Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Warm Minimalism

A few months ago, I came across the words 'warm minimalism' to describe a kind of simple, authentic style that I aspire to both for myself and my clients. It's such a lovely concept that I thought I would share it with you, together with a few thoughts on how it can be achieved.

A little bit old, a little bit new; pared back, warm, honest, comfortable. Warm minimalism is all these things. Acknowledging the contemporary yearning not for more, but for less stuff, it's the perfect way to move forward with your interiors without sacrificing the peace to be found in being nurtured, embraced by your home.

Interior design by Luft Design

It is, in many ways, a style that feels very familiar to me. I'm not a minimalist by any means, but I do like simple; I like clutter-free; I like well-made. I also love things, and prefer to have a fewer, better ones that I can look after and cherish than many items that I don't care so much for. I also feel that a simple home can be warm, elegant, inviting – as well as being compatible with children, with real life. The rich, moody walls that are one of the key elements of this style prevent the lack of clutter from feeling stark; the warm, wood tones feel robust and liveable.

Design by Brandler London for Swoon at Home

It's about choosing things that you love and displaying them carefully, beautifully, with space to breathe; about focusing on earthy, natural, tactile materials – wood, marble, jute – and letting them be the details that set off a space.

Interior Design by @withloveandwild

I really believe that there is so much joy to be found in simplifying rooms to their essential elements so that they almost become as much about what you leave out as what you put in, and redecorating is the perfect opportunity to do this. It's true that you need impeccably planned storage in order to make this style of decorating work, but the truth is, it's achievable – as long as you allow yourself to let go – and it's incredibly liberating to be completely honest with yourself about what you need.

I think one of my favourite things about this style is that the paired-back aesthetic is quite contemporary but the details are well-worn – beautiful paintings, strings of patinated beads, warm grey tones and wood panelling – which just makes it feel so familiar and cosy.

Interior architecture & design by Vincent Van Duysen

Above all, I think a good room (however you define those words), should be a place that nourishes you and provides respite and inspiration in equal measure – and that has as much to do with how it makes you feel as how it looks.


  1. Oh Nicola ! I'm so glad I read this blog post. :) Your comment on Instagram about being a designer and not a blogger - so how you were happy to have a reader - made me smile, but that's exactly the reason someone like me WOULD go to the trouble of remembering to seek out your posts the next day.... you're a professional!

    I really enjoyed reading this, and looking at the beautiful images you've compiled too. I'm thrilled to have come across this post because I've been looking for a 'term' to represent this style so I can seek out more examples online. Warm minimalism does seem like the perfect fit for it, and it's precisely the style I'd feel most at home in - but also most inspired in too, so that's a good mix isn't it!? :)

    I completely agree that it's the richer, warmer tones of the paint colours that have been used in this home that stop the minimalist approach to furniture/accessories feeling too stark or in any way lacking. I think I just need to give some careful though to storage, as like you said, that really is key to this approach!

    I'm not a natural minimalist either, but clutter does genuinely make me feel a bit irritated or overwhelmed. In fact, I recently wrote a post making a case for decluttering (http://theeverchanginghome.com/case-for-decluttering/) and I wholeheartedly agree with you that if you're able to let go of things, it can be quite liberating.

    I'm hoping to buy my first home this year, and I'm anticipating it's probably going to be a semi built in the 1970s... not my favourite style, by any means! So the challenge will be to make my home feel as inviting and pared back as the images above, but I'm feeling as though your post has given me some great ideas.

    Would you mind if I shared this post in my weekly round up on my blog next week? I'd love to point people in your direction. :)


  2. Hi Flora, what a wonderfully warm, kind, supportive comment this is - receiving it was such a lovely way to round off my week! Thank you. I'm genuinely delighted that you enjoyed the piece – even more so that you took the time to write. And yes, I agree, feeling at home but also inspired is a good sign that you've hit on your perfect style! I'm actually developing a workshop at the moment geared towards helping people find their style so this is valuable food for thought.

    Buying your first home is such a scary, brilliant, exciting time - and no mean feat these days - and as to the Seventies semi, well, I grew up in one of those and whilst not the most memorable architectural style, they are tremendously practical in terms of space and open-plan design, so they definitely have their pluses!

    I think it goes without saying that I would be thrilled if you shared this post in your weekly round-up - again, my thanks.

    Oh – and I enjoyed your decluttering post! Particularly what you said about it teaching us to want less. I read an interesting quote today actually: 'The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you." Wise words, indeed!