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How to add warmth to a mostly minimalist space

By LLM Reporters  |  September 19, 2020

The principle behind minimalism is ‘less is more’, but does that mean we have to sacrifice on warmth and personality when we style our homes? Minimalist décor can make a home look spacious, clean and beautiful, but the concern is that the space will look like a furniture showroom rather than a cosy home. For you to love your home, it needs to reflect you and with a little work this can be done whilst still maintaining a minimalist lifestyle. We spoke to five different interior experts who advise on how to add warmth to a mostly minimalist space.

1. Welcoming walls


When we think of minimalist décor, we tend to envision an absence of colour on the walls. However, white should be considered a tone and not just a single colour, as this can look too sterile and uninviting. Use different materials or white palettes that include hints of yellow or pink to add warmth to any casual space.

Alexandra Laird, design manager at Burbeck Interiors, says: “When painting the walls, I would recommend using brighter colours, as pastels and whites tend to get lost in the space. There are many fantastic, creative ways to decorate your walls and incorporate bold colour into a minimalist space. From full, welcoming walls that can be installed, to dramatic pieces of art, or 3D elements, these are all unique ways to create eye-catching, welcoming walls.”

2. Incorporate statement pieces


Adding decorative accessories can instantly brighten up a lifeless space. Whether this be hanging a tapestry to create depth to your walls or incorporating natural elements into the space, such as a natural grain wood coffee table or indoor plant, these statement objects will create visual appeal and make your space look more inviting.

Jennifer Jarvis, senior designer at Helen Green Design, says: “Quality over quantity is a popular phrase, especially in minimalism. We recommend incorporating statement pieces through exquisitely upholstered pieces of bespoke furniture or hand-crafted lighting. One source of inspiration can be Vezzini and Chen’s Gem Light that has a hand-crafted ceramic centre and is glass globe surround. When arranged across a ceiling in a dining room it creates a chandelier effect and is a standout piece within a room.”

3. Choose natural materials


The key is to choose items you love and keep them to a minimum. To add warmth and an additional layer of texture to any bare space, opt for cosy textiles. A comfy mohair blanket or a beautifully carved headboard can add a lot of depth to any neutral space.

Vanessa Arbuthnott, CEO and interior designer at Vanessa Arbuthnott, says: “In a minimalistic space I would choose plain 100% linens in soft natural colours. Simple one colour Harris tweeds and plain velvets would work, especially if they are in lovely oranges, warm blues and yellows, to add warmth to the space. Pattern should be kept to a minimum with one colour prints being preferable.”

4. Layer your minimalist patterns


Adding layers doesn’t equal adding clutter back into a room. In fact, minimalist spaces should be layered with different textures and patterns to feel more comfortable. This could be adding a sheepskin rug to your living room to keep your feet warm, or integrating small, functional furniture items to add texture into the room. These layers will make your minimalist space feel more homely, as well as functional.

James Ashfield, studio manager at RigbyandRigby, says: “Minimalist patterns can be added to any interior design scheme that starts with a neutral base colour. Try layering tone on tone using contrasting colours such as black, neutral and brown. Alternatively, you can also create patterns through natural materials such as timber flooring. These domestic woods have plenty of natural colour variations ranging from blonde to chocolate.”

5. Light up the space


Lighting is important to add into any space to make it feel warm and functional. In every room, you should make sure you have ample ambient light, whether this be daylight or overhead lights, and separate soft task lights. This will design a more inviting space, which is useful and practical at the same time.

Richard Heard, design specialist at DotcomBlinds, says: “To make a minimalist room feel warmer, we’d recommend using a set of Roman blinds. They fit well into a minimalist space as they give a nice, sleek impression to the home, especially with an unpatterned fabric in a warm neutral colour like a strong fawn. As well as making a room look warmer, they can also make your room physically warmer, as Roman blinds use thick material that helps insulate windows to keep the cold out. If you need to install a light fixture, we recommend avoiding sterile white lights and going with something more traditional like amber lighting.”

Images courtesy of Helen Green Design.