Your home should be a place where you can kick back, unwind, and reset after a busy day. Implementing a cozy minimalist design scheme an be an excellent way to feel less visually stimulated and more at ease when you walk in the door. But if you're feeling a bit unsure as to how to go in this design direction because you don't want your space to appear too stark, don't be overwhelmed. By no means does a minimalist home have to feel barren and blah—we spoke with designers who shared their tips for keeping a space nice and tidy looking while still ensuring it feels welcoming and full of personality.
Meet the Expert
- Linda Mauck Smith is a co-owner and designer at BLDC Design.
- Amy Leferink is the owner and principal designer at Interior Impressions.
- Larisa Barton is the founder of Soeur Interiors.
Select Multifunctional Pieces
"Minimal spaces should include items that have more than one purpose," advises Linda Mauck Smith of BLDC Design. "For example, a bench can be used in many ways; a place to sit in the bedroom while dressing, an extra seat when guests visit, and even brought to the table for dining." Don't clutter up a room with furnishings that just aren't able to serve double duty when there are enough multifunctional items on the market to choose from.
Think About Light
Traditional overly heavy drapes aren't the way to go when designing a cozy minimalist space. "Pay attention to any natural light available in the home, and if possible, only include window treatments as needed for privacy," Smith suggests. "Having a view to the outside gives the impression of a larger interior space, and also offers a contrast to the minimal interior."
Play With Texture and Color
Your cozy minimalist home should be full of textures and warm hues galore. "A haven like this is created by using soft, warm colors within all of the furnishings," Smith shares. "Contrast is created by offering change in textures and finishes as opposed to including bright colors. Include fabrics that are soft, thick, and beg to be touched."
Bring the Outside In
There's no need to go overboard with green friends, but do pay attention to nature, Smith advises. She says, "The inclusion of a simple plant or cut flowers immediately brings calm to a space."
Don't Forget Personal Touches
As designer Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions notes, "Minimalism does not need to mean boring, cold and stark." rather she explains, "When done right, minimalism is the perfect way to make a space feel comforting and inviting in your home, because it helps bring forward the most important design elements, like well made, comfortable furniture, personal art and accent pieces, and wall coverings, paint and drapery that complete the space." So don't be afraid to let those special, meaningful pieces shine.
Pick a color, any color—and stick with it! "Monochromatic color schemes are a great trick in creating minimalist designs that still feel warm," designer Larisa Barton of Soeur Interiors comments. "Select a color and use it repeatedly in different ways—for a wall treatment, furniture, textiles. This way you can use clean lines for that streamlined effect but the layering exudes coziness.
Tackle the Ceilings and Floors
Jessica Kain Barton of J Kathryn Interiors reflects on a recent client project she worked on where tackling both the ceiling and floors was key. "The client was moving out of their longtime family home into a more contemporary condo, and it was super important that the space felt light, bright and minimal without feeling cold," she shares. "First, we brought in tons of sunlight by painting the space that had exaggerated ceilings white. We selected a beautiful narrow, white oak hardwood for the floors and stained it with a simple clear coat to keep things simple while also visually stunning."
Focus on Ambient Lighting
"Ambient lighting is at the top of my list for creating an environment that is warm and inviting," designer Becky Shea of BS/D says. This is easy to achieve, too. As Shea notes, "Think candle light or decorative fixtures that have soft warm hues. I pair that with lots of layered blankets and pillows."