Minimalism is certainly a buzzword in today’s culture. We are becoming more conscious about how consumerism affects us and our environment, and thus the “less is more” mindset is becoming increasingly popular along with sustainable choices and environment-friendly lifestyle. Naturally, minimalism is reflected in our homes, too. Excessive decor and ornaments are replaced by simple lines, a reserved palette of colors, and the bare minimum of furniture. Sounds boring?
Well, looks can be deceiving and minimalist interior design is certainly more than meets the eye. Although the minimalist interior may look simple and even underdone, it is actually something that requires some effort and discipline, and in some cases even becomes a pursuit for perfection.
But don’t get discouraged if you want to bring a minimalist spirit into your home. Let’s uncover what hides under the simple look of a minimalist interior and what it takes to create a beautiful minimalistic space.
What is minimalist interior style?
Two main pillars of minimalist interior design are simplicity and function. It requires you to keep it spare and justify the need for every element in the room, be it a piece of furniture or a vase.
A beautiful thing about the minimalist interior is that it creates a clean home that is comfortable to use and pleasant to be in. By eliminating unnecessary colors, shapes, and elements, this interior design gives you space to breathe, think, and feel at ease without being overwhelmed by your surroundings. Also, from a practical point of view, it helps make smaller spaces appear bigger and for this reason, it is often chosen for small studio apartments.
All this is achieved by stripping the interior to its core and focusing on what is essential. You will often find white walls to create a clean backdrop, a neutral color palette, clean lines and shapes, functional furniture, natural materials like light-colored wood or concrete, and lots of natural light with smartly arranged artificial lighting.
If reading this gives you a feeling of arranging an art gallery in your room, it may not be far from the truth. The minimalist interior has the intention to bring focus not to the room itself, but to the life that is happening in it.
The origins of minimalist interior
Minimalism as a design movement originated in the early 20th century. At that time, architects began embracing modern materials such as glass or steel and giving buildings a new, lighter, and minimalistic look. Later this approach began to spread into other areas like interior design and art.
An opposition to decorative trends like the ones that came from Victorian architecture tradition, the minimalist interior style was influenced by the Japanese and Scandinavian design that focuses on simplicity and function. It also shares similarities with such significant design waves as Bauhaus, Brutalism, or mid-century architecture.
Materials, forms, and textures
Because a minimalist interior refuses highly decorative elements and bright colors, it pays great attention to materials, forms, and textures.
When creating a minimalistic interior, it all starts with a clean, simple space, that features carefully selected materials. Most often it is concrete, light wood, steel, and glass. Although simple at the first sight, these materials offer a beautiful variety of textures and tones that allow you to make the space interesting but stay in the area of minimalist aesthetics. Think concrete floor or ceiling, large glass windows or glass doors with steel profiles, and wooden floor and furniture.
Here the rules are simple - stick to clear, fine forms. Minimalism favors geometrical shapes and strict lines that are reflected in the space itself and work as important criteria when choosing furniture and decor elements.
When it comes to furniture, steer clear from ornamented, intricate, highly decorative pieces. Go for something that has strict forms, smooth surfaces, and a clear function. A great example that you can often find in a minimalist space is a simple wooden bookshelf, a light, elegant dining table, or a clean kitchen with smooth-surface cabinets and very few or no open shelves.
A little tip when creating a minimalist interior: don’t be afraid of standout pieces. A minimalist interior should not be boring, so whatever room you are designing, choose a centerpiece, like a big geometrical sofa, and work around it to maintain the same style and color palette.
Textures play a huge role in the minimalist interior. As you work with limited materials and colors, the beauty of textures starts to emerge as they present themselves as another medium you can work with to give the interior an interesting, live look.
A slight texture can be added to the walls, floor, or ceiling to give the room a more interesting appearance. Just keep it simple and avoid any ornamental textures. Investigate the natural textures of main materials - you will find that different kinds of concrete, wood, or steel can offer a wide variety of interesting textures and patterns.
Also, complement and warm up the room with various textiles. Natural materials like linen, wool, and cotton will soften the minimalist space and complement it with their unique textures. Stick to the neutral, monochrome color palette while playing around with curtains, bedding, rugs, throws, and cushions.
Lighting has the spotlight
A spacious, uncluttered room, filled with lots of natural light is an iconic example of a minimalist interior.
