Design Recipes: With minimalism, less is more


Minimalism remains a strong design trend and preferred choice of many homeowners and apartment dwellers.

For many, living with less creates calm and order. No longer are these environments considered sparse and sanitized — instead, they can be a functional design choice.

Minimalism: From foundations such as the Bauhaus in Europe to Scandinavian influences, minimalism is often associated with soft colors, natural woods and crisp, clean lines. It is also often associated with interiors that are not overstuffed but instead contain a few well-designed elements and furniture selections.

How to get the look: Begin with a neutral palette. Cream, taupe and soft gray are wonderful choices to begin your color stories.

Pre-plan your space. Select only what is necessary.

Edit and then edit again, the key to a minimalist look.

Mix hard and soft materials. A mix of hard materials such as metal and wood pairs beautifully with soft goods such as toss pillows and throws.

Look for innovative, unique design. Think outside of the box. Unique pieces with spark conversation and be visual surprises in your minimalist environment.

Where to start: When building your environment, purchase larger pieces first (sofas and case goods) and then your smaller pieces (accessories and accents).

Area rugs: Rugs can also help to ground space and shouldn’t be omitted just to achieve minimalism. In general, rugs create warmth and add a finishing element that can prevent a space from appearing barren. When selecting rugs, a great rule of thumb is to select your rug first for color or graphic inspiration or last to tie everything together.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at