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Some minimalists have serious willpower. They can turn down an adorable shell-shaped tray or an extra-large platter any day of the week. Then there are the kind who are just really, really good at making things appear neat. Take one look into that type of minimalist’s living room and you’ll see what we’re talking about: streamlined shelves stocked with books, loud artwork on crisp white walls, and billowy houseplants lined up in a row. These are the people the rest of us can learn from. So we dug up eight minimalist living room ideas that, to the slightly messy among us, still feel totally doable. 

Tuck Drawers Under Benches (and the Couch Within Consoles)

This Brooklyn brownstone’s living room is full of illusions. While the sofa appears to be sunken in the floor, it’s actually just the thick wood frame around it that makes it look that way. And you shouldn’t be afraid to sit and sip a glass of Merlot in here because the chunky white linen fabric is coated in designer Claire Hung’s favorite stain-resistant option from Métaphores. As for all the kids’ stuff? Toys are tucked away in the oak-wood drawers underneath the window bench. 

Replace the TV With a Projector

Not all minimalists prefer reading on their Kindle to binge-watching TV. When French artist Aurélie Lécuyer and her husband, Jean Christophe, want to throw a family movie night, they can fire up the projector that’s mounted on the ceiling of their living room. The clever addition means they don’t have to stare at a black screen 24-7 and can soak in the zen of their wood-filled space instead.

Artists Jess Goehring and Nathan See painted almost every room in their three-bedroom Hudson, New York, home white to make it feel a bit bigger than it really is. But it also gave them a sleek backdrop for their loudest works. 

Go Modular

The soft gray palette in Anthony Urbano’s lofted New York City studio is so soothing and calm, but in reality it is meant to move and shift with the day’s activities. The three-piece Bellini-inspired sofa can be configured in a number of ways (lounge chair, love seat, sectional), and the four stools can serve as both coffee table and extra seating. 

Pair Creamy Textures With Natural Greenery

After landing on all-white walls and neutral upholstery for her Manhattan apartment, fashion designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh relied on textures to energize her living room, like a shaggy rug, tweed lounge chairs, a chrome floor lamp, and a palm tree.  

Stick to the Most Iconic Color Combo

There’s something about black and white together in a room that makes it feel instantly tidy. Model and creative director Taylor LaShae doesn’t call herself a minimalist, but her Williamsburg, Brooklyn, living room is the very definition of crisp with its custom marble coffee table, Alex Soffer diptych, and mod Artistic Frame sofa. 

Let the Lighting Call the Cozy Shots…

Liz Gardner and Josef Harris’s Minneapolis home is sparse in the sense that there’s no TV or side tables in their living area, but the corner is utterly cozy with its stone pendant lights that appear to drip down from the ceiling and dried flower stalks crawling up the wall. 

…Or a Curvy Couch

File this Rhinecliff, New York, living room, designed by Post Company, under another way to get by without a rug. The room’s glowy limewash walls and curved velvet sofa are all the welcome you need. Plus without a rug underfoot, all the focus is on the new bleached white oak floorboards and—yes!—that casually placed pile of books. A minimalist would never…or would they?