How to create warm minimalist spaces for winter

More or less characterised by its foundational maxim ‘less is more’, minimalism’s reach extends into all manner of realms: architecture, art, furniture, interior design… even low-impact lifestyles.

The virtues of clean lines, utility and physical and mental breathing space combine to create simple elegant spaces.

In a minimalist interior, the absence of unnecessary bits and pieces can really make the heart grow fonder, and it’s a look often associated with white on white. But how do you make that work in winter when you want more ‘comfortable and calming’ than ‘cold and clinical’?

Try these expert tips for creating warm minimalist spaces for winter:

  • The ultimate in pared back, with clear connotations of cleanliness, white is the cornerstone of classic minimalist décor schemes, and hallmark hues such as grey-based Resene Black White are a pleasingly cool prospect in the height of summer. What to do in cool climates, south-facing spaces or those with little natural light? Opt for a white with warm undertones instead – it’ll achieve the effect you’re after without seeming stark.

  • There are many variations of white, from popular Resene paints such as Resene Rice Cake, with a warm, yellow bbase, or a crossover white, such as those with a green base that reads warm or cool according to factors such as the light and other colours in the room; serene Resene Half Thorndon Cream, pale bone Resene Half Titania, limed stone Resene Quarter Ash and creamy off-white Resene Cararra all fall into this category. You could also select a white with neutral undertones, such as umber white Resene Wan White. You’ll find these paints and more minimalist contenders in the Resene Whites & Neutrals fandeck. For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop.

  • Another tip for creating minimal spaces, is to use single shades in smaller rooms, such as the bathroom. Bathe your bathroom walls in a colour like Resene Cornflower, dialling up the interest and heat with mosaic tiles and aged-brass highlights. A tonal palette also creates a minimalist effect; get this look by selecting a base shade, then hues lighter and darker than it, such as warm French beige Resene Canterbury Clay and its Half, Quarter and Eighth counterparts.
  • The trick when taking a more colourful tack with paint is to reduce your fittings, fixtures, furniture and frivolities to a bare – you guessed it – minimum. Anything you do introduce into a minimalist space should be visually cohesive.
  • Wallpaper is another understated way to add texture. Check out the Resene Anaglypta 2020 Wallpaper Collection, which offers a striking arrange of tactile options you can paint with your preferred Resene colour.

    Textured wallpaper is a way to add a feeling of calm and comfort to a minimal room. This neutral pattern of Resene Wallpaper Collection 219423 has a fibrous texture and textured painted wall on the bottom half of this wall, create the look with Resene FX Paint Effects medium coloured with Resene Moon Mist. Add extra comfort and positive feelings to the room by adding touches of pinks try Resene Soother and Resene Just Dance. Photo Aspiring Walls

  • Incorporate furniture, soft furnishings and decorative objects in textural materials, such as on-trend bouclé, velvet, wool, linen and ceramics; blond timber also works well with white for a Scandinavian vibe. Avoid introducing prints and patterns unless they’re graphic, uncomplicated and the hero of the room – a striking large-scale artwork, for instance.

  • Move away from the cold glass, angular forms and straight lines of too-cool-for-school minimalism and embrace organic shapes and simple furniture that’s also inviting and comfortable. Items that do double duty can be helpful in reducing everyday excess – stools that are both seating and side tables; a lidded coffee table or ottoman you can stash stuff in; built-in storage below a window seat; a bedside table with built-in electrical jacks so your wall can stay plug-free; or a ledge behind your bed that’s both headboard and shelf, eliminating the need for a nightstand. Visit op shops for pieces you can customise with paint. Resene testpots make upcyling second-hand finds from chairs to lamps inexpensive and easy to achieve as a fun weekend creative project.

For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop, submit a query online at or book a Resene colour consultation, Then use Resene testpots or A4 drawdown paint swatches to trial your colour choices at home in all lights.

House Tour: a terraced home in NSW that flows with the landscape

Designing with nature has become more than a fleeting architectural trend in recent decades, with most modern homes built with some aspect of the landscape in mind. This finely-crafted home in rural New South Wales, however, captures this environmental ethos in a remarkable and considered way. 

Located in Albury and with spectacular views of the mighty Mount Huon, the single-storey home was designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects. Named ‘East Street’ the private residence, which has already taken home a number of design awards, is built over an upper and lower terrace that fits with the slope of the land.

“The client had chosen the site many years earlier because of its sweeping views to Mt Huon, the design of the  house frames and captures these stunning views,” said Lynn Chew, Kerstin Thompson Architects. “The stepped floor in combination with  the roof angle create living spaces that are shady in summer, sun-filled in winter and completed by magnificent  views south towards Mt Huon.”

Taking direct inspiration from the rural surroundings, the raw and robust material of concrete slabs, bricks and cement sheets ground the home, accented by ply for the interior linings and joinery. Partnering with timber supplier Big River Group, carefully chosen timber complements the home’s natural aesthetic, with timber joinery adding warmth to the moodier palette of darkly-stained plywood and matt-sheened concrete floors.

Built to respond to the region’s changing extreme climate, the home cleverly incorporates flyscreens that open and shut via sliding perforated cement screens, louvres and windows.