Create an ideabook for your next remodeling project!
Browse more than 1,000,000 photos from top designers and save your favorites
Style Secret: Clean Furnishings
Furnishings drive a minimalist space and provide most of its visual appeal. Think about what's essential in your room. Do you need three cocktail tables, a pair of armoires and a hulking credenza? What's the minimum amount of furniture you must have to maintain an optimum level of livability? Once you decide what to keep and what to skip, look for seating, tables, case goods and other pieces that have sleek, stripped-down profiles and lack ornamentation.
Softer side: Minimal doesn't mean uncomfortable — there's no need to perch on hard side chairs without a place to prop your feet. Just remember to keep cushioned furnishings tailored, such as tight-back sofas and chairs. And by all means add a sleek ottoman or hassock that will allow you and your guests to kick back with ease.
Style Secret: Storage and Organization
Repeat after me: a place for everything and everything in its place. Committing to the minimal look means committing to order, and it's easiest to eliminate clutter when every item has its own designated home. Whereas another kitchen might display cooking utensils on the countertop and dishware in the cupboards, this one tucks everything behind a solid wall of cabinetry for a clear, uniform appearance. If you're really ambitious, you can even winnow down what you've stashed in drawers and cabinets for a home that's minimalist to the core.
Softer side: You don't have to hide open shelving behind doors and screens or leave it unfilled. Just edit judiciously. Wrap a small stack of books in white paper covers, remove all but one or two blown-glass vessels from your collection and display a single family photo rather than a cluster of framed snapshots.
Style Secret: Subtle Pattern
When you think of minimalism, you probably think of solids. If you choose to use pattern, keep it unobtrusive. Even something as simple as a striped quilt or houndstooth throw can upset the carefully orchestrated balance of a minimalist space. If you use pattern at all, it should be small scale and tone on tone.
Softer side: Here's an alternative: Opt for texture. This bedroom builds a tactile foundation with hardly any texture at all. White-painted bricks, a rug with a deep pile, a matelassé coverlet and a quilted blanket combine to create depth, anchored by the extreme sleekness of the bed frame.
Style Secret: Quality
Design is a lot like cooking: The simpler the dish, the more integrity the ingredients should have. By the same token, a minimalist room has so few distractions that every object in it will attract heightened attention. Invest in the best quality of furniture and accessories your budget can stand — and because you won't be buying in great quantity, you might have a little extra wiggle room to upgrade.
Softer side: Classic, well-crafted pieces such as Shaker armoires, Windsor chairs and French campaign beds not only hold their own in quality, but their simple, timeless design means they'll never fall out of fashion. Furnishings such as these prove that minimalism doesn't always translate to modernism; it's a broad approach rather than a prescribed set of style rules.