Minimalist Interior Design Characteristics and Ideas

Minimalist interior design is a modern style that focuses on raw materials, neutral color palettes, and sparse decor.

It’s a good choice for anyone overstimulated by clutter and maximalist decor. Here’s a look at the origins of this design and tips for pulling off a minimal interior.

The History of Minimalist Interior Design

Minimal Interior Design Characteristics: How to Get the Look

At its core, minimalist design favors functionality and order. While many design types incorporate it, one of the first instances of minimalism in the United States was through Bauhaus architecture.

Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius, came to the United States in the 1930s, bringing his minimal utilitarian style with him. Gropius began constructing concrete, metal, and glass buildings with minimal ornamentation. He insisted that all furniture was in its simplest form, and if something didn’t have a function, it didn’t fit.

The mid-century modern movements, beginning around 1940, borrowed elements from the Bauhaus style, using natural materials and sparse decor.

Around the world, the popular wabi-sabi style from Japan and Scandinavia’s Hygge style both embrace minimalism.

Today, there are many takes on the minimal interior design style that range from cold and sterile to warm and purposeful. Here’s a look at some of the types of minimalist interior design:

Minimal Interior Design Characteristics: How to Get the Look

No matter the style of minimal interior design you’re after, they all share these common characteristics.

Reduce Clutter

Minimal homes feature little clutter. While it can take weeks to months to reduce clutter in your house, it’s necessary if you’re after a minimal look. Start by reviewing toys, clothes, kitchenware, paperwork, decor, and other household items. Then go through your furniture, and remove things that don’t serve a purpose.

Paint Your Walls White

White walls create a clean backdrop for a minimal aesthetic. If you’re not into the bright white look, consider cream, sand, beige, light gray, or greige.

Embrace Natural Materials for Permanent Finishes

Almost every type of minimal interior design uses natural finishes. Wood and stone flooring, wood cabinetry, and stone or concrete countertops are great choices. But, if you don’t already have these finishes in your home, embrace what you have.

With a minimal mindset, appreciating your current finishes over going into debt for new ones is always a good idea.

Keep Flat Surfaces Clear

Flat surfaces like coffee tables, islands, and dining tables should be clear. Flat surfaces are the easiest to clutter, so if you want a minimal home, keep them clean.

Keep Your Color Palette Simple

Minimal homes feature simple color palettes made up of neutrals. It’s okay to use pops of color as long as they don’t compete.

Edit Your Furniture

There are many takes on minimal style, but all edit furniture, keeping only valuable pieces. While many styles favor modern furniture with clean lines, you can use whatever draws you in.

Your room should lack furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose. Minimalism encourages bare spaces.

Embrace Bare Walls

Most minimalism-focused designs are rife with bare walls. While you can hang some wall decor, most of your walls should be blank.

Examples of Minimal Interior Design

Here’s a look at minimal interior design in a living room, kitchen, and bedroom.

Minimal Living Room

Minimal Living Room

The designers of this room kept the furniture limited to a single couch with a floating table above the fireplace. The design is a take on Scandinavian style and features bright white walls, wood floors, and wooden accents.

Minimal Kids Bedroom Example

Minimal Kids Bedroom Example

Creating a minimal kids’ bedroom is a challenge, but these designers did a great job with their innovative use of furniture. The bed connects to a desk and window seat, providing plenty of sitting space. There’s also a drawer under the bed for storage.

Minimal Master Bedroom

Minimal Master Bedroom
Griffin Enright Architects

There are many ways to pull off an uncluttered look, including modern minimalism. The white walls and bed create a clean slate, while the art and plants add interest.

Minimal Kitchen Design

Minimal Kitchen Design
Klima Architecture

The modern cabinets and mix of materials give this room texture and visual interest. One of the best ways to get a minimal look in the kitchen is to keep countertops clear, which you can see here.