10 Principles of Minimalist Decorating

When people come across the word “minimalism,” it is sometimes misunderstood as being a cheapskate or not having enough money. It’s so far from that. Being a minimalist doesn’t equate to being financially challenged. Although saving a ton of money is one of the advantages of being a minimalist, it was created by people who have order and organization in mind as its principle. It started with interior design but is now being used in fashion. In other words, minimalism has become a lifestyle. 

The basic principle of minimalism is simplicity. When it comes to interior decorating, being a minimalist means having a spacious room that has less furniture and fewer details compared with other houses. While other people see a stark room, a minimalist sees beauty in simplicity. There are homeowners who have asked how to create a minimalist theme bedroom, kitchen, or living room yet don’t know the principles that govern such a style.

The thing about minimalism is that it’s not just a fad that you can follow now because it’s popular and you think it can save you some money. Minimalism is more than that. It is a lifestyle that one should adapt into in order for it to be effective. It is not enough that you hire someone who can do this for your home. If you don’t adapt and turn it into a lifestyle, your minimalistic design will eventually fail. After a few months or a year, you will find clutter everywhere. 

So, if you want to try your hand at being a minimalist, below are some principles that you should abide by.

Minimalist decorating and its basic principles

  1. Functionality.Being a minimalist means that you should “do more with less.” Every furniture and decor inside a room should have a purpose or it could even be multipurpose. Look around you and check your belongings. For instance, in the living room, maybe you will find a chair or two that you don’t really need because you live alone, and you don’t really use the small table beside your couch because you already have a bigger coffee table. In the kitchen drawers, you will find quite a number of kitchen tools and appliances that you haven’t used for years. These things need to be eliminated as they have no purpose in your space. Everything should have a function in order to be kept.
  2. Attention to details.Being successful in minimalism means having the ability to focus and give attention even to the most minute detail. For instance, before you go and buy your furniture or order a modular kitchen, you need to pause and assess what color, size, and design would complement your space, especially if you already own some interesting pieces. You just don’t choose your items haphazardly because everything needs to blend well for a harmonious look.
  3. Good-quality furniture and decor. Like what was mentioned, minimalism is not primarily about saving money. It’s about creating space, getting rid of clutter, and using fixtures that are built to last. When you’re choosing furniture and decor, make sure that they’re of good quality so the room looks sleek, clean, and elegant. When it comes to home furnishings, less is more especially if your pieces are already a statement of their own.
  4. A neutral base. Minimalists love subdued colors as base such as peach, cream, or any pastel colors. It looks clean, fresh, and coordinated. However, it doesn’t have to be just one color. Boring is not the goal here. You can play with colors as long as they can blend well with the neutral base. You can choose light blue, green, and Earth colors as the highlights. These are cool colors and easy on the eyes.
  5. Space between items. Now that you have invested in quality fixtures that look aesthetically great, do not lump them all together. You can sell or give away other items that you no longer need. By doing this, the room will not only look more spacious, but each of your items will be highlighted and appreciated by you and your visitors. For example, you bought a set of colored candles as centerpieces on your dining table. Don’t put other items on the table anymore. Let the candles shine on their own.
  6. A focal point. When you have a subdued base color and pieces of furniture that have warm Earth colors, you need a focal point. This is the spot in the room that is eye-catching and will be the center of interest, and it should be the only one. It could be a bookshelf in a bright color, a couch, or a statement wall. If you choose white as your neutral base, you could commission a big painting in bright colors and hang it on the wall. There is no rule in choosing a focal point. Follow what suits your interest. If you’re living in a condominium and you have an amazing view, let that view be your focal point. Keep all the rest simple, but perhaps hang an artwork with Earth tones on one of the walls to strike a balance.
  7. Lighting fixtures as decor. We’re not talking about chandeliers. Chandeliers are a minimalist’s nightmare coming true. We’re talking about lighting with contemporary design. It shouldn’t be too large. The size and design should just be enough to attract attention and appreciation and don’t overpower the focal point.
  8. Hidden storage. It’s unavoidable for each household to have at least a little bit of clutter especially when you have kids. Toys and school supplies are left on the floor, the couch, all over the bedroom, and the kitchen counter. To remedy this, have hidden storage.You don’t actually hide the items; you simply make them look nonexistent, such as having drawers underneath the beds of the kids or designated baskets or cabinets. They can simply put away their toys inside these storage containers when they’re done playing or when they’re finished with schoolwork. 
  9. Materials with different textures. If you’re going to go with a minimalist design, your furniture and decor don’t need to be of the same texture. You are not aiming for a boring room. Rather, you want a clutter-free space that is interesting at the same time. For your decor, you can opt for a glass and pottery combo or a canvass and timber mix. It makes each piece of decor or furniture unique and you can get away with it because you don’t have a lot of items in the room. Contrast is a great minimalist approach.
  10. Geometric shapes. One of the most noticeable things about a minimalist’s house are the geometric shapes because they imply space. It’s the bones or the primary structure of minimalism. You can get a rug with a zigzag pattern or floor tiles that are diamond shaped.

