NataLee 9-1-1: Sometimes Less is More.

Vicki Lynn Carlyle of Iowa writes:

Hey NataLee. I am feeling a minimalist design theme for my home. Guess I’m just tired of clutter :)! Any hints on how to make it not so boring?”


Thanks for the question Vicki.

Before I got into the design world I didn’t want anything to do with modern or contemporary design… which is usually associated with minimalism. When I thought of it, I just associated it with stark white, bland hospital-like environments… and anyone who knows me would also probably say this is the antithesis of who I am. Well, that was then.  The longer I am in the design world I have discovered that sometimes less is more. I have also discovered that you can use color and have interesting designs without things being remotely busy or fussy.  So here are some points to follow when going for a more minimalistic look:

1. Pay closer attention to texture.

You can do a tone one tone look, but make sure you are using a variety of textures within that color palette.

Use an interesting patterned rug, with stone, leather, and wood all in the same room. Play up the texture, since you might be playing down the color (which you don’t have to do in minimalism… see later pictures.

Don’t be afraid to use rough wood, with wicker and metal. But try always using cleaner lines in all furniture pieces as well as art (or mirrors). Nothing too frilly or fussy in design. This probably not the style to use a carved wood trimmed sofa in.

Another example of playing up texture.

2. Use a few carefully selected punches of strong patterned or colored items in conjunction with a lot of neautrals. In this bedroom, it is mostly very neutral, but one zebra pillow, a rug just barely peaking out from under the  bed and this minimalistic look went from what could have been very boring to super chic and interesting.

Same story with this kids room. A lot of white with a few punches of color and a zebra hide. Take that away and it’s a sterile hospital environment that I would run from.

3. Use less accessories… but larger scale. This is a design principle I am trying to incorporate more into my life.  Instead of a whole bunch of small to medium chotsky’s. Do one to three oversized accessories… I also like the bold pattern on these drapes, but everything else is simple with clean lines and not fussy.

Again we have bold punches of color, paired with a variety of textures and hardly any accessories and somehow this kitchen is very interesting. Love the rustic windsor style barstools in this sleek environment… which brings me to my next point.

(Another example of vivid color in a minimalist design.)

4. Do something unexpected.

What really works in this room, as well as other minimalist spaces is doing something unexpected. Like industrial appliances in this traditional white kitchen or how about the rustic farm table paired with the sleek contemporary white leather chairs?



Another example of texture.

Love this bathroom… and as much as I love the lanterns on the floor… it really doesn’t need them. How about that chrome pedestal tub? I LOVE!

So I guess if I had one main point on how to make minimalism not boring, it would be….


Hope that helps.

Happy Wednesday!


2 thoughts on “NataLee 9-1-1: Sometimes Less is More.

  1. Vicki Carlyle says:

    You hit the “nail on the head” for me. These are EXACTLY what I was looking for! I love the animal print and the punches of color! I can’t wait to get started!

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