Capsule decor - how to streamline your interior, stylishly and sustainably

Say bye bye to trends that come and go, and hello to timeless decor that will stay

Wooden sideboard with white lamp, glass vases and art on wall
(Image credit: Future PLC)

We've all heard of a capsule wardrobe, and maybe you've even created one yourself, and you're the proud owner of a streamlined closet collection with a few staple items. But have you tried applying this concept to your home and creating capsule decor?

You might have seen capsule decor cropping up as one of the latest home decor trends, or you might never have heard of it and you're wondering how it works. Like a capsule wardrobe, capsule decor is about simplifying your interiors and carefully curating a timeless homeware and decorating collection. It's about selecting fewer items that will always complement each other and never go out of style.

‘Capsule home decor is a great way of bringing sustainable thinking into the home,' says Yas Batchelor, Founder, Urban Green Company. ‘Investing in pieces of furniture, accessories and products that can be used in multiple ways and switched around over the years is a great way to not only save money and keep clutter at bay but also reuse and reduce any waste, ultimately helping your pocket and the planet.’

Investing in long-lasting decor items means you won't have to swap them out any time soon, saving both your wallet and the planet. From knowing about the best quiet luxury brands to making your living room look expensive, there's a lot learn when it comes to capsule decor, which is why we've asked the experts to share all. 

Capsule decor: everything you need to know 

Wood framed armchair in living room by floral curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

You probably have a few questions that spring to mind about capsule decor, and we can bet that one of them is how to implement it in your own home. Here's everything you need to know about this sustainable homeware trend, and why you should try it for yourself.

What is capsule decor?

Bedroom with armchair, artwork and vintage sideboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alun Callender)

Capsule decor is a combination of interior choices that put simply, work together. It’s the same concept as a capsule wardrobe, which is a small collection of clothes that will always work, no matter how you pair them. Capsule decor is carefully curated, timeless, and the opposite of interior choices that come and go based on the latest trends.

‘Capsule decor is about investing in long-lasting homeware and design choices that offer longevity and work all year round - meaning there isn’t a need to change or continuously update your home’, says Amit Malhotra, Co-Founder, Aflux Designs

‘First starting in fashion, it has now made its way into the world of interiors and encourages homeowners to think before they buy so as to not waste their money on meaningless items that will shortly go out of style.’

Capsule decor is all about investing in good-quality homeware pieces that will last for years to come, or hopefully, a lifetime. It’s a great way to shop more sustainably, as you can streamline your interiors and be more selective with what you purchase, rather than buying in to the latest homeware fad. 

We all love checking out the latest decor trends, and as fun as it is to incorporate these into our home, capsule decor is about taking a more minimalist, timeless approach. It will help both your wallet and the environment in the long run.

How to create capsule decor in the home

Wooden sideboard with white lamp, glass vases and art on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

You might be wondering, how do I implement capsule decor in my home in a way that actually works? The task of choosing fewer interior items that all complement each other might seem a little bit daunting. Use the ideas below to get started on your own capsule decor.

1. Decide on your aesthetic

Living room with grey sofa, coffee table and fireplace

(Image credit: Juliettes Interiors)

‘Firstly, decide on what kind of atmosphere and feeling you want to emulate in your home’, says Paula, Head Stylist, Graham & Brown. ‘Room by room, we suggest picking two or three words to describe the atmosphere you’d like to create.’

Keep this broad in the first instance, then you can narrow down your choices based on the general aesthetic you want to create. You can take inspo from trends that have you caught your eye, such as 2023 living room trends, but stick to timeless aesthetics that you know you won’t grow out of.  

Headshot of Paula Taylor
Paula Taylor

Paula, Head Stylist at Graham & Brown has over 27 years experience as an interiors stylist. She works on developing key design and colour trends within the Graham & Brown studio, and has collaborated with many celebrated national and international designers to develop new ranges.

2. Curate your colour scheme

Fireplace next to bay window in living room

(Image credit: Aflux Designs)

A capsule decor colour scheme will look different from home to home, as it’s important to choose a palette that you personally love. As with all your interior choices when implementing capsule decor, it’s important to choose colours that complement each other. Two to three colours is enough to create a solid capsule interior.

‘There is no formula for the ‘perfect’ colour scheme for your capsule interior, but to ensure you create a complementary palette that avoids clashing shades, we recommend using colour theory,' says Paula.

