In recent years, a major cultural shift towards the ‘less is more’ mindset has spread across the globe, especially in the realm of interior design. And, as minimalism and minimalist-inspired designed trends have taken center stage, people have grown to value the importance of space over having innumerable, often useless, possessions.
As a by-product of the minimalism craze, many took the minimalist way of life to the extreme, with thousands discarding all the possessions they owned in favor of a freer, less cluttered life. In some cases, this meant that every piece of furniture – including chairs, tables and even beds – was eliminated, as people prioritized space over anything else.
On the other hand, some adopted a less extreme approach when bringing minimalism into their lives for the first time. Favoring clean lines, space, and a lack of clutter, without making drastic alterations to the way that they lived, this group still relinquished any item that failed to offer some measurable functionality to their lives.
However, as the dust has settled on the minimalism craze, many have come to realize that they like their spaces accessorized, and that the personal – though technically unnecessary – touches we make to our homes can sometimes make all the difference to the way we feel about the spaces we inhabit.
Thus, the cozy minimalism trend was born, combining the clutter-free, clean-lined, open-spaces that attracts people to minimalist design – and keeping the focus on functionality – while acknowledging the positive effect that personalization and customization can have on a space, particularly when it comes to ensuring your comfort and happiness within your home.
Having said this, it can be difficult to strike the balance between adding personal touches that make a space more yours, and ensuring the space still exudes a minimalist aesthetic that maximizes your home’s functionality.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled 8 guidelines to help you curate the perfect cozy minimalist space.
1. Before anything, you’ll need to complete an overhaul of your possessions.
Photo by Adrienne Leonard
This is step zero in the journey to creating the perfect cozy minimalist space, and if you’ve already embraced minimalism and done a thorough ‘Marie Kondo’ on all of your belongings, this step might not be necessary for you.
Having said this, it’s always a good idea to take stock of everything you own, to make sure that every single one of your possessions is adding some amount of value to your life – after all, it’s easier than we realize to accumulate junk, and to absent-mindedly let these things contaminate our spaces as clutter.
Assuming that you haven’t already converted to minimalism, however, the first thing you’ll need to do is to donate, sell, or – in the case that these aren’t viable options – throw away anything that doesn’t add value to your life or to your home.
To do this effectively, you’ll need to pull out all of your belongings from their place – even items from the cabinets, drawers and wardrobes – and decide, item by item, which things you want to keep and which you don’t.
While this might seem like a hassle, in the long-term doing a thorough mental inventory of the things you own – and drastically reducing the volume of clutter you have – will save you time and maximize your home productivity as, with less things to keep track of, you’re more likely to be able to find your remaining possessions when you need them, without any of your current hassle.
Before embarking on this potentially gargantuan task, you should have your expectations set, having decided beforehand how you’ll make these decisions. Some of the things you own will be essential for your everyday living – and, as such, easy to decide to keep, but past this the criteria for what you decide to keep might be more unclear.
In true Marie Kondo fashion, you could choose to keep items based on whether they ‘spark joy’ – or you could choose to only keep items with strong sentimental value, and that are ultimately priceless to you.
Whatever approach you use is up to you – just make sure that you have a strong idea of what you want to achieve before you begin sorting through your stuff, so that all of your possessions receive the same treatment. This way, you won’t trash things later on that you would have kept earlier in the process, and vice versa.
2. Use a (mostly) neutral palette.
One of the major attractions to minimalist home décor is the clean-lined, open, sophisticated aesthetic that minimalism lends to a space, and one of the ways that minimalist interior design does this is by using a neutral color palette.
So, a color palette comprised of white, beige, taupe, and grey is perfect to help you to create a calm, balanced, minimalist-inspired aesthetic in your space. Moreover, since minimalism focuses on the maximization of space (primarily through the removal of clutter and unnecessary items) using light neutral colors and lots of white, with darker accents here and there, will allow you to create the illusion that the room is larger than it actually is, imbuing the space with an open, light atmosphere.
While classic minimalism sticks to an almost entirely neutral color palette, cozy minimalism allows a bit more flexibility when it comes to adding pops of color, whether that’s with a pair of cushions in your favorite shade of blue or a watercolor art piece on your wall.
The beauty of combining minimalist and cozy interior design ideals is that you can have the best of both worlds; as long as colorful accents don’t overwhelm the calming palette of the room, and you think they add to the mood you want to create in the space, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge here and there.
3. Functionality should be at the heart of your space.
One of the greatest tangible benefits of minimalism is that it places functionality at the forefront, making a person’s space as conducive to productivity as possible, and reducing or eliminating the things that get in the way of this.
And, since cozy minimalism is about blending the best of both worlds, when it comes to cultivating a cozy minimalist space, you should start with the basics – the items in your space which are essential to the function of your life and home.
Once you know what is essential, and these things are in their proper place in your home, you’ll be able to see what this actually looks like, and how much space the basics take up. Then, you will have an idea of how much more you can add to the space to make it more yours, while still retaining the open, uncluttered vibe of a minimalist home.
