How to have a minimalist home without forfeiting charm and personality


When daydreaming about your perfect home, what kind of images come to mind? Is it a house worthy of a magazine spread? Or is it something a little more homely where friends and family feel comfortable?

In my experience, most people are happier living in a house that feels good to them. They want somewhere that feels like their sanctuary, a place to relax and unwind after a busy day at the grindstone.

At one end of the “minimalism” scale, there are the designer houses that technically look great, but feel sterile and lack personality and heart. At the other end of the scale, there are the houses that look almost too homely and uncared for.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for somewhere in the middle. Ideally, you’ll end up with a home that’s a true reflection of you and your personality and it will have a good amount of character blended with modern, functional, beautiful design. Not too busy, not too minimalist.

The style of your home will come in to play too and it’s essential to consider the aesthetic of the house when choosing materials, colours and products for your renovation.

The two main elements for a well-designed home are the layout and the finishes and colours. Both need to be considered equally as one without the other will give you a half-baked result.

The layout

The most important thing to consider is how you plan to use the space. Before you go pulling walls out, think about where you will place your appliances and furniture. How open plan would you like the house to be, and will this work in practical terms when your family is living in it?

I’ve seen so many people pull out too many walls – meaning they didn’t have enough wall space for even a TV unless it sat in front of a window.

Consider whether the current layouts work or could you make some minor changes to the spaces for dramatic improvement to the flow and feel of your home?

The finishes/colours

The trick is getting the design and layout right first, and then using the right combination of products, colours and finishes to enhance the space. Everything weighs in on it – the colours, the materials, the textures, the furniture, the window dressings, and every other little thing that makes up the renovation, right down to the choice of fixtures and fittings.

Keep in mind that you are not just going for a particular “look”, you are also going for a “feel”.

Are all your choices – colour, materials, layout – likely to be interpreted the way you want them to be? Will the combined effect produce the feeling you are after?

A great renovation requires what I call “layering”. You’re layering the colours, finishes and textures over the top of the layout. Then you’re adding in the smaller details of the renovation to pull everything together.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a home looks, if it doesn’t feel nice to be in, you’ve probably missed the mark.