Bauhaus interior design is one of the first authentic minimal styles. Its primary tenets include less is more and form follows function.
While Bauhaus’s interior design took off about 100 years ago, it still influences today’s modern and minimalist styles. If you want to get the look, here’s an overview of the history and characteristics of Bauhaus interior design.
The History of Bauhaus Interior Design
Bauhaus design emerged in the United States in the late 1930s. The architect responsible for the style was German immigrant Walter Gropius. Before fleeing Germany, Gropius ran a design school called the Bauhaus school.
In the Bauhaus school (founded in 1919), Gropius taught architects and designers about “comprehensive artwork.” He believed everything from the building you live in to the plate you eat off should work together. Bauhaus was also a staunch believer in form over everything. His buildings were unadorned, constructed of large spans of glass, metal, and concrete. And his Bauhaus designers stripped furniture down to bare essentials with zero ornamentation.
Gropius combined sleek, modern materials with his “form over everything” mantra. His style spread across the country, complementing other popular designs of the time, such as mid-century modern and the Arts and Crafts Movement.
The Bauhaus era only lasted about 14 years, but Bauhaus furniture and minimal interior design principles have made a massive comeback in recent years.
Bauhaus Interior Design Characteristics
If you prefer minimal and modern styles, Bauhaus is a great fit. Here are the top Bauhaus interior design characteristics.
Take a Less is More Approach
Bauhaus’s interior design is void of clutter. The first step to achieving this style is ridding your home of all unnecessary items, which includes everything from an excess of pots and pans to an abundance of knickknacks. Aside from decluttering personal items, take stock of furnishings, getting rid of things that don’t serve a purpose.
Incorporate a Bauhaus Color Palette
The base of the Bauhaus color palette is gray, white, and black, with pops of the primary colors red, yellow, and blue. The color palette can vary depending on your preferences. For example, Gropius preferred design vacant of color, while some of his students incorporated small doses of primary colors, pink, silver, or green.
Focus on Raw, Natural Materials
Gropius believed in “truth to materials,” which means using materials in their most natural form. The most utilized materials in Gropius’s designs are steel, glass, brick, and concrete. However, you can incorporate other raw materials, such as wood.
Look for Minimal, Bauhaus Furniture
Bauhaus furniture focuses on function, with pieces stripped of decor, featuring clean lines and sometimes geometric shapes. A few of the most popular Bauhaus furniture designers included Marcel Breuer, Josef Hartwig, and Mies van der Rohe, although many more made a considerable impact.
While any piece of stripped-down modern furniture will work in a Bauhaus design, here’s a look at some of the most famous pieces. (While originals can cost you thousands of dollars, finding a remake of these styles is easy.)
The Wassily Chair – Perhaps the most iconic piece of Bauhaus furniture is The Wassily Chair by designer Marcel Breuer. The chair drew inspiration from a bicycle and featured tubular steel and a waxed cotton thread.
The BRNO chair – The Brno chair was a prime example of how designers would strip Bauhaus-style furniture to its bare minimum. Rather than using four legs, designer Mies van der Rohe used a cantilever system, giving the chair a sleek, floating look.
The Barcelona Chair – Designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, the Barcelona chair features a rectangular cushion and back suspended on a stainless steel frame with curved legs.
Use Geometric Artwork
While Bauhaus homes are often free of wall decor, geometric artwork is an exception. You can choose pieces in the neutral black, white, and gray color scheme or add a pop of color to your wall decor.
Examples of Bauhaus Interior Design
Here are examples of Bauhaus-style interiors to inspire your next room.
Bauhaus Style Living Room
In this example of a Bauhaus-style living room, the furniture and decor is sparse, following the ‘less is more’ principle. The color palette is white, the space boasts large windows, and the designer chose iconic Bauhaus chairs.
Examples of a Bauhaus Kitchen
The designers kept this kitchen light and bright, with white cabinetry and white walls. The floor tile and wall tile add geometric detail, while everything else in the room is minimal.
Bauhaus Style Dining Room
Instead of using concrete and steel, the designers of this Bauhaus-style dining room chose warmer wood to create an earthy feel. The table and chairs are stripped down, with no ornamentation, and the light fixture adds a modern, futuristic touch.