Minimalist Living Room – Complete Styling Guide
There’s just something unfathomably zen about a minimalist home. Clutter-free and charming to boot, the minimalist aesthetic has always been around, but really only gained global popularity in the last few years, thanks in part to Marie Kondo and a phenomenon wherein we all suddenly craved a simple life with less stress. If you’re still on the minimalist home decor trend, you’re in the right place – and what better way to bring it to life than in your living room?
A minimalist living room should be an oasis you love walking into at the end of a long day – relaxed, pared back, and tranquil. From selecting neutral tones to sourcing the right style of furniture, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide to establishing your dream minimalist room, with the help and keen eyes of our expert stylists.
Declutter before you begin
Ready to get started on your minimalist styling journey? Well, before you even begin to browse the zillions of stunning furniture options available on the internet, there’s one non-negotiable step to complete – decluttering. Minimalist interior design relies on an uninhibited space, so if you’re dealing with tonnes of excess junk, that won’t fly when it comes time to decorate. Pare back the items you own or that take up space in the living room, leaving only the most crucial (AKA those that ‘spark joy’) and finding a new home for the rest.
Select a calming, refined palette
Colour can have a huge bearing on our moods, and the way we feel when we’re in a space – which is why many minimalist living room ideas include designing with a muted, neutral palette. By using calming colours in soft shades of white, ochre, cream, sage, tan and blue, you’ll encourage your household to truly wind down in their beautiful living room, and it will quickly feel like your very own sanctuary. Neutral colours also pair well with minimalist furniture, which you’ll often see in colours like white, grey and light brown.
Pick one core material
While lots of styles encourage eclectic mixing and matching of colour, texture, and materials, minimalism is the exact opposite – so you’ll be best placed to recreate this look if you stick to a single ‘core’ material for your furniture pieces, only accenting in very small doses. A minimalist favourite is light blonde wood with a sleek frame, which then pairs well with hints of white marble or glass for a bit of (pared-back) flair.
Opt for matte metals
If you plan on incorporating metal tones into your space, the last thing you’ll want to do is contravene the true tenets of a minimalist, Scandinavian-style look, which is anything but showy or flashy. Instead of bright golds and brilliant silvers, pick out a matte metal in black, white or brass to adorn your space. This will diversify your textures slightly without drawing focus too much and blemishing the calming minimalist vibe.
Start furnishing with your sofa
So, the time has finally come to pick out your living room furniture – the fun begins! Where over-the-top living rooms might incorporate quite a few large pieces in varying shapes, styles and colours, a minimalist look should consist of only a few key items that coordinate perfectly. So, it’s a clever idea to start with the biggest furniture piece and work outwards. For most of us, that’ll be our sofas!
Minimalist sofas and couches are usually soft yet sleek in their construction, with no adornments or add ons like tufting. Select something with a low, unfussy profile in a light neutral tone, such as the Havana 3 Seater Sofa, or the Como Motion 3 Seater Sofa. Sticking to a smaller size and complementing (or adding more space) with armchairs is your best bet, as a bulky or showy sofa simply won’t gel with a minimalist approach.
Choose a minimal, sleek coffee table
First and foremost, minimalism values functionality – after all, your home should be both an extension of you, and a place that’s conducive to doing all the things you want and need to do. So, when you’re looking for a new coffee table to spruce up your living space, pick out something that looks perfectly in place with your other pieces, and also serves your practical needs. The Mia Coffee Table with Shelf is a beautiful way to increase your storage space whilst leaning right into the minimalist colour palette. For something with more of a point of view, we adore the Henley Low Set Coffee Table.
Add your practical pieces
Once you’ve nailed down arguably the two most important furniture pieces in your living room, turn your focus more to functionality, and consider what else could work to make the space more practical and usable. Do you have a big family or regularly host guests? Perhaps an armchair or ottoman to increase seating is a good way to focus your energy – simple and sturdy, the Connor Armchair injects a bit of mid century personality without going overboard. Some ottomans also offer storage for those bits and bobs (or should we say, clutter). The Kito Storage Ottoman is an easy-breezy, minimal choice.
Another piece to think about adding to your living room is a side table, or perhaps even a few. These add space for you and your guests or family members to rest your drinks, stash the TV remote, or prop some snacks during movie night. Place them at either end of your sofa, or wherever will provide the most usable surface area. The Mia Nest of Tables is an ideal way to maintain a single look and feel with multiple tables, and features a subtle curved design. The sleek design of the Olympia Side Table makes it another go-to.
Designate storage areas
Something really crucial to minimalist style is designing your space – in this case, your living room – so it prevents a pile-up of clutter and everyday household items. Instead of stashing them where they can be seen, and can easily become overwhelming, mark out specific areas by purchasing at least one quality piece of storage furniture. In the living room, the most natural storage item is likely a TV unit. The humble entertainment unit not only houses your television, but depending on the configuration you choose, can offer tonnes of storage. Keep the overall look and feel muted and back-to-basics with the chic Orson Entertainment Unit, which features closed doors to keep clutter out of sight.
Illuminate your space
With all of your key furniture items defined, it’s time to get decorating! A non-negotiable piece of home decor in any living room is good lighting, as we’re all well aware that overhead lighting is detestable, and only to be used in a state of emergency. (Just kidding.) The more layered your lightscape, the warmer and more welcoming the room will feel, and the best way to do this is by incorporating a few kinds of lamps.
Start with a minimalist floor lamp like the Capra Tripod Floor Lamp, which has an unfussy silhouette and is available in monochromatic tones. Then, to add even more illumination in a concentrated spot, include a minimalist lamp on your side table. We can’t go past the sleek design of the Leo Arc Table Lamp.
Adorn sparingly with art
Just because you want a minimalist home, that doesn't mean you can’t show your personality through wall art – it’s all about sourcing minimalist art prints and pieces that suit your colour scheme, and have a tranquil effect in the space. One way to do this well is by using just black and white art prints, as they’re minimalistic by nature, with no oversaturated colours. This means you can select whatever designs you like, and everything will coordinate due to their shared monochromatic colour scheme. If black and white’s not your thing, try to source simple yet eye-catching art that complements your colour palette. Some stylist favourites include the Flowering Print, the Ink Print, and the Safari Print.
Tie things together with a rug
As the saying goes, a rug can really tie a room together – which makes a living room rug a must-purchase piece, even when minimalism is your end goal. After all, a rug isn’t just for aesthetics, but also increases the comfort of your space, and can bring everything together so it looks cohesive. Depending on the size you select, place your rug underneath the coffee table, trying to enclose all of the key furniture legs (coffee table, sofa, and any side tables) within the rug. For bringing the minimalist vibes to life, we’re obsessing over the simplicity of the Tribeca Ivory Wool Rug and the Staten Natural Jute Wool Rug.
Finish with minimalist decor
The final piece of the puzzle is to add a curated collection of non-functional living room decor items, such as candles, photo frames, plants, vases, and trays. While these aren’t central to the living room, and can easily be left out if you really want to scale back, they tend to make a space look more inviting and like a reflection of your unique personal style. Be sure to select pieces that tie in well with your colour scheme, use sleek, clean lines, and are relatively unembellished. Plants are also a must in any minimalist home, not only for the health and mood-boosting benefits, but because they encourage mindfulness.
If a clutter-free, scaled back and blissfully simple life is your thing, a minimalist living room is the natural next step. Bring this stunning and sleek style to live in your own home with our range of Scandinavian furniture, which perfectly fits with a minimalist approach. Shop our full range of living room furniture and decor today, or keep planning with the help of our virtual styling services.