They say a home reflects its owner’s personality. It sounds like a cross between complicated pseudoscience and high-level detection, but it’s really surprisingly simple. Men and women decorate differently, yes? Bachelors and married men have different looking homes, right? What about age? Would, say, the home of a 15 year-old student look very different from that of a man in his early 60s? What about sick people, or someone with untidy habits?
You may not be able to take one glance at someone’s curtains and determine their profession and the names of their last three romantic partners, but a casual look at someone’s décor will definitely tell you a lot about them.
Now, what would you expect in a minimalist’s home? Many people wrongly associate minimalism with having a bare home, or having everything be white. None of this is required. Your home can be fully furnished, in colors ranging from green to black. Minimalism is about simplicity, and no colors are complicated.
In this article, we’ll share some easy-to-implement minimalist house ideas that’ll help you turn a cluttered home into a thing of beauty. Take out your notebook and put on your gloves – because we’re about to get started!
How to keep things simple
Okay, so minimalism is about simplicity. Got it. How do you make your home simple? Where do you draw the line between simple and complicated? How simple is too simple?
Simple, the way I understand it, means: “what is necessary, and nothing more.”
Where do you draw the line between simple and complicated? Ask yourself whether something is really, truly needed.
If you find yourself removing things that you need for the sake of simplicity, then you’re crossing the line and heading into “too simple” territory.
We’ve all seen those pictures of “minimalist rooms” which seem to have nothing except a table and a laptop. The room is entirely white, and a coffee cup is optional. That’s unrealistic and Instagram-ish. We all know that a functional room or office needs a lot more. You need a laptop charger, for example. A bottle of water. The room will have a window, lights, switches. You’ll have a couple drawers to store odds and ends. You’ll have a few electronic devices (like your phone and the AC remote) lying around. That’s okay. That’s minimalistic too.
Keep what you need, and try to make things look as neat as possible. That’s both minimalistic and simple.
Minimalist room ideas
- Try to keep your drapery minimal. Drapery is often what makes rooms look “heavy” and soft. Keeping them minimal will get you off to a strong start. You can also consider opting for light, cool colors like white, green and grey that look minimalistic. A red duvet, for example, would catch the eye and stand out a lot more than a grey one.
- If you’re in the building stage, try to build your wardrobe into a niche in the wall. The finished look will be neater. Instead of a large cupboard bulging out into the room, you’ll instead have just the doors. To avoid having the wardrobe jut out on the other side, create it in a wall shared between your room and the next – this way you can build the other room’s wardrobe in the same area and use any leftover space for something like a study desk. Clean corners all round.
- Try not to pack too much furniture into the room. The aim is to have the space feel light and look simple, and a furniture-heavy layout wouldn’t fulfill either. Do you actually need a dresser, a vanity table and low drawers running the length of the room? Try to make furniture multi-use. Foldable furniture that can be tucked out of sight when not in use is also an idea you can look into.
- One mistake people often make when opting for minimalist décor is that they assume everything has to be a solid color. White is great for minimalism, there’s no doubt, but it’s not necessary. If you really like having polished wooden furniture with the wood grain showing, rock with it. As long as the house isn’t cluttered and untidy overall, the result should be minimalistic. One great idea is to choose solid colors throughout the room but have one small section (say, one wall or just the floors or ceiling) be patterned. Play it right and it’ll become the perfect highlight.
Minimalist design ideas for the living room
- The living room often has a lot of wires – from the TV, the fridge, the music system, whatever. One easy way to blend them in is to paint them the color of the wall. However, if you can afford it, consider encasing them in a slim plastic casing that attaches to the wall. This’ll be a lot less visible, and the resulting look will be way neater.
- Avoid having trinkets on display. Unless they’re something you’re particularly proud of, they rarely add much to the home’s appearance, and they collect dust. The complicated lines, colors and textures also make them very un-minimalistic.
- Consider having an open (i.e., door-less) kitchen. The trend’s picking up now, and I’m completely in love with it. I think it’s generally a great idea to have as few walls in the home as possible. After all, it’s your personal home – do you really need walls to maintain privacy while there? Especially in the case of a kitchen, walls add very little.
- Floor-to-ceiling windows are absolutely stunning. They’re easy to clean, look gorgeous, and they let in a lot more natural light. They are a minimalist’s dream. Don’t use glass where unnecessary or where it’ll add visual noise, however – like for instance in shelves, for unnecessary partitions, or in cabinet doors.
- Avoid having visual clutter. This includes the patterns and textures you use, so make your décor decisions wisely. For example, avoid a patterned couch or a large bookcase with the wood grain showing. Also understand the difference between noisy textures and patterns, and a highlight. The former ruins minimalism, while the latter complements it.
- You want simplicity, peace, quietness – so aim for symmetry. Imagine a wall with a door on one end and a couch up against the other. No matter how you decorate the room, this lack of symmetry will catch the eye and spoil the look. Carefully plan your living area so it’s symmetrical. This is especially important when using a highlight, because the highlighted wall or item will stand out and catch the eye. Make sure it’s perfectly symmetrical.
General minimalist house ideas
- The minimalist aesthetic is light, airy, and simple. So when choosing paint go for something that matches this theme. You don’t have to stick to white, but whatever color you choose, go for a light shade. So for example, a pale peach, mint green, light blue, pale yellow – these are all colors that’ll work with the theme. Make sure that the color you choose goes with the furniture, however. Mint green paint, for example, may not work very well with polished wooden furniture.
- When designing your home, don’t let the aesthetic be your sole focus. Remember that minimalism isn’t just about appearance; it’s a lifestyle. Take a step towards a minimalist life by making sure your home is functional, efficient and easy to clean. Don’t leave unnecessary gaps, make sure the furniture is cleanly designed and doesn’t have any odd shapes, crevices and textures that’ll be hard to clean. One of my friends has a mini-cupboard with a cute floral pattern and it looks great, but it’s a devil to clean.
- If you’re constructing your house, choose your window design and grilles wisely. In my home, for example, I have window grilles that are curved and vaguely fish-shaped. It’s an interesting shape, but not very minimalistic. Go for simple square panels and a straight grille pattern – either vertical lines or horizontal. Complicated or unconventional designs are also often harder to clean.
- Keep the architecture simple and clean. If your home hasn’t been built yet, keep the design simple. No fancy domes, pillars, arches and such. They may make the space look grand, but they’re difficult to clean and often look too intricate to be minimalistic. They’re also fairly expensive, so you’ll be saving some money!
- The minimalist aesthetic is very modern. So if you have old furniture that’s starting to look a bit elderly, we’d suggest investing in some new furniture. Bear your lifestyle and our tips in mind, and buy something that’s functional, simple, doesn’t take more space than needed, and which looks minimalistic. Plastic is a material that doesn’t work very well with minimalism, so avoid plastic chairs and such, for one.
We hope these minimalist house ideas were helpful! We’ve tried to include things that can be done at different stages of the home building/renovation process, so there’s something in the article for everyone. If you’re new to minimalism and don’t understand the concept fully yet, this article a beginner’s guide to minimalism may help. It will help you understand the philosophy behind the lifestyle, and gives some tips on how to get started.