17 Minimalist Decorating Ideas for a Calm and Clean Space

minimalist decorating ideas

Room & Board

If you're looking to nix the unnecessary items in your home to create a minimalist space, here's your new mantra: fewer is better. "Less is more" also works, and so does "quality over quantity." Minimalist spaces clear the clutter, instead focusing on high-quality and much-loved pieces.

"You want to stick to the essentials, so whatever you don't need in a space, remove it," Jung Lee, event planner and founder of Jung Lee NY, says.

There's an art to creating a minimalist space that still feels warm, inviting, and distinctly you. From carefully curated bookshelves to textured accessories and emphasizing architectural features, there are plenty of ways to create a calm, minimalist space.

Ready to create a minimalist space? Read on for 17 minimalist decorating ideas.

  • 01 of 17

    Clear Your Walls

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Design: Joshua Smith / Image: Lance Gerber

    Put down the hammer and nail. With minimalistic spaces, there's no need to fill every inch of wall space. If the thought of bare walls feels boring though, take a peek at this Joshua Smith-designed living room—it's proof that embracing white space can feel elegant and upscale.


    Minimalism is all about allowing for a little breathing room, design-wise, so nix your gallery wall and let a few standout pieces take center stage instead.

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  • 02 of 17

    Edit Your Items

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Design: Carrie Livingston / Image: Robb McCormick Photography

    Make Marie Kondo proud: as you're creating minimalist spaces, seriously consider each of your possessions, from knickknacks to oversized furniture. Do you really love it? It is functional?

    Edit your items down to just your favorites, and that'll create a more meaningful and minimalist design. This can be an overwhelming process, so take it one room—or even one shelf or drawer—at a time.

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  • 03 of 17

    Add Uniform Art

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Room & Board

    Wonderfully wonky gallery walls have their place, but not in minimalist spaces. Instead, add art to your walls in a uniform way.

    "Balance your space with a large-scale statement piece of art or a clean vertical row of frames with curated personal images," Jenon Bailie, merchandising and design director at Room & Board, shares with us.

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  • 04 of 17

    Play With Texture

    Textured, minimalistic living room with white sofa and open shelving.

    House of Chais

    If you're sticking to neutral hues in your home, punch up the look with textures that beg to be touched. It'll add dimension and layers to the room without overwhelming the space.

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  • 05 of 17

    Revisit Your Bookcases

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Christina Kim Interior Design

    When creating a minimalist space, bookcases are the first place to start, since they can easily get overloaded. First, remove and donate books that you're sure you won't read again and allow for tidy organization of upright bookends and horizontal placement. Bailie suggests lightening up the look with vases and decorative objects (only meaningful ones though!) in odd numbers.

    "Step back to see where you want to place the decorative items and visually ‘hopscotch' where you place your décor into the shelves," Bailie says.

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  • 06 of 17

    Let The Architecture Stand Out

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Amy Bartlam for Kim Gordon Designs

    Whether your space boasts eye-catching wooden floors or bespoke built-ins (lucky you!) clear away any items that would get in the way of them shining. Think rugs, curtains, and clutter of all kinds. You want architectural gems, like crown molding and arched doorways, to really pop.

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  • 07 of 17

    Bring the Outdoors In

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Jung Lee

    While most minimalist decorating ideas involve editing items down, there are a few pieces worthy of bringing into your space. One of those? Greenery.

    "I love the idea of taking a pair of clippers heading outside to your garden or backyard and using what you have to create a centerpiece," says Lee. "Small additions of color in a neutral setting is all you need to create a little pop."

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  • 08 of 17

    Add Accent Pillows

    Dining nook with Scandinavian Japandi feel.

    House of Chais

    Even minimalist spaces need a spot for you to rest your head. "Accent pillows can pull together a space with your favorite color, texture, and scale," Bailie says. So go ahead and have some fun picking out an array of accent pillows in a variety of tones, materials, and sizes.

    Not only will accent pillows create a soft landing when you're in the middle of a Netflix marathon, but they're also a great way to refresh your space seasonally.

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  • 09 of 17

    Clear Counter Space to Just the Essentials

    Clean kitchen with minimalistic decor and cleared countertops.

    House of Chais

    A minimalist must: eliminate clutter. That's especially the case for countertops, whether in a kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere. Streamline your surfaces and display only what is necessary. In a bathroom, for instance, tuck your toothbrush and other daily items away in a drawer. Baskets, bins, cupboards, and storage benches will be your new best friend.

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  • 10 of 17

    Let In Natural Light

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Design: MBC Interior Design / Image: Lauren Pressey

    Minimalist spaces can (wrongly) have a reputation of feeling too cold, but there's an easy way to combat that: ample natural light. If you've lucked out with generous windows, allow as much sunshine stream in as possible. Invest in gauzy curtains that allows for privacy while still letting light filter in.

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  • 11 of 17

    Embrace a Shaker-Style Mindset

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Jared Kuzia for Sarah Cole Interiors

    The Shakers were onto something. Their simple lifestyle emphasized minimalism to the max, allowing only utilitarian pieces into their homes, like streamlined furniture they made themselves. When furnishing a minimalist space, invest in functional, clean-lined, and hand-crafted pieces that you know will last a lifetime.

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  • 12 of 17

    Quality Over Quantity

    Clean, modern bathroom with textured walls and freestanding tub.

    House of Chais

    Minimalist spaces can still have a maximalist moment—just limit it to one. This streamlined bathroom in monochromatic tones allows the show-stopping tub to be the star of the show, drawing the eye up. Repeat after us: quality over quantity.

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  • 13 of 17

    Embrace the Dark Side

    black and white bedroom

    Design by Julian Porcino

    There's no minimalism rulebook that says you have to live amongst shades of white, and this black-and-white bedroom is proof. The textured walls are sophisticated (yet far from simple), while the bed full of soft textiles begs to crawl into.

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  • 14 of 17

    Stick to One Color

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Design: MBC Interior Design / Image: Ryan Garvin

    Take it from Lee, who says, "Choose a theme with one color and thread it throughout." Think light, soothing colors like white, gray, or pastels. From the paint on your walls to upholstered furniture to linens, opting for different tones of the same color will give you a layered yet calm look.

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  • 15 of 17

    Define a Space With an Area Rug

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Room & Board

    Don't underestimate the power of a rug, which may be the final touch your minimalist space is craving. "Adding an area rug will define a space and help create visual breathing room as you transition from space to space, especially in open floor plans," Bailie says.

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  • 16 of 17

    Play Up Your Coffee Table

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Room & Board

    While minimalist spaces tend to keep surfaces clear, Bailie suggests styling one specific spot. "Use your coffee table as a focal point," she says. "Decorate it with a tidy stack of your favorite museum books, a minimal floral arrangement or orchid in a beautiful artisan vase, and any object of meaning."

    Those three items will reflect your personal style while adding a graphic element and texture too—a must for any style of home. Not sure how many pieces to add to your coffee table? "A grouping of odd numbers works best," Bailie says.

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  • 17 of 17

    Small Details Make a Big Impact

    minimalist decorating ideas

    Room & Board

    "When decorating or updating a minimalist space, consider the smallest details when making your décor choices," Bailie says. Every little item, from a reading lamp to a tchotchke displayed on your fireplace mantle, should be intentional—that level of thought and care is what makes for an ideal minimalist space.