With the rise of minimalism over the last few years, choosing a minimalistic design approach is becoming more and more common. Typically, minimalistic homes are kept relatively simple- focusing on crisp whites with black accents, while the decor is kept to a minimum, focusing on keeping the space clutter-free. While it is true that less can mean more, it’s important to realize that minimalism can look different for everyone. More than anything, it’s about reducing stress and clutter in your home, and owning only things that serve a purpose and have meaning, functionally or emotionally.

If you’re on a journey to become more minimalistic, or you’re drawing inspiration from other minimalist style homes, there are a few key mistakes, or misunderstandings, that you’ll want to avoid.

Don’t forget to add color. Many examples of a minimalist home stick to blacks and whites, but this doesn’t fit everyone’s personal style. While lighter colors are more calming, choosing a neutral with a pop of color can bring in your personality a bit more and allow you the freedom to further personalize your space. A light blue-grey or an off-white with a pink undertone are just some examples. Once you’ve established your color palette, you can begin to build the room around it.

Secondly, don’t leave your space feeling too bare or empty. Your home is one of the only places in your life where you can truly express yourself in whatever way you want, and establish your own personal style. The goal with minimalist decor isn’t about having no decor, but to keep only the items that you really love, instead of simply trying to fill the space. Less is more! Focus on finding a few items that you like, rather than many small items that have no value to you.

Keep it functional! Don’t eliminate items that you need in order to make your space livable and comfortable just for the sake of minimalism. If you tend to host people often, make sure you have adequate seating. If you have a pet who hangs out in the living room, keep some toys and a dog bed for them. Include some shelving or chests for storage – whatever it is you need to fit your specific lifestyle and needs.

To reiterate things, don’t try to match the picture-perfect example of minimalism. Minimalism, at the core, is about creating a space perfectly tailored to your needs and tastes, and nothing that doesn’t. Creating a minimalist space isn’t really about fitting an aesthetic, but instead about exploring your likes and dislikes, and creating a personal style. So, have fun with it and stay true to yourself!