If you like the uncluttered look but don’t necessarily want to give up all your stuff, there are ways to make minimalism work for you. To achieve a minimalist aesthetic at home, start by prioritizing what’s important to you. Think about how you want to live and how you’d like to use your home.
For newbies, the goal is to find a balance between cramped and the rug-and-a-chair look. Call it semi-minimalism or whatever you want to, but this balance I’m talking about should feel pleasing to you both aesthetically and energetically.
These are some ways you can do minimalism (or semi-minimalism) without changing your whole life:
If you love books, guitars, vinyl records, shoes, or if you have a thing for Disney dolls, keep them all together as a collection. The area for your collection can be a mini-museum for your passion item. Creating collections get them from all over the house, to one room/area, leaving the rest of your home to function as they should.
Have empty walls and bare floors
Having more empty wall space and bare floors moves the decorating needle toward minimalism. The negative space will give your eyes a place to rest, which will make you feel calmer. To achieve this, edit your rooms a bit. Remove a few wall pieces and show off more of your floors.
Add closed storage
Another way to get the less cluttered look is to put things away in cupboards, closets, and behind closed doors. It’s a nice cheat that gets you the look of minimalism without having to give up those things you’re still attached to. Just shut them away!
Take advantage of natural light
Unless you geek out on interior design as I do, you may not have noticed the less-is-more window treatment trend. Today, it’s rare to see designers use heavy drapes in living areas. Heavy window treatments usually attract more dust and block natural light, and in 2019, they make a room look heavy and dated. Today, heavy drapes are reserved for bedrooms and stuffy spaces. Get on-trend and switch out heavy window treatments for a more minimal style.
With more stuff, use less color
I have less furniture than most people I know but my home doesn’t look bare because of this decorating trick: I use colorful accessories like flowers and bright pillows to “fill” the space. If you have more stuff, the reverse trick (less color) should make your room feel less cluttered.
Do less bulk shopping
The trick to shopping in bulk when you’re trying to have less clutter is to buy according to your use and storage, not based on sales. I use a 3-month consumption rule of thumb when I shop. With that, I stock up mostly on paper towels, toilet paper, and a few kitchen staples. I still look for sales, but will never buy more than a single 8-pack of Doubble-As or 2 packs of tampons at a time. Even in their cupboards, minimalist try to have a sense of order and they put thought into what (and how much) they consume.
Think about how you’ll use your space
Cramped spaces make it harder to move around and they place limits on how you can use your space. When I was thinking of what to buy (or not buy) for my living room, I gave a lot of thought to how I wanted to use the space. Because I wanted enough floor space to do yoga and have “dance parties for one,” I left a lot of room between my sofa and TV. I also left enough room in another area of the space where I could roll my long table to host a dinner party and use it as a co-working space. I recommend everyone put this type of thought into how they want to use their rooms. Don’t decorate for once a year, decorate for how you’ll live most of the time. You may find that instead of a three-piece sofa set, two pieces will leave the room feels more spacious and functional. And if you really need that third piece, consider using it in another room—even your bedroom. With this type of planning, you will make space for living and get the feeling of minimalism.
So as you can see, with a little bit of thought, there are ways to achieve the minimalist decor and still keep most of your beloved stuff. You can get the look of clean lines and thoughtful design without changing your entire lifestyle or becoming one of those minimalists. The payoff is that you’ll begin to enjoy your space more. Rooms will feel more comfortable and the less clutter look is great for your wellbeing.
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. She believes the way we live affects everything we do, especially our motivation.