Clean, uncluttered, sleek and simple, minimalist interior design brings to mind a pared-back space where surfaces are sparse and color scarce. The counterpart to maximalism, the design style takes a less is more approach, with the primary goal being to use the fewest elements to the greatest effect. Though its aesthetic is rooted in simplicity, its execution is notably trickier to achieve: a limited palette and the use of fewer furniture pieces runs the risk of producing a space that feels cold and uninviting. If the core elements of the style speak to your tastes, let these design wizards help you get the look. We asked a few of our friends and in-house experts to share their modern minimalist interiors ideas—from adding interest with texture to using lighting to create warmth, they’ll help you achieve a space that feels sleek and simple yet oh-so inviting.

The corner of a white sofa is decorated with navy and gray pillows.
A black sideboard with mirrored detailing is decorated with monochrome decor pieces.

Add Character with Décor

We’re strong believers that it’s the smaller details that have the biggest impact on a home, with pillows, decorative objects and artwork bringing personality and character in abundance. But how to incorporate décor into a minimalist home when the look’s very principles advocate a clutter-free aesthetic? Abisola Omole, Creative Director and Founder of British lifestyle brand Studio Arva, believes minimalism looks different for everyone, and those who want to bring in greater detail can do so by taking a more considered approach. “I’m not the type of person who needs to have just one thing on a surface, I think everything just needs to have its own place,” she explains. “That’s my approach to minimalism. My home is minimal in tones but it’s not minimal in the way that I’ve approached the design. I’ve used lots of textures, and I also use a lot of sculptural candles as pieces of art—to me, that’s how you add character while preventing the space from feeling overwhelming.”

Keep the Color Palette Tonal

Don’t feel you have to stick to cool whites to get the look. A warm minimalist color palette is easy to achieve with the right shades. “Minimalist interiors are sometimes considered quite cold, but with the right colors they can feel really welcoming,” says our Head of Brand Creative Ali Wicksteed. “The key is to keep your palette very tonal, with lots of neutrals to add warmth and depth. When paired with natural textures of wood and rattan, they feel really inviting.” If you did want to add slices of color to the space, keep it subtle. Think earthy tones of ochre and rust, brought in through smaller details such as the embroidery on a pillow, a glaze of a vase or even the cover of a book—these tiny touches will create warmth without taking attention away from the overall minimalist aesthetic.

Layer Up Your Textures

Can a minimalist home be cozy? The answer is yes, as long as you include a few important additions. Whatever the style, interior design is always enhanced by incorporating layers of tactile texture, and this is all the more important when the palette is so similar. “A minimal design can sometimes feel flat, and this can be avoided by making sure you build up a variety of different textures and materials within the space to create interest and variation,” says one of our expert interior designers in the UK, Sophie Gammon. “Don’t be afraid to mix linens with cottons and silks, as well as mixing wood, metals and mirrors.” Abisola put this into practice in her own home, where texture plays a huge role in making her chosen palette of warm neutrals feel extra cozy. “I didn’t go too crazy with the colors, but I did with the textures,” she explains. “I used lots of oak, teak, walnut and linen, and I also mixed my metals—the hardware around the apartment is gold but a lot of my accents are silver, and they all look so nice together.”  

A wooden counter stool with neutral linen upholstery pulled up to a kitchen island.
A boucle armchair sits in a meditation room with tatami mats, a large faux olive tree and soft lamplight.

Look for Standout Designs

When it comes to furniture and décor, minimalist design characteristics tend to focus on what’s essential to a home, in order to ensure the aesthetic remains as clutter-free as possible. When you’re prioritizing fewer items, ensuring those limited designs are still striking is key, says another of our in-house interior designers, Antoni Roig, who notes that the best way to bring charm to modern minimalist interiors is to look for pieces that can hold their own. “Our OKA looks can be quite rich, because that is the nature of the brand,” he says, “but it’s when we enter the less-is-more spaces that you discover the pieces that stand best by themselves. Our Crosby Armchair, Estella Wine Cabinet, Abaneri Side Table or Merton Floor Lamp—the list is endless. Each piece has a unique identity and most are a good contestant for an understated look.”

Pay Attention to Shape

Another way to add interest to a minimalist space is to focus on the silhouettes of your furniture and homeware. Try to avoid introducing too many angular pieces, as this can add to the harsher, more static stereotype of the style—instead, seek undulating curves, soft edges and unusual detailing. For Abisola’s home, the designer sought pieces that made a statement through shapes rather than shades. The sloping back of our Filippo Linen Sofa, for example, added the perfect centerpiece for her open-plan kitchen/sitting room, while our Solomon Coffee Table’s twisted legs further complemented the curves. “The twisted legs of the coffee table are just so magical,” she says. “I gravitate towards pieces I’ve not seen before. You see a lot of bobbin legs or French-stool vibes, but I’ve never seen something like this, and on such a chunky scale.”

A black bar cabinet with gold handles sits in a room with plaster walls.
A selection of neutral and black decor.

Add Warmth with Light

Whether your style is bright and eclectic, clean and simple or somewhere in between, light—both natural and artificial—is an essential element that will bring your space to life. For minimalist homes, it has an extra special role to play in creating a warm environment. “Light is so important to me. I usually have all the soft lamps on in my home,” says Abisola. “I have them on a motion-sensor, so walking in and seeing them all illuminate the room is quite special. That’s a great welcome home.” Lampshades can influence the color and softness of your light and, happily for minimalist homes, neutral-colored shades are best for diffusing an inviting glow throughout a room. Natural light, too, is important for enhancing a space, and south-facing homes will really enjoy the benefit of a softer, more neutral color palette. “My apartment gets great light when the sun is shining; it pours in from every angle,” Abisola says. “It’s nice to have those neutral tones because the warmth of the light illuminates everything so nicely.” 

Keep Size and Scale in Mind

To add a final twist to your minimalist space, look to variations in size and scale. Just as contrasting textures help bring depth and detail to a room, so too can scale help to create a more visually interesting aesthetic. You don’t have to refurnish to get the effect—décor and smaller pieces are perfect for introducing a touch of difference. “When styling with pillows, make sure you play around with different sizes to create interest in the space,” Sophie explains. “This concept also applies to artwork and side tables—don’t be afraid to experiment with scale within a room.”

For such a pared-back look, there are so many opportunities to bring your personality and style to the fore. Have fun with tones, take a leap with texture and introduce contrast in unexpected ways—you’ll soon find this simple style is, in fact, anything but.