Minimalism is an interior design style that focuses on space and only the bare essentials in accessories and furniture. The style is popular for its simplicity and functionality – keeping homes feeling fresh and clutter-free. One way to think about your minimalist interior is, if you can live without it or it doesn’t add to the room’s key aesthetic, it shouldn’t be there.
Minimalist décor is typically centred around a monochrome or neutral colour palette. Only a few – often brightly coloured – items are used to accessorise and accentuate the style.
White or cream walls are ideal for minimalist rooms as they brighten and open up the space, while also drawing the eye to the room’s key furniture pieces.
Characterised by its simplicity, minimalism emphasises the form and texture of key pieces, producing a stylish and practical space, ideally with plenty of natural light.
Minimalist interior design was originally conceived as a way of decorating on a budget, without compromising on style. However, contemporary minimalist design is an option for any homemaker, accessorising with affordable or more lavish accessories, furniture and artwork.
Homemakers aren’t advised to jump into a minimalist overhaul of their whole home. Not only is stripping back an entire property to the essentials a time-consuming task but you also risk regretting some hasty design decisions.
We recommend focusing on one room at a time for your minimalist makeover. You can then put your energy into creating your dream minimalist space and take inspiration from each completed room as you plan the next one.
To transform your home into a minimalist haven, follow these steps:
Furniture is the staple of any room, so it must be functional and comfortable. Too many different items will clutter the space. Items that offer multiple uses, like coffee tables with built-in storage, are ideal for minimising the number of pieces in each room.
Keep your countertops, tabletops, shelves and the floor clutter-free. For a truly minimalist style, there should be nothing stacked or stored in plain sight.
Instead, find a new home for your devices in closed storage (drawers, cupboards, baskets, etc.) and donate or recycle any items you can live without.
Natural light is a key element of a minimalist interior. So, it‘s important not to cover windows with heavy curtains or stack items on windowsills. A simple wooden blind or block-colour fabric, in keeping with the room’s colour palette, is ideal.
Where natural light is unavailable or limited, choose artificial lighting that complements the minimalist room design.
Recessed ceiling lights are compact and unobtrusive and come in a range of designs, while LED strip lights are comprised of simple, straight lines – usually complimenting the lines of the room.
Floor or table lamps with sleek lines are also an ideal addition to minimalist rooms. Choose an understated look with a geometric form and naked bulb, rather than a large fabric lampshade, to keep to the minimalist style.
Once you’ve completed the basics for your minimalist room – storing away loose items and reducing furniture – you can start to select a small number of decorations.
One or two items for the walls is plenty, for example, a mirror and a piece of art. Consider a clock atop a sideboard and an elegant floor vase beside an armchair.
These items can be brighter in colour, adding a splash of personality to your otherwise neutral room. A fresh green plant also adds a natural vibe.
As time goes by, it’s only natural that you’ll accumulate belongings you want to keep and show off. So, it’s recommended to stick to a ‘one in, one out’ rule – if you introduce a new decoration to the room, remove an existing one.
Minimalism works best in smaller homes, opening up the space to create an illusion of depth. Follow our advice for more specific tips on how to introduce a minimalist aesthetic to each room:
In a small kitchen, it may seem inevitable that some items and utensils will be kept on countertops. However, there are ways to work around this and keep your kitchen neat and tidy, in keeping with a minimalist design.
When it comes to crockery and cooking utensils, aim for quality over quantity. A durable set of kitchen knives and saucepans will maintain their quality for longer, meaning you need fewer items.
You shouldn’t need more than one or two baking trays and hoarding five different gin glasses isn’t improving your kitchen. The same goes for collections of fancy blenders, mixers, and bread makers – ask yourself, how regularly do you use them? If it’s not often, they can be removed – at least from the kitchen and stored away elsewhere in case you need them in the future.
Use overhead storage where possible, including cupboards and hanging racks. A simple rack or shelf is ideal for storing saucepans without cluttering countertops at eye level.
Installing pop-up plug entries around the kitchen removes the need for exposed sockets and visible wires. These can be hidden away when not in use, giving you a tidier kitchen.
Also, consider installing ‘invisible’ appliances that are built-in behind cupboard doors, giving you a sleeker kitchen design.
By making use of a simple colour palette and different textures, you can produce a stylish bedroom design on a budget.
Cutting out clutter is essential for minimalist interior design, and in the bedroom especially, there tends to plenty of unnecessary items.
Separate your clothes into seasonal pieces and store your winter items in under-bed storage or a loft until they’re needed. This instantly reduces the volume of clothes for storing, so a single wardrobe or chest of drawers should provide ample space.
In smaller bedrooms, you need to maximise your use of space. One way of doing so is using the full length of walls when choosing storage options. For example, shelves and cabinets above a bed are ideal for storing items you don’t regularly use – and keeping these items to a single wall leaves the others free for a minimalist aesthetic.
In rooms with a single bed, consider a wall-mounted bedside table or small floating shelf. You can also store smaller items, like makeup or jewellery, in wicker baskets on a dresser, rather than leaving them loose on the surface.
The bathroom lends itself to a minimalist design – it doesn’t need lots of items. Keep this in mind when decorating.
Recessed shelving is perfect for storing toiletries above a bath or sink. Dedicating areas to these items is important, or surfaces can quickly become cluttered with toiletries and accessories.
A small wicker box or basket is ideal for holding cleaning products and means they can be kept to hand without clashing with the minimalist theme of the room.
The same applies to storing towels and laundry. If you decide to store multiple different items in this way, a stacking system is recommended. This takes up minimal space and keeps all items on one side of the room, freeing up space elsewhere and leaving other walls free.