How to achieve a minimalist look in five family-friendly steps

Clean, simple and stylish – bringing the minimalist aesthetic home sounds easy. That is, if you don’t have kids, pets, extended family or friends to entertain. While dirty paws and white sofas are a recipe for disaster, the basic foundations of the less-is-more look can be applied to any home – even a family home. Here’s how.

1. Culling is key

Make like Marie Kondo and clear the clutter.

“Children come with a lot of stuff. The clothes, the toys, the books – it can feel endless and often a challenge to keep the home looking neat and tidy, let alone minimalist,” admits Heather Gampe, interior designer and co-founder of interiors blog Oak and Orange.

“Actually culling the number of items in the home would be a great starting point before designing a minimalist home,” adds Heather.

2. Pare back the palette

A monochromatic palette is fundamental to the success of minimalist style.

“It can be very tempting to keep adding colours and textures, but a minimalist design requires restraint,” Gampe says.

Stick to a combination of no more than three colours and finishes, and look to texture instead of colour to introduce warmth and interest.

“Our all-time favourite combination is white, concrete and timber. White is fresh and bright, concrete is cool yet organic, and timber adds a sense of warmth and cosiness,” Gampe adds.

White, timber and cool-grey palette.

3. Scale matters

According to Gampe, ‘balance’ and ‘repetition’ are the key words to remember when choosing your furniture.

Gampe also suggests having fewer pieces, but sizing up on those you do invest in. “It’s important to measure out the furniture beforehand to make sure it will fill the space correctly,” she says, “and get the largest possible size to fill the space.”

Look to Scandinavian-inspired pieces with clean lines to fit the brief.

4. Storage and order

While most of us can’t actually commit to living the minimalist life, we can create the illusion of minimalism with clever storage. Opt for built-in cabinetry, and take it floor-to-ceiling where possible.

“Keep it simple and choose the same colour cabinetry as the surrounding walls,” suggests Gampe. “Add recessed shaving cabinets in the bathrooms and built-ins to all bedrooms.”

5. Easy cleaning

The minimalist trend heroes a light, neutral palette – but nothing white in a busy family home stays white for long, so do your homework before selecting your finishes.

“The key to maintaining a white or neutral colour palette with children and pets is to consider how easy any particular surface is to clean,” says Gampe.

“In order for a white and neutral palette to be maintainable, do your research and make sure you invest in materials that will be easy to keep clean.”

In the bathroom, for example, large-scale tiles will mean less grout. “The main flooring should be one that is easy to clean and not easily scratched, and if you want to use lighter colours in soft furnishings make sure they are machine washable,” Gampe adds.

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