Simplicity rules in these beautiful, pared-down spaces
1 of 10Sarah Sherman Samuel
Minimalism is a exercise in simplicity. Beyond material simplicity, consider striving for visual simplicity, too. A white backdrop and a natural palette (colors you'd find in nature) is a great place to start. Choose neutral colors (shades of brown, white) and add pops of color through textiles and plants. Here, a small run is repurposed as wall art.
2 of 10Lincoln Barbour
Furniture that earns its keep
Virtually every piece in this living room functions as storage, which keeps clutter to a minimum and gives the room a streamlined look. Drawers beneath the sectional contain dog leashes, exercise gear, cords, and guest bedding. Notebooks and other work-from-home equipment are in the credenza under the TV.
3 of 10Thomas J. Story
Views as art
Sometimes art comes with the property. No matter what the season, expansive windows frame nature's beauty. In this mid-century home with full-wall windows in the living room, furnishings are simple in design and neutral in palette and the whole space feels like a retreat.
4 of 10Thomas J. Story
You've heard it before: Objects in your home should be useful or beautiful. Let's take that one step further: simplify display shelving contents by keeping only things that are meaningful to you. Donate books you haven't read (and probably won't) and objects that don't bring you joy. Style what remains by mingling books and objects with art and houseplants so that each shelf seems to tell a story.
5 of 10Thomas J. Story
Strict minimalists banish all trinkets and ephemera from a home. Here, a living room houses only what the family uses: a sofa, a video player, blankets, pillows.
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When possible, integrate built-in furniture into a space. Especially in small living rooms, this maximizes floor space and minimizes furnishings. For any space, a good rule of thumb: minimize what comes in contact with the floor (furniture, storage vessels, stacks of books, etc).
7 of 10Thomas J. Story
Let utility be part of your design strategy. Here, colorful book spines create an artistic moment, and thoughtfully-designed fireplace tools double as sculptural art.
8 of 10Thomas J. Story
Diverse surface materials
In this outdoor living room, the surface materials take center design stage. A mix of rustic wood, black-washed wood, and concrete are complimented by crushed oyster shells underfoot. Tall flowering plants and hedges serve as walls.
9 of 10Thomas J. Story
Minimal spaces don't have to have a museum-like blandness. This pink fireplace wall pops adjacent to the white kitchen, complimenting the otherwise neutral palette.