Minimalism will never go out of style. This trend continues to be a leading preference in the design industry (and beyond—round of applause to, Netflix and Marie Kondo). When done right, it results in a clean, calming space that's anything but boring. The top location in your home to achieve a minimalistic look is in your living room since it's the designated location for stress-free lounging. When a minimalist living room is curated with care, you have a space with a calming and relaxing atmosphere that's clutter-free. What more could you want?
"Minimalist decor focuses on simplicity, often based around a neutral or monochromatic color palette with thoughtful accents of color, texture, and pattern," explains Angela Hamwey of Mackenzie & Co. "The design should be intentional and visually appealing, centered on functional furniture and essential elements."
Minimalism proves skill and the beauty of restraint without holding back on the integrity of the design. It focuses on neutrals and building on that base through selective decorative accents. It doesn't necessarily mean unadorned or simple, however. In fact, a minimalist living room can be as luxurious as one decorated in any other design style in its own unique way.
"Creating a minimal living room aesthetic does not mean compromising on luxe or layered," says Jenn Feldman of Jenn Feldman Designs. "This creates a space that is harmonious and ensures the room is visually balanced from all angles."
To inspire your next room makeover, we've gathered minimalist living room ideas from designers to help you achieve the style in your space. Keep scrolling for designer tips and tricks for minimalist living rooms both big and small—and proof that harmony can be found in paring down a look.
This spacious living room uses every corner wisely by arranging different wood tones to break up the white. "We used tonality and warm woods to make the space feel cozy despite its sparse decoration," says Avery Cox of Avery Cox Design.
Create a Focal Point
Alison Victoria salvaged this antique mantel from Architectural Accents and made it the star of the show by adding accessories like an oversize mirror, picture frames, faux candles, and plants. It doesn't overwhelm the room since it's the vignette you see when you enter the home.
Curate Your Art
Carolyn Miller gave a minimalist farmhouse a makeover that shows the power of styling with restraint. The pared-down background serves as the perfect canvas for the clients' art collection, which "always felt like such a hodgepodge" against the old scheme.
Make It Cozy
Work with your home's existing layout by brightening up the space with a white sectional and marble coffee table as BHDM did in this winter getaway. The fireplace won't steal the show if you stick to a black-and-white palette for the room. You'll feel cozy instead of clustered.
Mackenzie & Co. added a textured rug, striped throw pillows, and low wooden tables for a lived-in and open feel—it's a coastal reset that doesn't need a ton of accessories to prove the aesthetic is at work. "When selecting your furnishings, we prefer a crisp white or cream sofa that provides a neutral base and allows you to accent with color and pattern," Hamwey says.
Layer on Textures
Who says minimalism can't be achieved with color? The focus in this grounded living room is on key pieces that the room needs. Greens, ivories, and taupes keep the palette tonal.
Try Two-Tone Walls
Color-block walls in the same neutral family help warm up a white room while still keeping it minimalist, as in this cozy space designed by Leanne Ford Interiors.
Pay Attention to Scale
Minimalism and small-space living get along beautifully. There are a few swaps you can make to get the most out of every usable inch. For example, opt for a settee instead of a sofa or sectional and stack nesting tables instead of getting a bulky coffee table.
Use Muted Colors
If you love modern minimalist design but don't want to give up on color, allow this living room designed by Arent & Pyke to guide you. The materials and finishes used are pared back to a monochrome palette, allowing the heritage detailing and foundations to stand beautifully as they are. Then, they introduced dynamism through a muted rose carpet and inky midnight-hued armchair.
Experiment With Texture
On second thought, why use color when you can create design perfection using all white? That will actually make the whole process a lot easier since you won't be worrying about whether everything goes together or not. And just because it's all one color doesn't mean you can't still incorporate fun, interesting details. It's all about shape and texture. In this living room designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, for example, the designer swapped a traditional layout for semi-circular seating (perfect for entertaining, too), a brush-painted IKEA rug, and a custom-made rope light.
Mix Different Styles
Here's a lesson in monochromatic decorating with soul (except for that green pillow, which is the perfect pop of personality). Designed by Studio Razavi, this Parisian apartment blends of simple modern decor with neoclassical roots. While the bones of the space evoke a grand sort of opulence, the plush Moroccan rug and spacious white sofa feel more approachable. Proof that minimalist spaces can be dynamic and warm.
One key element of minimalism is highlighting simple, organic forms. Another is staying grounded. What's more down-to-earth than a coffee table that's literally on the floor? Design firm Hecker Guthrie mixed in warm leathers, natural wooden stools, and a barely-there bookcase for an unconventional yet understated approach. Moral of the story? Ditch your table base and put that slab straight on the ground.
Feature One Vibrant Accent
As the queen of all-white interiors (she even painted the wood in the fireplace white here), Leanne Ford is always coming up with fresh new ways to make a space stand out with rich textures, surprising accents, and refurbished materials. In this minimalist living room, she chose one item to really pop in a bright color: that vibrant red Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair.
Choose Items Wisely
In a minimalist living room, each item needs to make a strong contribution—no weak links allowed. This space is the perfect example. While the only three furniture items are two seats and a small coffee table, it still makes a strong impression and communicates a sense of personal style. That's mostly thanks to the existing retro fireplace juxtaposing with the ultra-modern light fixture.
Focus on Shapes
The clean lines in this living room designed by Robson Rak make it hard not to feel relaxed just by looking at it. Even the detail and symmetry of the vertical window pane tracing down to the cushions of the sofa is soothing. Then the green nesting tables bring in some contrast with their rounded shape and varying heights. The white painted shiplap walls make the space feel more livable and approachable.
Display High-Impact Art
High-impact wall art is a beautiful, chic way to add personality to a minimalist living room. Though it doesn't take up any surface space, the right piece can be truly transformative. In this living room, the abstract photograph of light orbs is extended into the material space through the burnt orange and marigold throw pillows. For a similar effect, use an abstract photograph like this one to dictate the colors of your throw pillows for cohesion.
Stick to a Monochrome Palette
Monochrome rules when it comes to minimalist design. A clean and well-organized photo gallery will keep things interesting without creating visual chaos. Then add a metallic pendant and a simple midcentury coffee table for an easy, unpretentious and stylish living room setup.
Don't Be Afraid To Get Weird
What it lacks in decorative details it makes up for in innovative shapes and proportions. Designed by Studio DB, this living room nook is a minimalist masterpiece. From the shape of the handsome leather lounger to the artful rice paper light sculpture and the geometric carpet, each element both complements and enriches the others.
Pick a Tonal Palette
Who says minimalists are afraid of color? The trick is to stay within one tone, like this modern blue living room designed by Robson Rak. The soothing tones and bulbous shapes throughout, from the marble side table to the bubble pendant light and rounded sofa, make it feel like a hug in the form of a living room.
Find Smart Storage Solutions
As you probably already know, minimalism is a lot about keeping clutter to a minimum. And no matter how hard we try to do so, things just tend to accumulate over the years. That means storage solutions are key, especially in a tinier space like this one. The floating shelves framing the doorway make use of all the vertical space, allowing for knickknacks to stay tucked away in stylish bins and decor to shine without being in the way on the floor.
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