You cried through the first season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. You’ve seen bloggers extol the virtues of a capsule wardrobe. And nobody needs to remind you that living with less can help you feel less stressed—roughly one in ten of us actually feels anxious about paring down our decor because we don’t know where to begin. The desire is there, but you can’t fathom doing the 100 Thing Challenge (hey, you need some stuff!) and you’re worried that if you do scale back, your room will look like a jail cell. That’s where these minimalist bedroom ideas come in. We turned to color, lighting and design experts to prove that you can achieve a streamlined look without getting rid of everything.
21 Minimalist Bedroom Ideas That Still Feel Plenty Cozy
Think Beyond All-white Walls
1. Go tonal.
Many people think minimalism means you have to stick to neutrals, but that doesn’t have to be the case. “Home in on a color—whatever your color is—and bring in other shades of it,” recommends Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore. Using one main color and then incorporating accents in a shade lighter or darker—or one more saturated, one more muted—tones down the color overall, creating a more cohesive look without skewing stark.
2. Think pink—if that’s your thing.
No color is off-limits, Yeo says: If you love pink, go for it. A soft, ballet-slipper pink, like Benjamin Moore’s “First Light” (shown above), gives you a dose of the hue without overwhelming the space.
3. Go neutral with your accent colors.
When adding color to a minimalist room, ratio and proportion are crucial, Yeo says. Complementary colors create a fun contrast, but too many different ones in a single space can make a room feel busier and more cluttered than it actually is. If going full tonal feels too much like you’re living in a Wes Anderson movie (and your problem with that is…?), try working in neutral accents.
4. Go dark to make a room feel even cozier.
You’ve been warned that dark colors can make a room feel smaller, but when they’re paired with minimal, clean-lined furniture, it can make a sparse room feel more intimate—the perfect chill zone for drifting off to sleep. “Darker grays and navys help create a cocooning effect,” Yeo says.
Play Up Texture
5. If you love neutral walls, give them a little character.
Anything that’s too perfect can be boring, especially against plain white—or cream, or ecru, or 99.9 percent white with a tiny hint of gray—backdrop. Just ask designer Leanne Ford, whose master bedroom design won HGTV’s competition series Rock the Block with its concrete-overlaid walls. The texture adds subtle dimension, and the matte finish prevents the room from looking sterile. (She shares her technique on her website, so you can try it too.)
6. Upgrade monotone bedding.
“I love to keep within a color story, so no matter how much is in your space, it still feels minimal,” says Ford, who’s known for her obsession with white on white on white. In the room above, white lace bedding provides a delicate contrast to the concrete walls and floors.
7. Eliminate unnecessary details.
Ford removed the builder-grade molding around the perimeter of the room, creating a cleaner, more pared-down look. It’s one less thing to compete for your attention. (If you’re not into tearing things up, consider painting the trim the same color as the walls, so they appear to fade into each other.)
8. Add something so soft you turn into a Despicable Me meme.
We’ve all seen the clip from Despicable Me where a little girl (Agnes, for the true fans) gets so excited over a stuffed unicorn that she shouts, “It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die!” Turns out the surest way to make a minimalist room feel homey is to follow her lead. Try extra-plush pillows or a cloud-like duvet, like Ford did here.
9. Tone down brick with a little paint.
All that red brick and white grout can be a bit much, but painting it all a solid color can unify the room without totally diluting its character.
Streamline Your Lighting
10. Cast a softer glow with lanterns.
Part of the appeal of minimalism is creating a sense of visual serenity where nothing jumps out or is too jarring as you look around the room. The soft glow of a paper lantern is a soothing addition to the space.
11. Put everything on a dimmer.
Another one of Ford’s secrets for warming up a room is having adjustable lighting so the space can be light and bright during the day, then moody in the evening.
12. Let your (natural) light shine.
Many people associate minimalism with light, bright spaces, so if you have great windows (and neighbors who aren’t too nosy), skip the blinds and curtains and let the outdoor view be the focal point of the room.
Get Picky About Your Furniture
13. Clear off your nightstands.
Hang sconces or pendant lights, like designer Jasmine Roth did here, to preserve precious bedside table space. That way you can still keep a book, carafe and cell phone there without it looking cluttered.
14. Make your furniture do double duty.
“In my opinion, the best way to accomplish a minimalist look and not skimp on function are multifunctional pieces,” Roth says. “If you need a dog crate in your room, make sure the nightstand conceals a comfy place for your pup.”
15. Think of each piece as art.
When decorating a room, Ford looks for sculptural, clean-lined pieces that are interesting enough to be art in their own right. That way, you have something eye-catching without cluttering your walls. It’s spare but intriguing.
16. Get indoorsy.
Ford recommends adding wood and other natural elements—be it a rough-hewn wooden bedframe or a simple olive branch in a vase—to liven up a bright, all-white room.
Invest In A Good ‘concealer’
17. Address the radiator in the room.
“Radiators are a necessity—we need heat!—but they don’t have to be an eyesore,” says Jean Brownhill, founder of Sweeten, a renovation platform that matches homeowners with vetted contractors and tracks their projects. A millworker can create custom covers that will hide them, creating a more streamlined look. (Pro tip: Design the front to be removable so you can easily get to the radiator for maintenance.)
18. Replace your armoire.
Instead of investing in several pieces of furniture, you may be better off designing one sleek custom piece that tackles it all. This built-in dresser doubles as a bench for added seating. Opt for seamless, ornamentation-free drawers to add a sense of calm to the bedroom, Brownhill suggests.
19. Try peekaboo outlets.
In the spirit of streamlining everything is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it detail in this home: pop-up electrical outlets. They’re barely noticeable, and some styles let you fit more outlets into the standard amount of space—no ugly adapter necessary.
Scale Back Your Stuff
20. Do a closet audit.
Once you eliminate anything that doesn’t spark joy for you, take an inventory of what you have—and what kind of closet space you need. “Giving everything you have a place is not only effective organization, it’s also a visual rest for your eyes and your mind,” Brownhill says. That might mean sacrificing some square footage to turn a cramped closet into a walk-in, concealing more of your stuff, so your room feels more serene. (In the home above, four cramped closets were torn down to create an epic walk-in.)
21. Pare down your pillows.
There’s a scene in Along Came Polly where Ben Stiller’s character realizes how much time each day he’s wasting removing and rearranging all the throw pillows overwhelming his bed. Still relevant, people. As the bedroom above proves, one or two accent pillows are all you need to make your bed look styled—without stealing precious minutes of your life.