How to Adopt a Minimalist Decorating Style in Your Home

Jon Fesmire |

A minimalist decorating style is so simple it should almost be self explanatory. However, it’s not what most of us are used to. Why, then, would you want to adopt minimalist decor for your home?

You may not realize it, but clutter has a distracting effect. Even places that aren’t cluttered, but have a lot of visual interest, such as walls with many paintings, rooms with patterned furniture, and curios on shelves, can distract the mind. In a minimalist environment, you’ll feel more like you have a clear head because there’s less to distract you. Such environments are relaxing and for many, conducive to getting a lot of work done.

Keep in mind that these strategies can work in your home or work office as well.

The Novel vs Short Story Approach

As a writer, this analogy came to me for how to begin your minimalism efforts. Do you approach the entire house at once, like a writer setting out to edit a novel, or one room at a time, like a writer setting out to edit a short story collection?

This is something you will have to decide for yourself. You can either tackle one step of this process for your entire home, then go to the next, and the next, or you can start with converting one room to a minimalist look at a time. I suggest the latter, as this will give you a sense of accomplishment at each stage and a place to relax.

Start with Furniture

Your furniture gives structure to your living space, and things like couches, beds, and desks take up more room than other items. Think of furniture as setting a tone.

First, how much furniture does each room actually need? Does your living room need a couch, three recliners, and two coffee tables? Sell, donate, or otherwise get rid of those things you don’t need. One couch, one table, and one recliner may be all you need in your living room.

Next, consider the style of your furniture. Ornate designs and floral patterns have a place in many places, but don’t fit into a minimalist look. For that, we want simple designs in subdued colors, preferably items with one or two colors only. If your current furniture isn’t so simple looking, that’s all right. You can always replace pieces later.

One of the nice things about reducing the amount of furniture you have to what is essential is that you’ll be able to buy better quality furniture. For example, you can have a real wooden bookcase rather than one primarily made of particle board. Opt for simple, quality furniture.

Keep Surfaces Clear

Tables, and desks should have only what they need on them. Put your belongings out of sight in cupboards, cabinets, and drawers. You should have a set place for everything, making things easy to find. Keep books and DVDs on bookshelves, but nothing else.

The floor should be clear save for furniture and maybe a throw rug. One of the wonderful things about a minimalist home is that there’s lots of floor space, which makes every room seem bigger.

You can add a little bit. For example, on the coffee table, you may want a plant or a small statue, and you may want a plant in the middle of the kitchen table.


Minimalist houses have nearly bare walls. Not completely bare, however. Two simple pictures per room work well to bring just enough feeling of home. By simple, I mean images that don’t look too busy, with many visual elements vying for attention.

Storage Areas

After you’ve converted the main rooms of your house, check your storage areas. Chances are, you’ll want to declutter them a bit, too. You might want to put items that you want, but don’t use frequently, into self storage, making extra room in your home. Or, you may simply want to organize your home storage area more efficiently. Your garage may not end up with the same minimalist look as your home, but you’ll likely want to improve it.

Other Considerations

Minimalist rooms look great with a restricted color pattern. For example, in one room, your couch and loveseat may be one shade of dark blue, while the rug and curtains are another, while the walls are white.

Also, go for subdued colors. You shouldn’t feel like anything in your home is screaming at you visually.

A minimalist home or office is great for working, or relaxing, with a clear head. These suggestions should help you get started on creating such an environment today.