By designing your space like this – from the ground up, with functionality taken care of first – you won’t accidentally overload your space with ‘stuff’. By implementing the essentials into your home first, you can consciously choose each additional, not-so-necessary item with an awareness of how it will affect the final appearance of the room, allowing you to maintain the balance between minimalism and customization.
4. Incorporate art in your space.
Photo by Customer: Lenore L.
As an interior design trend, cozy minimalism has more sympathy towards the sensibilities of human beings, taking our emotions, our minds, and our creativity into account.
Subsequently, cozy minimalism recognizes that art – though, technically, not essential for survival – can have a profound influence on the way a space feels and, consequently, how we feel when we inhabit that space.
Moreover, minimalism prioritizes productivity and efficiency – taking these ideals into account when formulating the design of a space – as the spaces curated with minimalism in mind become streamlined and optimized for a person’s day-to-day living. Likewise, numerous studies have shown that having art in a space boosts productivity and incites a range of other psychological and emotional benefits.
In this way, incorporating art into a space upholds the minimalist ideals – and some would even call art a necessity.
The principles of minimalism can also be applied to the implementation of art pieces in a space, as a few select pieces of art on your walls can sometimes say more about you – and often have a more significant impact on the room – than a space saturated with art.
By keeping minimalism in mind when decorating your home with art (or with anything, for that matter) you can ensure that each piece will command the attention it deserves, while not overpowering the calm, stripped back aesthetic of the rest of the space.
It’s a no-brainer that art can be used to strengthen the theme or style of a room, and this is also true in the case of cozy minimalism. Depending on which component you want to strengthen – a.k.a. the cozy or the minimalism – you can choose an artwork that complements and emphasizes the elements of this blended interior design style.
For example, simple line art embodies the stripped back, sophisticated simplicity that minimalist spaces exude, while botanical artworks can add warmth and color to a space, helping to bring out the cozy, intimate atmosphere of the room.
5. Add some comfort pieces.
Comfort and warmth are two crucial aspects of the cozy minimalism design trend, as it draws the aesthetic and the feeling of the space away from the colder, sharper-lined minimalist stereotype – the weaknesses that minimalism is sometimes criticized for.
While minimalism seeks to eliminate anything that is not essential for day-to-day living, cozy minimalism understands the importance of being comfortable and, therefore, makes comfort a priority: as much a priority, in fact, as the clutter-free aesthetic that the minimalist component covets.
With this in mind, feel free to embellish your space with anything that will add to your comfort, while practicing restraint, keeping the minimalist tenet ‘less is more’ in the back of your mind as you make any additions. These could include cushions, throws, blankets, rugs, stuffed toys and more – anything that makes your space feel warmer and more inviting and will add to your overall comfort when you spend time in the room.
6. Mix and match different textures.
Photo by nine koepfer
While minimalism (even cozy minimalism) prefers a color palette that’s relatively uniform – using complementary colors that don’t fall too far from the beaten path – this is far from true when it comes to textures.
Even hardcore minimalists mix and match different textures to add aesthetic interest to a space – and commonly do so – as long as the different textures respect the color palette of the room.
While old-school minimalism would seek to blend different, usually harder, textures such as wood and metal in a space, the cozy component of the design trend can be emphasized by the inclusion of faux fur throws and items enclosed in various fabrics, to soften the aesthetic of the room and make the space cozier and more comfortable.
7. Sparingly add personal touches to the space.
After you’ve accomplished the above, you might have a little space left for a few more personal touches: a favored ornament, a few family photographs, a couple of houseplants, or anything else that could help to make the space feel a little more yours.
After installing the basics in your space (or stripping back the space to reveal only the basics, if you’re not working with a blank canvas) you should make any additions consciously and deliberately, taking into account how these things will fit into the space, what value they add to your life, and whether they are truly worth the space they will take up. Buying something for your home just because it looks pretty isn’t going to cut it anymore.
8. Fill the space with light.
Besides decluttering and using light neutral colors to decorate your space, another thing you can do to make a room feel more open and spacey is to ensure the room is flooded by great light.
The best way to achieve this is, of course, natural light, as no bulb can compete with the natural brightening effect of the sun on a room. However, in the absence of huge wall-ensconced windows, a mixture of ceiling and floor lamps can help to brighten the space and gives you the option of reducing the light, bulb by bulb, to create an especially cozy atmosphere at night.
Furthermore, fairly lights can also be used to add warmth to the night-time atmosphere of your cozy minimalist space, if you want to add a little whimsy, and a touch of the fantastical, to your chosen room.
So, if you want to create the ultimate cozy minimalist space, follow these 8 guidelines to curate a space that’s comfortable, cozy, and represents you as a person, while still adhering to the ideals of classic minimalism, to ensure that your home is light, open, clutter-free, and facilitates your productivity to the best of its ability.
When it comes to simple interior design and adding art to your home décor, Doodl offers everyone the opportunity to buy affordable art online that suits their individual taste. Visit our online catalog to find abstract art, minimalist art, geometric art, line art, modern art, and so much more! To learn more about printing options and recommendations from Doodl, visit our FAQs page.