What are the advantages of minimalist decorating?

When you have had a long day at the office or you were away on a business trip, you simply can’t wait to go back to the place that you’re most comfortable in and that would be your home. A home should be a place where you can put your feet up and relax and where you can have a good meal to end the day or perhaps a glass of wine to cap off the night. 

However, all these are not possible when you go home to a cluttered house. When the first thing you see when you go inside the door is clutter, you become more stressed as you think about all the cleaning up that you need to do. And when you are a busy person, you can never have the time to go through all the mess. So, the best way really is to become a minimalist. Here are some advantages of being one:

  • More space.Everybody loves space. No one likes bumping on a chair or a table every meter. When there is more space in the room, it gives the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is. It also provides more space for air to circulate and allows more natural light to come in, brightening the room and making it more airy and relaxing.

  • Less maintenance.When you have fewer items in the house, you also have fewer items to clean and maintain. Imagine having too many cabinets, tables, lighting, and decor. You need to clean all these thoroughly regularly; otherwise, dirt and dust will accumulate. This is not only harmful to the health, but you also need a lot of time to clean them. 

  • Less clutter.When you go inside a room with a lot of clutter, it doesn’t look appealing at all. However, if you have been to a house of a minimalist, you will see the difference. A house that has less clutter simply looks more welcoming and soothing.

  • Good for the health.When you have a lot of stuff inside the house, this means that more dirt and dust also gather. Unless you have all the time in the world to clean the dust off your furniture and decor each day, those are going to stay there for a long time. This is a health risk especially to those with asthma and allergies. Following a minimalist lifestyle means fewer things, less dust, and less dirt, which result in a clean environment and good health.

  • Relaxes the brain.The brain is naturally attracted to bright colors and intricate details. When you have a lot of these in one room, the brain is continuously stimulated and works double time. Your mind could get stressed with so many things going on inside a room, and it could be hard for the brain to focus or unwind. Being a minimalist lets the brain relax because when things inside the house are in order, the brain does not have to pay attention to the clutter and negative thoughts about the house do not form.

  • Less renovation cost.Imagine having a lot of intricate details and colors on your walls. When you want to renovate in the future, you have to keep in mind that renovation companies charge you for the number of hours that they need to work. The more complicated the job, the more hours they will spend renovating. That is a lot of money you will save if you do minimalist decorating.

  • Peace of mind. There is nothing like having peace of mind when you come home to a clutter-free home. Life is messy enough because there are some variables that you just can’t control. Your home is not one of those variables. Knowing that there is some sort of order in one aspect of your life will somehow give you peace of mind and you’ll somehow feel that everything’s going to be okay.


Creating a minimalist space is fun and exciting because it challenges your creativity. You really have to put a lot of thought in every item that you buy, unlike in a conventional home design where you can give in to impulsive buying. You need to become aware of the flow in minimalism. Each piece needs to be in harmony with the other pieces. 

Minimalism is also a lifestyle and not just all about decorating. It should be applied anywhere you go and in all things that you do. When you go to the supermarket and you see a lot of items that are on sale, the first thing you think of is to buy a lot of it because it saves you money. You even buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale. Being a minimalist means having the discipline to not horde when there’s a sale. When you pass by your favorite clothing shop and you see a sign that says they’re on sale, you need to ask yourself if you truly need more clothes right now. If your answer is yes, perhaps you can buy an item or two. However, if your answer is you need it next season, you should stop yourself immediately. There are many more principles of minimalism that you and your family could learn and adapt, but these basics should be enough to get you started. If you’re unsure of where to start, you could consult a minimalist friend or you could find an expert to help you get started. 

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