Minimalist interior design is not a complicated concept for home decor. In the simplest terms, the minimal aesthetic involves creating a clean space without clutter. This means only adding the essentials to the room, such as the main furniture piece and perhaps a few additional pieces, depending on the room. More and more homes are incorporating this design concept as it is modern, clean and quite soothing. It has been the most popular type of interior design to feature in magazines in recent times due to its simplicity and functionality.
If you’re considering a revamp of your home while creating more space and less clutter, minimalist interior design is worth considering. No matter what room you want to redecorate, the minimal aesthetic is easy to achieve and can breathe new life into your home and add value as well.
As the name suggests, minimalism[i] is a lifestyle where you remove non-essential possessions from your life. This can include furniture, clothing, cars and anything else that you really may not need.
As part of interior design, an example of minimalism may involve a limited colour palette or a single colour in a few different shades. For example, a few simple pieces of furniture and some decorative items such as vases and pictures count as minimalism.
On the reverse side is maximalism. This interior design concept involves a riotous array of colours, furniture pieces and collectables, all added in strategic places all around the room. This is not to be confused with hoarding, as each piece is carefully chosen for its colour, texture, function, etc.
Keep in mind that minimalism is more than just an interior design concept. It involves scaling down your material possessions down to bare essentials. How far you take it, however, is entirely up to you.
Minimalism first entered the scene around the 1920s and started with minimalist architecture. The first examples of minimalist architecture involved using simple materials such as glass, steel and concrete with simple, clean lines that looked bold and strong.
Fast forward to the 1950s and 1960s, and minimalism[ii] was introduced as an art form thanks to artists such as Frank Stella and Carl Andre, to name a few. This less is more narrative quickly spread to other areas, including interior design. Gone were the ostentatiously ornate homes with deep velvets, wood carvings, etc. Instead, there was lighter colours, sparse furniture and, most notably, less clutter.
Society these days is definitely driven by consumerism, and it’s not always easy to avoid the temptation of buying things only to realize we may not have needed many of those things. Blame it on advertising, peer pressure or anything else but most of us have been there. A prime example of this consumer-driven madness are wardrobes full of clothes, yet we constantly complain we have nothing to wear. This can lead to frustration, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. All of this clutter in our homes can have quite a negative impact on almost every area of our lives, and when we start to de-clutter our homes, it can change our lives for the better. [iii]
There are many benefits to adopting a minimalist lifestyle, and they include:
Less stress – A cluttered home often looks messy, and no matter how diligent you are with cleaning and tidying, when you are surrounded by “stuff” your mind simply can’t relax. Humans are visual creatures, and it may surprise you to realize that the fewer things around you, the less stressful the home. Also, accumulating unnecessary clothing and furniture can affect your mental health[iv] in several different ways. You will constantly be sorting and tidying up, which can be quite overwhelming. When you do away with the things you don’t need, you have more freedom in your home and in your life.
No more stubbed toes – Have you ever tried to move quickly and effortlessly through a cluttered room? How many times have you stubbed your toes on a cabinet corner or the legs of tables and chairs? When you remove the excess furniture, you create more space, and you are less likely to bump into things.
You’ll save money – The more stuff you have, the more you seem to want, and this tends to send us off to the shops to get even more. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you realize how little you actually need, and you will eventually stop spending your hard-earned money on non-essential items and focus on spending on things that bring value to your life such as travel, education, home improvements or simply increase your savings and gain financial security.
Less Cleaning – All those trinkets you just had to have might have looked nice when you first purchased them, and they may even look great displayed on your end tables and bookshelves. The downside is they need to be cleaned and dusted regularly. As for floor space, the less furniture you have, the less you need to move to clean underneath.
Investing in quality – Like most people, you want to save money when you’re shopping for clothing, furniture or anything else. Those street markets and discount stores may seem like a good place to shop for the things we need and want, but the reality is that when you buy cheap, you are usually also getting something of lesser quality. When you do shop cheap, you inevitably end up with things that wear out faster and then end up cluttering your home. It is far wiser to save your money and invest in quality pieces that will last a lot longer.
Before you begin creating a minimal aesthetic in your home, it’s worthwhile knowing what characteristics feature in this modern, stylish concept. [v] The most common ones include:
Monochromatic colour palette – Think light, bright colours, usually in pastel and neutral tones or white. White is considered the most popular, but minimalist colours can also include lighter tones of blue, grey, beige, lilac or any other colour you like. You can play around with different shades but stick to a single colour.
Clean lines – This includes furniture and well-crafted pieces, sleek and sophisticated. Forget oversized chunky furniture as this will look out of place in a minimalist interior design.
Pieces with a purpose – When working with a minimalist interior design, consider investing only in functional furniture. It’s great to have a larger piece such as a sofa or a sectional corner lounge, but you could add a couple of chairs as well. They don’t necessarily need to match the larger furniture piece in the room. You can add a chair or two, depending on the size of the room. Adding a chair is also great for the bedroom.
Stick to the essentials – Your great-aunt may have a living area full of sofas, chairs, ottomans and end tables, but most of these are not necessary and create a lot of clutter. Instead, invest in a great couch and a chair or two, a small coffee table and perhaps one or two pot plants.
Keep it simple – The key to achieving a minimal aesthetic in any room is to keep it simple. This means choosing furniture with clean, simple lines and arranging them around the room so that you also create more floor space. For example, place larger items along prominent walls and only add what you need around the main furniture piece.
A minimal house design is not that difficult to achieve, but there is a bit of work involved. Here are a few tips to get you started:
The hardest part of creating a minimal aesthetic for your home is getting started, but that’s exactly what you need to do. Choose the room you want to start with and create a simple yet highly functional space. As you move from room to room you will not only notice the wonderful transformation of your home, but in every aspect of your life as well.
Edward is the managing director of Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs. He is an expert in quality, comfortable upholstered chairs.