Here’s What to Do if Your Minimalist Room Turned Out Boring

published Nov 25, 2019
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Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images

Minimalist rooms are meant to be airy and understated. But what if yours turned out feeling empty or bland? There’s a fine line between something being minimalist and feeling totally sparse, and it can be tricky to knock this subdued style out of the park. If your minimalist room turned out boring, these tips from a handful of artful AT house tours will teach you how to give your minimalist room some much needed character and life. 

Find Pieces that Feel Personal

If you went the minimalist route and ended up with a sterile room, try adding a few accents that will truly make you smile every time you look at them, like this homeowner did with stylish pillows, colorful piece of art, and a pretty plant. A lot of the times we buy random decorative touches because our rooms need some sprucing up, or items were on sale. Maybe the piece you found was pretty close to what you were looking for, so you went for it, and now you hate it. Point is—stop buying placeholders and hold out for special items that you really love. Even if your room is minimalist, you will walk into it feeling like it’s a reflection of you.

Add Texture into the Equation

Minimalist palettes tend to favor a lot of white and super neutral shades. Problem is these colors can sometimes look cold. To make your room feel cozier, all you have to do is use tonal texture to your advantage, like this homeowner did by combining flowy sheer curtains with a textural duvet and furry sheepskin rug. Chunky knit throws, woven rugs, velvet pillows—all of these kinds of items can be found in subtle hues and their textures will bring interest to your space. Moreover, these types of soft accents will make a simple room feel inviting and homey without cluttering it up visually.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Let Lamp Fixtures Shine

Try adding some extra excitement into your room through lighting. Choose a beautiful bold pendant for your overhead fixture, as this homeowner did. Or pick out funky bedside lamps to perk up plain nightstands. Find an interesting floor lamp to fill an empty corner of your living room. Lighting is a great way to brighten up a space in a literal sense. But if you pick something in a finish that pops, you’ll also get a decorative boost from these practical pieces. 

Become a Plant Parent

The easiest way to make a room pop—add plants! Fill a corner with a potted plant, as seen in this warm, sunny bedroom. Or place a few small succulents on your end tables, and use a trailing plant as a finishing touch on a bookcase. Greenery will instantly add energy to your room, and anyone who walks in will be able to feel that.

Credit: Adam Stewart

Accessorize Wisely

Your room doesn’t have to be full of lots of stuff so long as what you do have is meaningful to you and visually interesting. That’s why we love what this homeowner did here, mixing in personal items like busts, vases, and faux taxonomy—all in shades of white—with dark wood Mid-Century Modern furniture. Sometimes all you need is a bit of contrast to balance a room out. Try an irregularly shaped side table next to the couch or an artsy sculpture on a nightstand or dresser. Experiment with a vintage textile draped over the couch. You don’t have to go overboard with accessories. Just find ones that speak to you or some other element in the room.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

Put Stuff on the Floor

For rooms that feel more sparse than minimalist, try making them feel fuller and homier by creating a vignette or two on the floor, as in the above perfectly curated living room. Notice we didn’t say clutter up the floor—we’re talking rugs and poufs here or maybe a floor pillow and a big basket. You could also add a vase with dried flowers or a piece of art. These low-to-the-ground accents will make your room feel full of life.

Credit: Cathy Pyle

Add Earthy Accents

Scandinavian design is predominantly white and black with a few pastel colors thrown in, but it still feels cozy because of its earthy accents. So take your Scandi pieces and throw in some warm woods, rattan accessories, and a hit or two of marble, as in this well-appointed kitchen. Natural materials and colors can really warm up a space.

Credit: Huyen Do

Start a Collection

Minimalist doesn’t have to mean empty. Pump up the interest in a room by showcasing small collections that have the same style, as this homeowner artfully did. Display candlesticks and potted plants on a shelf, group similar bowls together on the wall, or hang similar blankets on a blanket ladder. Your room won’t seem cluttered because the items will read as a group as opposed to individual things.