As a minimalist, you know the drill. Only decorate with things that spark joy and make your heart soar. Lose all the clutter. Stick to neutrals and tried-and-true hues. And be extremely selective with your home decor.
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Although minimalist brands can certainly be high-end, that may not coincide with your bottom line. If you dream of airy spaces punctuated with carefully chosen pieces, we're here to tell you that minimalist design on a budget isn't just possible — it's incredibly easy. As opposed to bohemian and farmhouse spaces that tend to wrap in lots of layers and tchotchkes, minimalist style embraces a "less is more" philosophy — which is music to your budget's ears.
To get started, here are 20 decorating ideas that will help you stay true to your minimalist aesthetic without breaking the bank.
1. Embrace simple materials.
When it comes to minimalist interiors, you certainly don't need to be ornate or showy with your materials. In fact, the simpler, the better. Think cost-effective unfinished woods like plywood, straightforward lighting, and furniture without fussy details, pieces that Kitty Cotten showcased in her sister's bedroom makeover.
2. Try out a new paint color.
Paint is one of the most budget-friendly options around when it comes to updating any minimalist space. If you don't want to overload your living room but you've been craving a pop of something, give your walls a fresh new coat of paint. We love the matte terra cotta hue that the team over at Norm Architects went with for this minimalist scheme — the result is striking but not distracting.
3. Consider floor-to-ceiling tile.
Tile isn't too expensive either, especially when it's subway tile. If you are a minimalist decorating on a budget, turn that bathroom backsplash into a feature wall. The floor-to-ceiling look will add a hint of drama amid minimal details, an approach that Lisa of Bella Vie Interiors seems to have perfected.
4. Use what you already have.
It's the oldest trick in the book: Use items that you have on hand. We're willing to bet you already have a few pieces in your home that you truly love, so find new ways to show them off. If you have more than a few pieces, take turns showing them off by rotating them out for other pieces that have been stashed away. This dresser dressed up by Kristina Lynne undoubtedly features some beloved accents.
5. Splurge on one (or two) really great pieces.
If you don't want to break the bank, choose one key item to act as a focal point — something special that you don't mind spending a bit more money on. It could be an amazing rattan and cane lounge chair, something like the piece Anna Jepson of The Féministe chose for her light-filled living room.
When designing any space on a budget, minimalist or not, you should absolutely make time to go through every single item in that area and get rid of anything you don't want or need. You'd be amazed at how much more space you suddenly have, not to mention you might find a few things that you thought were lost forever. And once that side table is cleared off you can follow the lead of Sarah from Room for Tuesday and curate your own picture-perfect vignette.
7. Bring home a few plants.
There are many reasons why we love our plant babies, and the fact that they aren't that expensive is one of them. If you're a minimalist decorating on a budget, follow the lead of Abi of These Four Walls and bring some greenery into your space while sticking to the bottom line.
8. Opt for a neutral color palette.
Instead of layering color upon color, which can add up to a lot of time and money (not to mention distraction), adhere to a straightforward, neutral palette in your space. For instance, Tara Cain Design went with white, black, and light wood finishes for this pared-down dining room.
9. Make it cozy.
Who says that a minimalist living room can't feel cozy? And you can do it on a dime since traditionally, throw pillows and blankets aren't all that expensive (thank you, Amazon!). It only takes a couple of sumptuous pieces to make a minimalist space feel comfy and inviting, as proven by this inviting corner styled by the team over at Nune.
10. Curate a thoughtful and budget-friendly display by thrifting.
Minimalism centers on curation, and when you're on a budget, that's something that can work out well for you. It means you won't have to drop tons of money on multiple items. Instead, peruse your local thrift stores and flea markets to find a few special objects that will complete your cabinet vignette. This artful display shows us how it's done.
11. Make a big impact with a few inexpensive shelves.
Floating shelves are typically not pricey, and they are a great way to create instant wall art, especially when square footage is at a premium. The limited space forces you to limit your decor, opting only to display exceptional or meaningful pieces, as demonstrated in this living room makeover by Juan of Boreal Abode.
12. Stick to clean lines.
Overstuffed, curvaceous furniture is all the rage these days, but it won't bode well for your minimalist living room, and it tends to be expensive, too. Instead, opt for clean lines from the coffee table to the floor lamp, as seen in this clutter-free setup by Anne Sage.
13. Invest in white frames for a cohesive finish.
You can literally go to any big box store, like Target or IKEA, right now and pick up several white frames priced under $10 apiece. Although they'll go with every design style, they look especially good in a minimalist interior flaunting a monochromatic palette — like this hallway by Abi of These Four Walls. Bonus: You can swap out the art whenever you want to change up the look.
14. Don’t follow the trends.
While minimalism tends to look modern, it oftentimes turns its back on trends. After all, keeping up with the changing winds of the design world can get expensive, so go the minimalist (and budget-minded) route and stick with timeless accents instead. The team over at Kresswell Interiors is clearly on the same page, as evidenced by this welcoming entryway.
15. Let the natural beauty of wood do all the work.
You don't need to add a lot of frilly details and fussy ornamentation when your design scheme incorporates an abundance of wood. Let the natural beauty of your millwork take center stage as Elizabeth Roberts did in this bedroom. Here, the warm finish and grain of the wood are all the decor this space needs. But the interesting light fixtures are definitely a nice finishing touch.
16. Add artistic flair with geometric shapes.
Geometric motifs are a great way to liven up a predominately white space in an instant. For example, in this bedroom designed by Molly of Almost Makes Perfect a patterned blanket and area rug add just enough visual interest without feeling busy.
17. Vintage rugs can be budget-friendly.
Shop flea markets, thrift shops, and online destinations — like eBay, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist — to find that holy grail vintage rug that fits your budget. It might take a while, but it's out there. It also happens to look ideal in a minimalist space, offering just enough color and patterning, as witnessed in this bath by Black Lacquer Design.
18. Welcome timeworn finishes.
That simple-yet-cool chair stashed in a dark corner of an antique store? That family heirloom gathering dust? That vintage find scored on the curb? Yes, timeworn pieces — which are oftentimes low-priced or even free — can have a home in a minimalist interior, as proven by this Scandinavian dining space belonging to Helen of Design Hunter.
19. Treat practical essentials as decor.
Take a cue from Avenue Design Studio and think of your culinary must-haves as eye-candy — something that won't overload the rest of your visuals — and you'll adhere to the minimalist motto, "everything serves a purpose." In this kitchen, an assortment of ladles and spoons pull double duty as wall decor and functional cooking utensils.
20. Keep your lighting free of fussy details.
Minimalist lighting leans toward simple, uncomplicated materials and silhouettes, which can be kind to your wallet, too. For instance, in this setup styled by interior designer Emily Henderson, a paper lantern hanging over the dining table looks simple yet chic. Believe it or not, fixtures like this can cost less than $50.