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Minimalist interior design

Minimalism can be boiled down to a simple phrase: Less is more.

The concept of minimalist modern interior design can be traced to American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). However, it has been in practice long before him, particularly in Japan.

What is minimalism in interior design?

The Japanese concept of beauty has been traditionally sparse. Much of it has to do with the philosophy of eastern religions such as Buddhism and Shinto. At the heart of these faiths is an emphasis on doing the least damage to the natural world around us.

The roots of Japanese minimalist interior design showcase this mentality. We see it in their traditional architecture, furniture, and art. It is the epitome of simplicity and naturalness, an approach that creates calm and holistically healing living spaces.

Japan minimalist interior design may have inspired the trend but minimalist interior house design has evolved into a much bigger concept today. Here, we look at the elements of minimalism and learn how to integrate them into practical minimalist interior house designs.

Elements of a minimalist interior

Good interior design is not restricted by rigid concepts and the same holds for a minimalist design interior. Yet, there are certain themes that we see repeatedly in interior design styles minimalist designers create.

Neutral colors

Subtlety is minimalism. Quiet colors such as whites, creams, and pastels are naturally minimalist for their simplicity. Deeper shades may work but must be integrated as part of a monochromatic color palette.

Monochromatic color palette

Minimalism is subdued in its use of color. Minimalist decor ideally uses a single color, possibly in varying shades. Whites and blacks are commonly used but most restrained colors are viable options if used in isolation.

Natural light

Simplicity is nature and vice versa. A minimalist space must be bathed in natural light, which is itself, minimalist. When using artificial lighting, a minimalist design interior will have soft, diffuse sources. Gentle whites and yellows only.

Open spaces

Bareness is the core of the simplistic interior design. Accessories, accents, decor, and even walls are kept to a bare minimum. The eyes must be able to flit uninterrupted from one end of the space to the next.

Flat surfaces

As with the lack of walls, smaller surfaces such as furniture and fittings must also embody a lack of complex detail. They will be characterized by long, straight lines with no room for complex shapes.

Minimalism as a modern trend in interior design

Minimalism is an evergreen trend of simplistic interior design. Smaller trends come and go but the timeless appeal of simplicity endures. Here are minimalist modern interior design trends that are easy to include:

  • Tiles – large tiles are a natural ally of minimalist interior decor. Their long, straight edges and flat surfaces are naturally simple. White tiles are the standard, meaning that they are easily available and affordable.

  • Plants – single-stem plants, particularly those with leaves or flowers only at the very top can add a wonderful textural element in a minimalist setting. Light green, brown, or gray bark and stems are almost a natural substitute for minimalist decor.

Also, a popular variant is window walls – minimalism is about open spaces, devoid of walls. A window wall allows designers to embrace the minimalist concept even when a wall is necessary. The welcome infusion of natural light is a bonus.

Solving the problem of crowding

The modern world is over-cluttered, overcrowded, and overscheduled. Minimalist interior house designs are the perfect anecdote. Designers who wish to solve the problem of crowding within confined spaces must embrace these ideas.

Use functional furniture – functional furniture fulfills a purpose and does it completely within a compact design. The next step is to consider multifunctional furniture, which integrates several purposes into one object with a diminutive footprint.

Declutter – this is related to furniture – adequate and appropriate storage furniture allows you to remove unnecessary visual noise from a minimalist room. In line with simplistic interior design, bypass see-through glass in favor of solid panels; you want to hide it all away.

Introduce natural light – every lamp and every bulb takes away from the principles of minimalist modern interior design. Large open spaces not only remove the need for these superfluous accessories but also create the illusion of space so critical to minimalism.

Tips for integrating minimalism

One of the chief drawbacks of minimalist design is that it can deprive a space of the character. The eye constantly looks for things to be 'happening' and finds little in minimalist decor. Here are some clever ways that a designer can stay true to minimalist principles and still integrate it harmoniously.

Shades and textures

Different shades of a single color are an effective way to introduce variation without sacrificing minimalism. Place objects with small differences in shade adjacent to each other. Apply this over several objects and the gradual shift in color intensity creates a pleasing look.

Grainy textures add minute shadows and highlights to a surface. The dance of light and dark within a monochromatic color scheme is incredibly aesthetic.

Another simple way is to place different materials side by side. A gray mat on a gray concrete floor doesn’t break any rule of minimalism but does create areas of interesting differences.


The pliable, flowing nature of textiles lends itself well to most home spaces. In a minimalist domestic setting, cushions, rugs, tapestries, drapes, and some ethnic art pieces can add dimension. Varying the textiles – for example, between satin, wool, and cotton – creates the desired effect easily.

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