The S‐transform and discrete orthonormal S‐transform (DOST) produce time–frequency representations, which is in contrast to the wavelet transformations. Similar in the Fourier transform, the use of the S‐transform and DOST provides frequency‐dependent resolution with absolutely referenced phase information. Although the decomposed signal using DOST is expressed as a sum of orthonormal basis function, this is not the case if the S‐transform is used. In the present study, a procedure to simulate nonstationary ground motions based on DOST is proposed based on a seed record or given a target amplitude of DOST coefficients. It is shown that the model has zero mean, and its variance equals the assigned target. Using five real records, each from a larger earthquake, the application of the DOST and S‐transform to the records is carried out. Although the time–frequency resolution obtained from DOST is coarse as compared to that obtained using the S‐transform, its use identifies clearly time–frequency characteristics. Samples of ground motions are simulated using the proposed method based on the amplitude of the DOST coefficients of a seed record or on the average amplitude of the DOST coefficients of a set of actual records. The comparison of the time–frequency resolution, Fourier spectrum, time‐varying power distribution, and response spectrum of the simulated and seed records indicates that the proposed simulation model is a useful and practical tool to simulate nonstationary ground motions.