The biggest misconception about a minimalist home is that it’s the complete opposite of a maximalist one — void of color, patterns, and things. Or, in other words, a minimalist home is an empty home. But for Ajai Guyot, interior designer and self-proclaimed minimalist, who describes her aesthetic as “Scandinavian with a Parisian approach, infused with charm, character, and comfort,” that’s not the case at all.
“It’s not about living in a hollow space with little to nothing in it; it’s about living in an intentional space — your home is your canvas,” says the founder of design studio True Home, who first saw the power of claiming one’s space since she was a child. She grew up with a single mother in a home with a bedroom she shared with her brother. When she tested into a magnet school, she was one of only a few students of color, and it was during this time she was able to visit the homes of her classmates, who lived in “big, beautiful princess rooms” housed in palatial-like estates. “I started obsessing over wanting to have my own space, to have an identity — and that’s another thing that space provides.”
That’s why she’s made it her life’s mission to turn every home into a place of tranquility and happiness. For her, it looks like beautiful brass elements, pristine marble surfaces, and vintage-inspired details juxtaposed against modern silhouettes.
“Our space plays a big role when it comes to our mental health — it can mentally prepare you and help you perform better in the world. For so many people of color, we kind of go through the world feeling like it’s normal to not feel good, so to be able to create a home — a place you can rest and recharge — that can help you show up is very important,” says Guyot, who understands this first-hand, especially as a Black woman in a predominantly white industry. “I still deal with imposter syndrome, but I think it keeps me humble — I don’t take opportunities for granted, and it makes me want to work harder. I’m going to continue to show up and show out for the people who believe in me.”
And it begins with opening up her home and offering up brilliant budget-friendly hacks to her thousands of followers on TikTok, like layering in texture to inject comfort (through textiles and fabrics), or demoing quick DIY projects to liven up a room (her most recent one: adding beadboard for $18 a board), or filling your space with thoughtful purchases (which will ultimately differentiate your home from anyone else’s) from accessible, design-forward retailers like Target. Click through for Guyot’s nine picks from Target that will help you achieve that minimalist home aesthetic on a budget.