By Jennifer Kelly Geddes Feb 12, 2024

(Getty Images)

Truth: Spare yet elegant home decor should be one of your 2024 goals.

Reason: Walking into a room with a calming color scheme, a functional layout, and zero clutter can make you feel oh, so relaxed.

And the beauty of it all is that you can live this way every day by putting together a minimalist decor style.

Minimalism is having a moment, say the pros, as more than ever, homeowners are looking to turn their homes into a quiet retreat.

“Minimalism has become more popular over the past few years due to an increasing need for homes with a calming atmosphere, probably because our lives are more fast-paced and home offices are a norm,” explains Charlotte Granville, a home remodeling specialist at Fixr.

But don’t jump in too quickly—since there’s a method to minimalism. To help you create this serene, subtle style, check out what experts say are the do’s and don’ts of minimalism.

Do have a budget

Before leaping into any new decor style, decide what you can afford to spend, notes Lisa Davis, shopping expert at RetailMeNot.

To help you plan, “make a budget as well as a vision board, and then go about the process in a deliberate way,” she suggests.

Once your numbers are nailed down, look for ways to save, such as painting an old, loud piece of furniture in a fresh new hue.

And the cheapest (read: free) way to go minimal? Declutter and get rid of clunky, outdated items or just plain junk.

However, as you stash papers and donate more oversized items in pursuit of your new minimalist design, be careful about getting rid of things you can’t afford to replace.

“Decluttering doesn’t mean throwing out useful pieces,” Davis adds.

Don’t veer to the overly stark

Simple and clean lines do not mean a lack of warmth and style. Instead, they are an elegant foundation to add character and coziness. So avoid strictly limiting your colors or buying only monochromatic items, which can leave a room looking austere.

“Don’t go too stark with no accent colors or personal touches at all,” warns Cassie Hanson, founder and principal designer at the boutique firm Dae Planner.

“If you leave too much space in your rooms, the home starts to feel empty,” Hanson cautions.

The bottom line: Inject some of your personality and family favorites into your minimalist look.

“If art is what makes a house feel like home to you, then it’s an essential element to include in your look,” points out Granville. You might even try minimalist art to “showcase your style and enhance the serenity of the overall design.”

Do add visual interest

Chair, chair, table, sculptural vase. These items are the basics when it comes to home decor, of course, but simple lines in a minimalist room also need something to break up the monotony.

Hanson says you can achieve this goal by adding greenery.

“Incorporate elements like plants or flowers for visual interest and warmth,” she says. This way, you’ll add color with something that catches the eye and enlivens your otherwise spare layout.

Don’t include single-use pieces

Sure, this bench, seen above, is fine for sitting and casually draping a faux fur blanket over. But is it really all that comfy? You can bet most folks will gravitate toward the more functional, inviting chairs in this room.

“Don’t use furniture or accessories that serve no purpose other than decorative,” says Hanson.

In a minimalist house, every piece should have a solid role and, ideally, a double life as something else (like an ottoman as seating or footrest with handy storage within).

Granville advises homeowners seeking minimalism to select “furniture for its function and simplicity” rather than its beauty alone. Utility and style should go hand in hand.

Don’t skew too modern

If you love a black-and-white ultramodern look, go for it! But for others, remember that you don’t have to create a contemporary design scheme to achieve minimalism at home.

“A pop of color is a statement” and perfectly fine when it comes to this decor style, says Davis.

“Although minimalism revolves around reducing the elements in the home down to the essentials, it doesn’t mean those items have to conform to a particular look,” adds Granville.

So, if you love a beach or cottage ambiance, you can install a minimalist version of each.

Do be mindful

Once your minimalist decor plan is in place (or at least starting to move from your vision board into reality), don’t let things slide back to the previous iteration.

Of course, you don’t want to stress over a magazine on the coffee table or an extra chair pulled into the living room. But be careful with your decision when it comes to anything new.

“Adopt the mentality that less is more, and be mindful about which accessories you bring in going forward,” says Davis.

This means you might think twice before buying a trio of crystal birds for your shelf or another set of kitchen baskets.