Following a mantra of less is more, minimalist homes tend to conjure up images of monastic interiors, sleek surfaces and barely-there furnishings, which give them a reputation of being cold and sterile.
But it doesn't always have to be the case. Here, we show you how you can create a warm and cosy ambience even while maintaining a clutter-free, pared-back aesthetic in your minimalist home:
THINK ABOUT HOW YOU USE THE SPACE
Rather than focus on nailing that minimalist aesthetic, think about how you will be interacting with your space first.
When you plan your home around your daily rituals and habits, you will find that you'll end up with a home that is a lot warmer and cosier.
For instance, if you like having a dedicated area for eating within the kitchen, consider doing up a breakfast bar. Or if you like spending your leisure time curling up with a good book, a daybed cosy corner in the living room is a great option.
These ideas won't go against your pared-back aesthetic when done according to the principles of minimalist design, but they can add lots of warmth and cosiness because you're making these spaces your own.
AVOID USING JUST ONE COLOUR
A lot of minimalist homes feature a single tone-usually white-which is great for the minimalist look.
But if you're looking to inject some warmth, think about layering different neutral tones with warm hues.
Start with a white base with beige undertones then layer with colours like taupe, cream or greige and finally seal the deal with a charcoal black accent, which can help to modernise the look.
If you prefer a darker colour palette, you can start with a rich warm black colour and pair them with wood tones and warm whites for that ultra-cosy yet still refined feel.
EMBRACE YOUR CURVES
In a minimalist home, symmetry and balance with harsh edges and straight, clean lines rule. These, while visually stunning, can look somewhat impersonal.
The solution? Add in curves through your furnishings for visual comfort. Curvaceous pieces help to soften the look and add a homier vibe to your space.
For instance, pair an angular armchair with a sofa that features a softer silhouette. An arc floor lamp can help to break up a perfectly symmetrical living room without being visually obtrusive.
Subtle curved edges on your dining chair can also help to ease the sharp lines in your dining area.
BRING IN NATURAL MATERIALS
Natural finishes add tactile and visual texture and layers to a minimalist, sterile space, giving depth and interest.
Find ways to include finishes, furnishings or decor made with materials like leather, wood, metal, cane, terrazzo or wool. Woodgrain flooring, woven baskets, a copper pendant, a chunky knit throw and a leather cushion are some options to consider.
Because most natural materials are already neutral in colour, it's easy to work them into a neutral-palette home. We love using them because their appearances change with time so you're essentially getting several looks for one item.
Copper for example develops a patina over time, wood can get darker or lighter due to oxidation while leather can become creased and wrinkled. To some, these changes only add to the charm of the piece.
CONSIDER THE RIGHT LIGHT
A minimalist home that is bathed in daylight will look naturally warm and cosy.
So free up those windows and let in plenty of natural light into your space. If you want to balance things out (and avoid the space looking too shabby chic), you can opt for a crispier shade of white paint for your walls.
Don't have the luxury of natural light? Consider artificial light sources in warmer hues-you will want to select LEDs that offer the warm glow of incandescents or bulbs with colour temperatures of around 2700K for that traditional warm and cosy look.
GET IN SOME PLANTS
There's a reason why many of the minimalist homes we see on social media are decked out in plants.
Plants are a great way to add in texture, yet they are neutral enough that they don't take away that pared-back aesthetic we're after. Of course, like with any minimalist decorating, it's about curating your selection.
In your minimalist home, avoid clustering too many plants together and regularly prune your greenery lest they turn your space into a jungle. Statement plants like the fiddle-leaf fig work well on their own in a corner of the room, while the rubber plant's dark green leaves go great against a white wall.
Other options include the dragon tree, whose sharp and sleek silhouette fits perfectly with the minimalist vibe.
DON'T SHY AWAY FROM PERSONAL TOUCHES
Embracing minimalism isn't about doing away with everything. It's really also about retaining what we value the most while removing things that we don't. So curate, curate, curate.
Find objects you love and put them on display. Do however be strict about your selections and think about why you're adding it to the space. Every piece should have a purpose, whether for aesthetic or functional reasons.
These personal touches go a long way in injecting warmth and cosiness in your minimalist home.
This article was first published in Renonation.