Room Recipe: 8 Tips to Nail the Trendy Warm Minimalist Aesthetic

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on February 10, 2023

For those craving the clean lines and peaceful elegance of minimalism but need a space they can actually live in, the niche category of warm minimalism is about to become your best friend. Brimming with natural materials, cozy fabrics, and warm but subtle pops of color, this aesthetic relies on texture for depth and visual interest rather than bold color and pattern. 

“Warm minimalism is a carefully-curated aesthetic that relies on very deliberate design decisions,” says Havenly lead designer Melissa Wagner. “It’s a riff off of Wabi Sabi and considers form—sometimes over function—to create an artistic space that is just as livable as it is statement.” 

Unsurprisingly, this design style has gained traction among interior designers and hobbyists alike. Ahead, Melissa breaks down our official warm minimalism room recipe, so you can nail the aesthetic in your own space.

Element 1: A Neutral & Natural Color Palette

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“This is where the ‘warm’ comes from,” says Melissa. And it’s a color palette that’s very much on-trend right now. Think whites, ivories, sandy tones, rich browns, natural wood, and maybe a hint of ochre or olive green — earth tones only. “Bright colors are nil except for greenery and florals (ideally foraged from your backyard),” she adds.

Element 2: Asymmetry

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“A lot of warm minimalism spaces are asymmetrical but balanced, and feature one-of-a-kind statement pieces,” says Melissa. Think: off-centered artwork above a fireplace, mis-matched chairs, and angular furniture paired with sculptural accents. Materials, again, are natural—think wood, marble, rattan, and linen. 

Element 3: Sculptural Accents

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Speaking of sculptural, form is crucial to pulling off the warm minimalism look. Think curvilinear backs on sofas and chairs, sculptures and pedestals, unique tables, artistic sconces, oversized minimalist art on canvas, rustic pottery, and delicate greenery and plants. “These unique details lend an artful, elegant touch to warm minimalists spaces,” adds Melissa. 

Element 4: Simple Textiles

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You’re not going to see an excess of pattern in a warm minimalist space—textiles are simple, nature-inspired, easy, and neutral. “From drapery, table linens, and rugs to sofas, throw blankets, and bedding, everything is pretty raw and full of texture by nature,” says Melissa. That means no synthetics, but rather linens, cottons, and wools as staples for executing the style. 

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Element 5: Ambient Lighting

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Ambient lighting also helps put the “warm” in “warm minimalism.” We’re talking layered light sources, from wall sconces and pendants to chandeliers and picture lights illuminating oversized, custom artwork. “Aim for a two to four additional light sources outside of overhead,” explains Melissa. This look tends to favor diffused lighting with a shade over exposed bulbs for added warmth and ambiance.

Element 6: High-Contrast Moments

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While not a requirement, many warm minimalist spaces feature a few high-contrast black accents, like candles, throw blankets, books, art frames, and beyond. This subtle palette addition lends a bold, modern feel that feels unexpected and edgy, but still understated.

Element 7: Vintage Accents

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From vintage artwork sourced from a local antique store to hand-me-down vases, furniture, and candle holders, the warm minimalist look thrives with a little vintage charm. “Combined with the modern sculptural elements, the warm minimalist aesthetic feels interesting, layered, and multi-dimensional,” says Melissa.

Does warm minimalism sound like your vibe? Take our style quiz and let our Havenly designers turn your space into something soothing and special.

Words by Kelsey Clark