In fact, here the light is an extremely important element of decor as it has two important functions. First, more light creates a feeling of a bigger, lighter, and cleaner space. And second, thoughtfully arranged lighting adds an elegant emphasis on the furniture and decor elements and in some cases, the lights themselves serve as decor pieces.
So make sure you get as much natural light in your minimalist interior as possible by taking off the curtains or choosing light ones if necessary. And as for artificial light, look for elegant designer pieces that complement the interior, consider cove lighting, track lights, or spotlights. Be careful about any chandeliers though as often they can be too much for the minimalist interior.
A clean color palette
The minimalist interior design has the purpose of creating a space that is not overwhelming, stuffy, or distracting. For this reason, a color palette in a minimalist style room is often limited to neutral, monochrome tones.
But make no mistake, colors are a highly important element of design here. Only instead of mixing and matching a wider variety of colors, you should opt for different shades of white, grey, and beige. However, unlike the traditional interior, the minimalist style allows the use of contrast. So you can add visual interest with black steel door frames or a dark grey sofa in a room with white walls and a light wooden floor.
Here are some color palette examples:
- Basic neutral color combinations of white and grey or white and beige is a safe option if you want to create a clean space without thinking about it too much. Add some transitional tones like lighter greys, lighter beiges, or even soft pink to give the room a little bit more depth.
- If you have a really big room or are arranging a bedroom, you can experiment with darker tones without the risk of losing the feeling of space. Go with several tones of grey, ranging from light to dark, or even switch grey to soft tones of blue.
- If you feel you want to add softness to the interior, mix in some gentle hues. A combination of white, beige, soft rose, and pink can warm up the room, while a duo of light green and grey will create a colder color palette yet the green hues will add more life to the overall look.
How should you decorate the minimalist interior?
Although the minimalist style is based on a “less is more” approach, several thoughtfully selected accessories can enliven the minimalist interior. Rugs and curtains, throws and cushions, vases and paintings, all are welcomed as long as certain rules are followed.
Naturally, instead of getting lost among other accessories, each decor element in the minimalist room will get great attention. So try to invest in good quality accessories that would bring visual interest and elevate the place. We also recommend opting for such materials as linen, wool, wood, clay, or glass, as they feel natural and bring warmth to the interior.
Accessories are also a wonderful way to add a bit of playfulness to a minimalist interior if you wish to. Decor elements like vases, cushions, or table lamps are relatively small and will not disturb the overall look, so they are a great way to introduce a bold color or a pattern, like checks or stripes. Similarly, in a room that resembles an art gallery, a piece of art on the wall can create a spectacular look.
Finally, it is worth saying that a minimalist style is not only about a clean and simple interior. It is about a certain way of living. So in order to feel comfortable in such a home, you should apply the “less is more” mantra to your daily routine. In another case, it might be difficult to maintain the space uncluttered.
Here are several simple tips on how to keep your minimalist interior clutter-free:
- Invest in smart and convenient storage space. Make sure you have enough of it.
- Do not overstuff your home in the first place. Before bringing any new item home, ask yourself if it will serve a clear purpose and if it will add value to you and your home.
- Regularly make a revision in your home to get rid of what is unnecessary following several simple steps for uncluttering.
Key elements to creating a minimalist interior
- Simplicity and function are crucial so keep a “less is more” approach and always seek functional items that will serve a purpose.
- Create minimalist space using simple, high-quality materials, like wood, steel, glass, and concrete.
- Focus on geometry - minimalist interior favors clear shapes and strict lines.
- Textures are an important part of the decor. Avoid decorative and ornamental patterns, but embrace various natural textures of wood, stone, steel, concrete, and textiles like linen and wool.
- The color palette for the minimalist interior is neutral and monochromous. Play with various tones of white, grey, and beige for base colors. Introduce contrast if you wish, like black and white or light and dark tones of grey.
- Make sure you let as much natural light in as possible. Stick to minimalistic track lights or spotlights for artificial lighting.
- Decorate the minimalist interior with several high-quality accessories such as rugs, throws, cushions, or vases. Use them to introduce a pop of bold color or pattern if you wish.
- A standout piece of art on the wall can create a spectacular look.
- Regularly declutter your home.