Minimalism as a design concept is often jumbled along with terms like modern and contemporary, but there are differences between all three. A minimalist space focuses on function and religiously follows the phrase “less is more.” This doesn’t mean that decorative styles can’t be woven into the mix though, and a minimalist room can have a retro flair or traditional vibe, and vice versa. While neutral colors are typically used in these bedrooms, adding punches of bright or deep color to the palette can add visual interest.
Minimalism is everywhere—Pinterest is saturated with sparse but stylish rooms, and stunningly sleek examples may have popped up on your Instagram feed as well.
Minimalist silhouettes are clean and smooth, and you won’t find clutter or excessive amounts of flourish. You likely won’t find something like a houndstooth couch or stacks on stacks of books in a minimalist living room, but you might see a bright color here and there or a few inconspicuous patterns being added in the form of a rug or throw pillows.
3. Just the Personalized Basics
4. Rustic Meets Minimalism
Minimalism sometimes gets a bad rap for looking sterile, but this style isn’t solely reserved for all-white, cold spaces. There are plenty of minimalist living rooms that feel cozy. Case in point: this Barcelona living room. If you mix textures and add a few natural touches to your room, the overall feel will be warm and welcoming, even if your room embraces blank space with just a few key furnishings and details.
This Montreal living room may be small, but it doesn’t look cluttered thanks to its minimalist design. Fun pillows and leafy plants keep it far from boring.
The unintrusive pop of color from the mobile hanging in this chic Valencia home is the perfect example of how to use brighter shades in accordance with minimalist principles. Warm-tone wood accents are also helpful in making this gray space feel a bit more homey without losing its simplicity.
8. Light-Soaked Minimalist Living Room
Look no further than this Culver City home for proof that you can use deep, dark colors and still give your room a minimalist vibe. The key is not overfilling your space with furniture and keeping shapes simple. This space features a gorgeous soapstone coffee table as a statement piece.
10. Ultra Tidy Minimalist Living Room
In larger spaces, a lot of people get intimidated by white space and try to decorate every square inch, but this Virginia home shows that that’s not necessary. The curvy shapes of the lamp, pillow, table, and chairs provide plenty of personality to this simple space.
11. Playing With Proportions
Manipulating negative space, as seen in this Dutch living room, proves how minimalism can be the furthest thing from boring. The interplay of the little fireplace, tiny cuckoo clock, small television, and framed posters creates tons of visual interest while also giving the living room a bit of an art gallery vibe.
12. Texture-Heavy Minimalist Living Room
There is nothing boring in this space designed by LA-based firm Amber Interiors. Though seemingly simple, the space is full of intrigue thanks to its textures—everything from earthy leather and faux fur to nubby linen and live-edge wood.
Designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd is known for her more-is-more approach when it comes to color, but in this minimal space she played with subtlety and shape instead of a harmony of hues. The slight curve of the sofa and the sophisticated palette leave little else to want.
14. Cali-Cool Minimalist Living Room
Designer Jessica Helgerson’s clever implementation of circles throughout this room keep the eye in constant movement while its complementary textures beg to be touched.
15. Minimalism With Patterns
The contrast game is on point in this home designed by Brian Paquette. The richly tactile brick wall sets the stage for its softer counterparts like the plush sofa, soft wood coffee table and brushed brass accents, proving that a simple room can also feel quite layered and lively.
16. Minimalist Living Room With Bold Statement Pieces
The guys of Consort opted to keep a low-profile when fashioning this minimal living room. By keeping the various seating heights at about the same eye level, the space is inviting and the sight lines are open. A single oversize mirror is the only wall decor needed.
17. Ultra Airy Minimal Living Room
Here’s a way to make a white-walled room look far more purposeful: paint the moldings and any other architectural detail (like the fireplace in this room by Studio DB) a light gray to create just enough contrast to keep things interesting (and echo those color choices throughout the selected furnishings and decor). With just two simple hues, this design team made quite an impact.
18. Quiet Living Space With a Splash of Color
At first glance, this living room by Studio Lifestyle (who designed the home for actress Hilary Duff) doesn’t necessarily come off as “minimal” but look again, and you’ll see that there isn’t actually much going on in here. With just a few key furnishings and lighting, you can create quite the design story with minimal fluff.
19. Color-Blocked Living Room
When it came to creating this living space, designer Ashley Darryl kept it simple, but punched it up with thought-provoking art and a bit of color blocking. The white shell of the space provided the perfect stage for that killer blue velvet sofa and black, green and blue books create their own statement on the adjacent shelving unit.
Sometimes, a tone-on-tone room can be even more interesting than a space with a million things going on, like in this room designed by Brad Ford. His subtle neutral inflections keep your eye constantly engaged and primed for discovery.
21. Frosty Minimalist Living Room
For a space that has minimal colors, there’s so much to discuss! New York designer Sasha Bikoff brilliantly weaved a cool, almost icy palette that is still pretty inviting and filled with endless texture and sculptural wonders.
22. Minimalist Outdoor Living Room
When you’ve got a view like this, who needs more than a place to sit and take it all in? San Francisco designer Nicole Hollis clearly agrees, as she kept this room simple and unstuffy to let the vistas do the heavy aesthetic lifting.
23. Wood-Laden Living Room
24. Black and White Minimalist Space
Bennett Leifer shows off how cool it is to be square in this gorgeous Manhattan living room where angles are anything but boring. A touch of polished brass lends a cool ’70s vibe to the otherwise monochrome space.