‘For a cohesive and understated scheme, select three colours that sit side by side to each other on the colour wheel. If bold and bright is more your thing, pick two colours that sit directly opposite each other on the wheel to create a contrast.’

3. Build the perfect base

Pale pink wall, wooden floor and blue armchair

(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

Once you’ve chosen your colour palette, you can incorporate different shades and patterns throughout your home. Using variations of the same colour palette will stop your capsule decor from feeling monotonous or boring. 

‘For example, when it comes to decorating the bedroom, explore with rich hues such as deep green paint,' Paula suggests. ‘Then for those rooms where you want to create a calming effect such as the bathroom, opt for a bathroom paint shade in a lighter tone such as sage green paint to create a tranquil effect.’

The capsule ethos is all about eliminating the need to redecorate frequently, so know where to paint and where to wallpaper. Wallpaper is best in areas where it’s less likely to get scuffed, like the hallway or staircase; there are lots of hallway wallpaper ideas that will help create a timeless capsule aesthetic in your home’s entrance.

4. Use the rule of three to choose accessories

Living room with dark sofas and colourful print

(Image credit: Aflux Designs)

Accessories are usually the aspect of our interiors that we might be tempted to switch out more frequently, but this can be an expensive habit. To incorporate timeless accessories into your capsule decor, the experts recommend using the rule of three.

‘A tried and tested formula for interior design begins with three complementary colours which are placed in a room using the 60-30-10 rule’, Paula explains. ‘Using this as a guide, 60% of your décor should be occupied by your main colour, 30% by a secondary complementary colour and 10% in an accent colour. 

'Once you’ve picked your main colour which your paint and wallpaper adhere to, weave in your secondary colour. This should appear about half as much and can be tied in in the form of larger furniture pieces, rugs and light fittings. Inject your accent colour into a room by using cushions, throws or artwork.’

5. Create a seasonal cycle

Whtie living room with dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Juliettes Interiors)

 Capsule decor doesn’t mean you can’t tweak your home to suit the changing seasons, and in fact, introducing seasonal cycles is a sure way to keep your capsule decor feeling fresh and updated throughout the year, so you won’t be tempted to tackle complete transformations.

‘The base which you created through carefully planned wallpaper designs and paint will help to ensure you’re not often going to encounter clashing colours - even if you move things around,' Paula says. ‘This means you can transform and tweak your home to move with the seasons, while relying on your trusty timeless base.’

You should have a few staple accessories which you rely on each season. Fleecy cushion covers and throws can come down from the loft in winter, and your lighter fabrics can bring a breath of fresh air in spring and summer. 

‘Think about choosing reversible fabrics: if you are able to pick products that are reversible in patterns or colours you’re in for a win,' says Yas from Urban Green Company. ‘You can turn them one way in summer and another way in winter to reflect the seasonal look and feel.’ 


Why should you try capsule decor?

'Many of us like to move with the trends and incorporate different designs and styles in our homes, but realistically this is both timely and expensive to do,' says Juliette Thomas, Founder & Director, Juliettes Interiors.

'With more homeowners looking to be more sustainable in their choices, capsule decor also plays into this as it’s about investing in premium, quality-made pieces that offer longevity.'

Capsule decor can encourage us to consider our purchases more, and think about creating an interior aesthetic that will last. Buying in to the latest trends can be costly, and not very environmentally friendly, so implementing capsule decor can steer us away from jumping on to the latest homeware fad.

Buying in to the latest trends can still be a good thing, but the idea of capsule decor can help us take a moment to think about whether it can work with the aesthetic that already lives within our home. Carefully considered choices lead to a happier wallet, happier planet, and a happier home.

How to make capsule decor work?

Making capsule decor work is all about catering your choices to suit your home's preferences and needs. Think practically about what your space needs, but also about the aesthetics that bring you the most joy, and that you know you're unlikely to get bored of.

'You can really design customised solutions to optimise every inch of space within the home and only bring exactly what is needed, often focusing on classic, timeless pieces and design', says Emma Deterding, Founder and Creative Director, Kelling Designs. 

'From hidden storage, foldable furniture and adaptable layouts through to really well-made design pieces that are built to last, this design concept allows people to live comfortably in stylish spaces, especially those that are compact.'

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.