8 Mistakes You're Making When Decorating in Minimalist Style

Light gray sectional couch with white cushions in minimalist-styled living room

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

When designing a space to reflect your love of minimalist style, it is important to keep a few main pieces of advice top of mind. Designers share common pitfalls that are common when introducing a minimalist aesthetic into one's home. Read on so that you know what to avoid!

Meet the Expert

  • Sarit Marcus is an interior designer and founder of Minted Space, an online boutique offering a curated selection of eco-chic home furnishings, decor and lighting.
  • Cameron Johnson is the founder of Nickson, a registered interior design firm and subscription furniture rental service.
  • Marissa Geoffroy is the creative director at Sherle Wagner International, a bath hardware and accessories company.
  • 01 of 08

    Omitting a Sense of Charm

    minimal living room with plants

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    For designer Sarit Marcus, omitting a sense of charm when decorating a space minimally is a major no, and she offers a few solutions. "To create an inviting home, add natural elements such as house plants, rich tones, cozy textiles, and reclaimed wood furniture, which will inject character and warmth into any space." Really, Marcus reiterates, plants can make a major impact. "If you don’t want to add any furnishings or decor to a room but still feel that it lacks something, biophilic design is an excellent solution," she comments. "Look for interesting, low-maintenance, seasonal house plants."

  • 02 of 08

    Parting With Too Many Items

    minimalist room

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    "Minimalist does not mean impractical," Nickson founder Cameron Johnson notes. "Cutting major pieces like desks may make a space feel bigger, but it should only be done if the item is truly not needed." What's great is that certain furniture items are ultra functional and won't make your space feel cluttered, Johnson promises. "A bar cart or a small bookshelf can go a long way in adding to a minimalist design as they are simply organizing and displaying items that may be already in the space."

  • 03 of 08

    Mixing Metals

    minimal bathroom

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    This is key when it comes to the bathroom, Marissa Geoffroy of Sherle Wagner International says. "With a minimalist designed bathroom, be it a primary bath or a powder room, always best to have matched metal finishes," she specifies. "Shower fittings should be in the same finish as sink fittings, and even small details like trip levers should be consistent."

  • 04 of 08

    Overdoing a Monochrome Look

    monochrome room

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    While coordinating is great, there is such thing as too much of it, designer Anna Franklin shares. "Monochrome in a minimalist space is a typical trend, but there is the possibility of overdoing it," she notes. "Incorporate tonal colors and natural materials, such as using a rug that’s a slightly different color from the dominant color of the room (even if it’s still a neutral!) or even just choosing a wooden or metallic leg on furniture." This will help to create visual interest in a room, Franklin adds. "Oftentimes, a purely monochrome space can feel one-note, and this will help fix that mistake."

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Forgetting to Add Depth

    minimalist room

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    Franklin says that this is the most common minimalist design mistake. "Most people think minimalist and pick pieces that are flat with no texture, which leads to the space feeling dull and uninteresting," she elaborates. But that is certainly not true, and Franklin offers some alternatives. "Instead, incorporate different textures and fabrics wherever possible," she urges. "For example, select fabric for furniture that looks soft to the touch, such as boucle, velvet and faux fur; or choose a tonal pattern to incorporate into a home decor accent such as pillows, wallpaper, etc. Although it is a subtle update, it will make the space feel interesting and warmer."

  • 06 of 08

    Forgetting About Comfort

    minimalist room

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    A minimalist home should still be one that's enjoyable to relax and spend time in. "You can be minimalistic and very uncomfortable, or minimalistic and very comfortable," designer Cathy Purple Cherry states. "Statement pieces that are very comfortable absolutely exist."

  • 07 of 08

    Underestimating Scale

    minimalist room

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    "A common mistake is underestimating the scale of your furniture and decor," designer Ginger Curtis comments. "Don’t let the desire for negative space leave you with chairs and a sofa that are way too small for a large, high-ceiling room. Items too small or large will break the cohesive flow and feel vital to achieving this aesthetic."

  • 08 of 08

    Accidentally Incorporating Clutter

    cluttered shelves

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    Many homeowners design their space with good intentions but quickly fall into what Curtis describes as a common clutter trap. She says, "An infamous misstep is replacing the upper cabinets in the kitchen with floating shelves for a minimalist style but then filling up the shelves with too many pieces that erase the negative space the shelves were supposed to generate."