25. Simple and Sharp Living Room
Pared down but perfect: Designer Benjamin Vandiver prove that it’s not the amount of stuff in a room, but the quality of pieces that make an impact.
26. Beautifully Beige Living Room
Tone on tone on tone was the course of action taken by the interiors team M. Elle to assemble this tranquil space. While full of a healthy helping of decor, the one-note palette keeps things simple on the eyes.
27. Living Room With a Splash of Greenery
The serene Utrecht apartment of Sarah and San is quit sparse, and maybe the most minimal of all the rooms in this list, but somehow—thanks to some greenery and textiles—it still feels warm and inviting.
28. Curved and Geometric Minimalist Living Room
What else does a living room really need, aside from a pair of oversize sofas to sink into at the end of a long day? According to this killer space designed by Leanne Ford, not much!
Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann
A bathroom doesn’t have to be big to have great style and function. To us, a small space means a fun challenge when it comes to storage and design. So you can still live out your retro or boho bathroom design dreams even if you have a small space.
Below, 30 of our favorite small bathrooms from our house tours for inspiration.
1. Use built-ins for décor and storage
We love how this built-in exhibits a plant and perfume, but also offers toilet paper storage.
2. Add a shelf that’s stylish and provides storage
This small shelf totally adds to the boho vibe of this bathroom while also offering additional storage space.
3. Utilize the space above the toilet
In a small bathroom, it’s a missed opportunity if you don’t utilize the empty space above your toilet. This shelf looks great decorated with plants, but also creates a home for towels and toilet paper.
This Cape Town bathroom is a study in getting creative with a small footprint. It makes room for a freestanding tub. Also of note is the art, interesting light fixture and paint color that make the compact space feel design-forward.
5. Add a towel rod above the toilet
If you’re short on space to hang your hand towel, why not install a towel rod in that unused space above the toilet? In this home there is even a small shelf above the towel rod too for an added décor opportunity.
6. Utilize a ladder shelf
Ladder shelves are both a décor statement and storage opportunity. We love how this one’s colorful vibe matches the rest of the bathroom.
7. Change out the hardware
In this petite bathroom, the black-and-brass found in the shower curtain are echoed throughout the space with matching knobs, hooks, and even outlet covers, tying everything together.
8. Try the shelf + towel rack + toilet tank-décor combo
Don’t waste any potential storage or décor space in a tiny bathroom. This Chicago apartment has both a towel rod and a shelf with frames and foliage above the toilet, as well as décor on top of the toilet tank.
For more storage and décor space, install a shelf that runs the length of one wall, as seen in this Chicago condo.
A small bathroom can sometimes feel claustrophobic, so breathe life into the space with live plants. Greenery that requires low light and humidity tends to thrive here.
Open wall space in a bathroom is prime real estate. Here, a series of small open shelves provide storage, while a long mirror provides function.
12. Display plant clippings
If your bathroom doesn’t get enough sunlight, but you love the look of plants, display clippings from your healthier house plants that can survive periods of time in water—like these monstera leaves.
Many of us consider the bathroom a 100% functional space, forgetting that we have to spend a lot of time in it. Give yourself a pretty painting or print to look at while you brush your teeth.
14. Decant functional items
Cotton balls and Q-Tips look prettier in decanters, plus putting them there clears up cabinet and drawer space.
Go as high as you want with a wall shelf. Utilize all available space when necessary, like this cleverly positioned shelf which doubles as a towel rod. Bonus: the toilet can be used as a step ladder for easy access.
17. Go for a wall-to-wall vanity
Many bathroom vanities are not custom built for the space they’re in, resulting in unused space on either side. If you happen to be redoing your vanity area, consider a wall-to-wall unit. This beauty houses aesthetically pleasing bathroom accessories and requires no doors.
18. Utilize unexpected spots
Take note of every empty space in your bathroom. You can take advantage of any bare walls by installing shelves.
19. Decorate with color blocking
Color blocking doesn’t have to mean bold and bright. This little loo got a face lift with some trés Parisian color blocking in a pastel and black that makes for a calm and classic bathroom experience.
Some spaces are so small, there’s no hiding it. Instead of using airy, bright colors to reflect light and make a space feel open, embrace your teensy toilet room with a moody color palette.
22. Use that space next to the toilet
This bathroom refuses to be defined by its size. Big, bold patterns create a huge impact in a small space. Just go for it!
Towels and jewelry lend themselves well to being hung. Whether you’re looking to display your goods or maximize space efficiency, hang them up on a variety of hooks.
25. Install a round mirror
Some mirrors are too big and bulky for a small space. The softness of a round mirror is a great alternative.
26. Try out a curved curtain rod
Curtain rods that curve outward take advantage of unused open space to give you a couple of extra inches of elbow room in your tiny shower.
27. Find the perfect temporary storage
There are so many options for small storage units. Measure your open spaces and search for the perfect fit to slide into them.
28. Corral items on top of your toilet
Gather toiletries and décor on top of your toilet. It’s basically extra counter space, and if you use a tray or decorative bowl/basket it creates a barrier between your things and the toilet.
Bright, neutral colors are great at reflecting light and making a space feel bigger than it is. Sticking with natural materials like stone and porcelain will also help to elevate your wee WC.
30. Wall-mount the faucet
Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann