Minimalist living room ideas – 10 simple schemes to spark joy

Minimalist living room ideas do not have to be stark and sterile. Here's how to create the perfect pared-back scheme

An example of minimalist living room ideas with an L-shaped sofa and wooden floor
(Image credit: JDP Interiors / Bess Friday)

Minimalist living room ideas are everywhere on social media and when it comes to interior design, less can mean more.

With busy modern lives, homeowners are now more aware of their furniture choices and aim to find a balance between streamlined minimalism and luxurious comfort for their living room ideas

But what is minimalist design, you ask? Minimalism itself is rooted in the principle of ridding your home of clutter. It is about harnessing the power of a 'clean' space that features only a few meaningful and cherished items.

This design philosophy also centers around a sustainable and more efficient way of living. 

Minimalist living room ideas

1. Paint and decorate in a muted color palette

A minimalist living room with a gray color scheme and a white lamp

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

Minimalist decor and small living room ideas go hand-in-hand, so it pays to keep your color choices simple. 

‘The color palette and materials that are chosen can also have a huge impact on the overall design,’ says Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. 

‘A minimalist combination of neutral, muted tones and rich wood finishes will display simplicity that will remain timeless, even as the style of the home evolves.’ 

2. Stick to a monochrome scheme

A minimalist living room with white walls and a dark gray velvet chair in front of dark wall art

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Black and white living room paint ideas always look smart. A monochrome decorating scheme is a minimalistic choice that requires an element of bravery, as it requires careful editing and a strong design eye.

This type of interior can also appear ‘flat’ if you don’t introduce texture and subtle tonal variety. But put together carefully, it’s a great way to enhance a minimalistic living room.

Tone and texture are important. Remember that the most successful monochrome interiors combine movement and depth with tactile pieces to create a warm and inviting minimal scheme.

3. Chanel a Mid-century modern aesthetic

An example of minimalist living room ideas showing a mid-century modern living room with Scandi furniture and parquet flooring

(Image credit: Future / Alexander James)

With their timeless aesthetic and pared-back style, Mid-century modern living rooms are enduringly popular with minimalist enthusiasts. 

Characterised by clean, straight lines and flowing organic curves, Mid-century style and minimalism complement each other beautifully.

Simplicity in design and styling is key, along with a lack of ornamentation and a limited color palette. 

4. Experiment with texture in a minimalist scheme

A minimalist living room with white walls, a white pendant light and a red velvet armchair

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

If you think you can't use texture in a minimalist living room, think again. Embrace warm minimalism by introducing luxurious furnishings coupled with streamlined furniture for a cozy feel that still feels contemporary.

'The layering of materials, colors and shapes all amount to give your interiors an overall texture which can define the look and feel of a space,' says Martin Waller, co-founder of Andrew Martin. 'Glossy surfaces like polished chrome, shiny marble and smooth leather, all in tonal shades, give a room a sleek, modern appearance.

5. Take inspiration from Scandinavian design philosophy 

An example of minimalist living room ideas showing a living room with pastel blue sofas and a pink foot stool

(Image credit: Rowland Roques O'Neil / Future)

Wondering how to design a living room that is minimal yet warm? The soft minimalism and mixed colors of Nordic design are perfect for creating chic, understated interiors.

Scandinavian style has become something of a conventional design staple – ubiquitous, mass-produced and endlessly reinterpreted. However, in its original form, the clean Nordic aesthetic never loses its appeal. 

To stay true to Nordic fundamentals, choose beautifully crafted forms, natural materials and a pure, pared-back color palette. The essence of the look lies in its clean lines, repeating shapes and a soft minimalism that aims to be crisp without feeling stark.

Consider whether every element is essential and take away those that are not. Minimalism, it turns out, is not just about objects. It’s a mindset that helps you let go of the things that don’t matter, and no longer serve you.

6. Decorate a small minimalist living room to perfection

A mid-century modern living room with a window with a black frame above a blue sofa

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Most palettes feature white, grays, sky blues and cream: muted basics that work well together and can carry a brighter accent color in moderation. 

Balance this with layers of wood and texture. Furniture and flooring in pale timbers, such as maple, adds classic warmth. For a richer look, darker woods can be substituted. Alternatively, try using a gray oil to tone down the yellow in woods, such as pine and oak. 

Pattern follows similar rules. Minimalist style in a small living room calls for geometric abstraction, prints inspired by nature and line illustrations. But it’s possible to incorporate more detailed motifs across fabric and wallpaper, as long as you stick to your original palette.

7. Think about the position and location of your living room

A minimalist living room with a woodburner, a bookshelf and a blue armchair

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

If your house is located somewhere cold, include a column-style wood burner, but tuck it into a corner.

And don’t forget to emphasize the importance of light, a key feature in the minimalist movement. Simply-designed living room lighting ideas with visible bulbs will be both practical and attractive.

8. Dare to go for a pure white scheme

A minimalist living room with white walls and wrap around glass floor to ceiling windows

(Image credit: JDP Interiors / Bess Friday)

Designed by Joyce Downing Pickens of JDP Interiors, this modern home in the Russian Hill neighbourhood of San Francisco is a minimalists dream. 

If you can't make up your mind color-wise, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going for an all-white living room and adding color and texture with your decorating choices, as Joyce has done here. 

There’s nothing cleaner or crisper than a pure white scheme. Whether it’s a high gloss design or a traditional country one, it’s a look that lasts, no matter what the latest craze is.

9. Embrace Japanese simplicity and elegance

A minimalist living room with Japandi style artwork and furniture

(Image credit: Damian Russell / Future)

A mash-up of elegant Japanese minimalism and rustic Scandinavian simplicity, the Japandi living room trend is a hybrid of the best elements of two much-loved styles. 

Go for a Japandi aesthetic if your home is your sanctuary and you take a less-is-more approach with uncluttered spaces, clean lines and a calm, subdued color palette. 

At the same time, you want your living room to feel relaxed and comfortable, lived-in and homely, so finding a balance between minimal decor and cozy living room ideas is key. 

This pared-back look will work in any setting. Plus, choosing quality over quantity will give small living rooms space to breath,.

10. Be selective with storage in a minimalist living room

An example of minimalist living room ideas showing a minimalist living room with wall hung storage next to a traditional fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

Another element to consider is functional storage. It is important to be selective when choosing furniture. Storage is key to help create this pared-back look – a wall-hung unit will keep floor space open and clear. 

‘Working clever, personalized storage into your living room will allow for a streamlined design, with the option of discrete open and closed storage,’ says Simon Tcherniak, Senior Designer at Neville Johnson. 

‘This enables rooms to feel uncluttered so that statement finishes and architectural features can take center stage.’ 

How do you style a minimalist living room?

Minimalism used to mean stark, glossy furniture with a sleek, Mid-century vibe. Now, it’s warmer and earthier, with a blend of Scandinavian and Japanese accents.  

Take the clinical edge out of an all-white scheme by working in some bohemian living room ideas, such as rattan lighting, artisan-style vases, a chunky wool rug and rustic raw wood furniture. 

Color comes in the form of neutrals inspired by natural earthy tones – brown, caramel and dusty sienna.  

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 

Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.