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A Guide to Minimalist Design

As quipped by architect, Mies Van Der Rohe, "Less is more."

It sounds clean and relatively straightforward but how does one design minimalist spaces? We've compiled some top tips that will offer great insight into minimalist design and how to achieve it.

What is minimalist design?

It's a simplistic decor style that emerged during the 20th century and was, in part, a reaction to the particularly decorative styles of the past. Interior design that follows minimalist influence is a wonderfully streamlined concept taking on form and function in a whole new light.

Minimalist Design

A minimalist design style encompasses the idea of less is more. It's a sophisticated, clean and organised aesthetic with more space than things. There will be an elegant simplicity and element of calm to minimalist decor. Clean lines, lots of open space, uncluttered surfaces and a monochromatic colour palette are hallmarks of minimalist design.

Essential and regularly used items will be highlighted within a minimalist interior and the overall look will evoke an aura of streamlined, calm organisation.

What are minimalist homes?

Homes that adopt a minimalist interior design style are those that are free of excess 'things' and pared down to essential items. These homes will have a high level of functionality and will offer a simplistic and serene visual. Streamlined furniture and a single, muted wall tone will be present. Some key elements of minimalist style homes include:

  • A singular and fairly muted colour palette
  • Functional and essential items only, that all have a purpose and place
  • Streamlined, clean and simple lines
  • Use of materials like wood, concrete, glass and steel
  • Lack of frivolous ornamentation
  • Uncluttered spaces with clever use of natural light

What are the advantages of minimalist design?

One of the key advantages of minimalist design is that it removes the clutter and excess items within your home. With the busy and sometimes overwhelming lives we live these days, removing things we don't need or use can be an enlightening experience.

Minimalist Design

Marie Kondo's idea in her book 'The life-changing magic of Tidying Up' is a good start toward minimalism and creating a less-filled home is one step closer to the lifestyle as a whole. The clean and sleek design aesthetic is achieved by simple and functional furniture items, nature inspired materials and streamlined profiles.

It's an opportunity to focus on a good overall balance with less 'things' surrounding you, for distraction. Prioritising items with purpose through limited materials, fewer decorative pieces and achieving a space that is elegant and warm is not as easy just taking things away.

How can I make my house look minimalist?

One of the easiest ways toward creating a minimal interior is to begin removing excess decoration and accessory pieces. In fact, a deep spring clean could be the order of the day when looking to achieve a more pared back aesthetic within your home. The kind of spring clean that purges wardrobe items and sorts out toy cupboards and kitchen cabinets.

Minimalist Design

Instead of filling spaces with accessories and ornamentation, surface areas will be intentionally sparse with essential objects that also offer a modern and calm feel. Choose a sleek sofa, a stone or wood side table and bring in a sheepskin shaggy bean bag to add function with interest and texture.

Although simplicity is paramount with minimalism, you can still bring bright elements into spaces through art and through sculptural pieces with a visual interest. A sheepskin stone set will not only provide function, it is also visually appealing. Art is a wonderful way to create a focal point of visual interest and offer a contrast to the simplicity of the space overall.

Is Scandinavian design a minimalist style?

These design styles certainly share several similarities but they are not necessarily one and the same.

Minimalist Design

Scandinavian interiors are more about practical function, bright, white colours and clear spaces. It's not so much about purging all excess belongings. That said, with the pared back look and feel of Scandinavian design, it offers the same idea of minimalistic simplicity.

What colours are good for minimalist design?

Typically minimalist colours are muted in tone and decor will tend to use a monochromatic palette throughout. Wall shades won't be too bright and will adopt the more neutral tones. White, pale grey and lighter colours are traditional options for minimalist decor.

Keeping things simple is really the key. Bringing in an element of brightness through wall art and functional items with a visual interest are ways to create a minimalist interior, where colour isn't the feature.

Why is minimalist interior design so popular?

In recent times there has been a particular shift toward minimalism as a lifestyle and also with interior design choices. There is much inspiration to be found in how this design style looks and feels. The simplicity, nature inspired aesthetic and brightness evokes a wonderful sense of calm.

There's certainly something to be said through the saying 'tidy house, tidy mind'. With the distinct lack of clutter in minimalist decor, it's particularly appealing and offers a clear sanctuary within a modern, yet comforting environment.

What is minimalist architecture?

Architecturally, minimalism refers to basic geometric forms and use of simple materials. An abundance of natural light and streamlined composition without decoration is a sign of minimalist architecture.

The embracing of new, yet raw, natural materials and doing without ornament and embellishment are strong features when considering a minimalist architectural design. It's about reducing elements to the bare essentials and showcasing a structure in its most simplistic and raw form.

How do I create a minimalist living room?

Begin by removing accessories and ornaments that don't spark joy and serve an actual purpose.

Minimalist living rooms will be devoid of all clutter and excess items. It's worth noting that this doesn't mean losing comfort. For example, a minimalist space might have a simple, sleek sofa, a sheepskin floor rug for added texture and comfort, a wood or stone table and a piece of unique art.

Shapes should be fairly straight forward but can remain interesting and textured. Opt for integrated and hidden storage solutions and ensure that surfaces remain clear of ornaments. A spacious layout with fewer things present is key. Movement around furniture and through the living room should be easy with a nice flow.

When choosing furniture, look at low profile and sleek pieces with a clean lined design. Items with interest and uniqueness whilst remaining subtle and sophisticated creates the perfect starting point for a minimalist style within your living space.

How can I create a minimalist dining room?

A dining area is a social space where friends and family gather to break bread and share stories. It's also the perfect background or starting point to create a minimalist design. Some things to think about:

  • Dining table - the simpler the better. Something rustic and unembellished is perfect.
  • Chairs - go for something sleek with clean lines. To add interest and comfort, consider adding some sheepskin chair pads. A bench seat or something low will provide a clear line of sight and offer a minimalist feel.
  • Storage cabinet - if you're not quite ready to truly get rid of all excess items, a buffet cabinet may be the answer. Select something simple that evokes a serene sense of functionality and keep the surface clear.
  • Lighting - a wonderful pendant without decoration will finish off a dining space and offer an ambient glow when seated.

The goal is for your room to look effortlessly simple. Aim to get the right balance between too little, which might look cold and empty, and just right.

What are some minimalist materials?

Meticulous craftsmanship and unique but simple furniture shapes made from wood, stone, glass and steel will be present in minimalist decor. To soften the natural organic and raw materials, bring in textiles like linen, sheepskin, mohair and cotton.

What it is the minimalism lifestyle?

The minimalist movement as it relates to a lifestyle creates a simple way of living with fewer possessions. It's not for everyone and although there are certain elements that define this way of living, the rules don't have to be cut and dry. It's possible to live a relatively distraction-free existence yet not pare things back completely.

By removing clutter and taking away excess things, there is a new opportunity to focus purely on the things that spark joy in your world. Our minds are clearer and calmer. It's an intentional and purposeful way of being.

What defines a minimalist?

Taking a minimalist approach to your home decor and toward life in general is a little like cleaning things up. It's about removing clutter and placing focus on yourself and the things that are most important to you. A minimalist describes a person who will intentionally strip back what they deem unnecessary in all aspects of living. It's essentially a lifestyle.

Living with intention and purpose and by surrounding yourself with the things that add value and meaning are ways to define a minimalist. At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules to determine whether someone is a true minimalist.

However, our modern lives have become busier, so it really is quite enlightening to have a really good clean out of items that naturally accumulate over time.


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