longer need or want," Smith states.
This pertains to more than just home décor. Stay mindful about parting with clothing items, beauty supplies, and kitchenware that is simply taking up space. "For inspiration, take a look in your closet: if you have not worn something in a year, you probably won't wear it again," Smith says. "It's okay to start slow when letting go."
Plus, saying goodbye to excess belongings can result in major feelings of accomplishment. As Smith says, "Notice how you feel with the creation of more space and the good feeling you get from dropping items off at a donation site." Doing good for others really does pay off.
Embrace the "One In, One Out" Rule
It's astonishing how much one person can acquire in a short span of time. The empty kitchen drawers, bedroom closet, and bathroom cupboards from when you first moved in are somehow full of nonessentials and unused products collecting dust. Even when you can't see it, this "stuff" is cluttering your headspace and taking up valuable room in your home–there is no better time to clear out that junk drawer.
You've likely heard your friends who are small space dwellers praise the "one in, one out" rule, and it's a key lesson to live by if you seek a more minimalist home. For example, every time you bring home a new pair of shoes, an older one has to be added to the donation pile (or tossed if it's truly seen better days).
"This can help create balance in the space and avoid things suddenly feeling cramped over time," Smith says. "Always leave space for everything to breathe energetically."
Mindfully Add Accessories
On a related note, there's no need to display accent pieces just for the heck of it, and our designers agree—Smith advises that you shouldn't be afraid of empty walls. There are other ways to incorporate accent pieces into your home that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
"Trays on coffee tables or dressers add a decorative element and a splash of style while also corralling the items we need in daily life," Smith shares. Galloway agrees. "Less is more, and be thoughtful when curating," she notes.
Unsure what to do about pieces that were gifts but just don't correspond with your new, more minimalist lifestyle? Take photos of them for memory's sake and then add them to the donation pile so that someone else can provide them with a new home.
Remember the Power of Lighting
"In all spaces—and especially minimalist spaces—light is everything," Smith says. "Let the light shine in! From natural light to ambient softer light, you can create various moods with your lighting plan."
Don't plan to rely solely on overhead fixtures in your space; make sure to stock up on table lamps and task lamps as well. Keep drapery nice and airy; a minimalist home is not the place for ultra-thick, ornate, or bold colored curtains.
Keep It Simple
When selecting pieces for a minimalist design, Galloway finds herself prioritizing simple shapes and neutral monochromatic colors. "Both are visually pleasing without being too busy, but add great interest and warmth into a space," she notes.
Embrace the Journey
Last but not least, remember that like all design projects, no minimalist space is going to come together immediately. "Creating a minimalist home doesn't have to be achieved overnight," Smith says. "Think of it as more of a process."
Working your way through each of the above steps one by one will most definitely pay off in the long run.