Published on May 2, 2019

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From left to right: Courtesy of @warmgrace, @villa_brida, @our_studio_, @slow_ri, @slow_ri, @slow_ri, @near_moment, @ksqm, @latulipe_ld, @latulipe_ld, @plainn_, @plainn_

I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon the Korean lifestyle Instagrams that would become one of my latest obsessions, but I imagine it happened like most of my discoveries do: in a haze of mindless scrolling that pauses only when I stumble upon something… different. I tapped through one account,then the next, and soon enough, my entire Explore page was algorithmically filled with neutral-toned, artfully yet casually arranged interiors.

Korean minimalism, it seemed, was a satisfying design style that could appeal even to staunch maximalists like me. After all, the interiors shown in the lifestyle Instagrams I followed aren’t exactly what you’d consider wholly minimalist.

While Japanese minimalism presents totally tidy, clutter-free spaces (just take a look at Muji’s latest hotel) and Scandinavian minimalism notably features sleek furniture and precisely curated decor, there’s a level of flexibility in minimalist Korean homes. They aren’t void of stuff—in fact, sometimes they’re actually a bit cluttered. It all has to do with diminishing visual clutter without getting rid of every single thing in your home. Consider this the perfect kind of minimalism for people who don’t feel compelled to KonMari. So what makes up this low-key, styled-yet-nonchalant, neutral-yet-not-restrictive home? Let’s take a look.

Hone in on a neutral-dominant color scheme

 

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Here’s the number one trick to cutting down visual clutter without cutting down on actual clutter: Stick to a cohesive color scheme. In these interiors, neutrals reign king, but a splash of color (a soft pink, blue, or even a tiny pop of red) add nuance without sticking out too much.

 

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What’s key to these spaces is a mix of white, cream, and tan as a grounding color palette. Unlike a more traditional minimalist palette of stark white or even black and white, these hues lend warmth to interiors and make a great base for pastels touches. Don’t think of this palette as a strict mandate but rather a general guideline—remember, it’s all about crafting a comfortable space. Sometimes a little flexibility is welcome.

Mix in some natural textures

 

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When you think of a minimalist space, your mind might immediately conjure images of sleek, almost futuristic interiors with elements of chrome and glass. Here, however, that is not the case. Warm woods, cane accents, and ever-so-slightly wrinkled tablecloths work to make these rooms look clean yet cozy.

 

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Textiles are an easy way to infuse the slightest touch of color into a neutral space. Consider opting for a pale pink Turkish rug to add a slightly rosy effect to a room or create a sweet, almost rustic appeal with a cornflower blue tablecloth. If things look a little askew, all the better—perfection is not the aim here.

Cluster items in not-too-styled vignettes

 

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If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the past few months—heck, even the past few years—you’ve become acquainted with the teachings of Japanese minimalist guru, Marie Kondo, whose methodology asks people to keep only items that “spark joy.” Now, to be fair, this philosophy is often misunderstood as something that asks people to get rid of virtually all unnecessary belongings. While this might not be totally the case, KonMari followers generally do swear off of clutter. For others, though, clutter is something to be celebrated.

 

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Need proof that you don’t have to get rid of your teacup collection or that the trinkets and tools you’ve accumulated on your countertop don’t necessarily have to go into storage? Look no further—here, it’s all about artful arrangements. Stick to your neutral color palette, and then go all-out in creating not-too-styled vignettes. It’s all about making your home look lived-in—not untouchable.

See more Insta inspiration:
Love Vintage Home Decor? Follow These Instagram Accounts

Calling It: These Are the 11 Best Interior Designers to Follow on Instagram
Follow These 10 Chefs on Instagram and You’ll Never Run Out of Recipe Ideas

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