How to create a minimalist home

Minimalism is not a lack of something. It's simply the perfect amount of something.” Nicholas Burroughs

What a great quote. It eloquently expresses that minimalism is an embrace of the ‘less is more’ principle. It’s a philosophy as much as a design trend (as are all design styles at the end of the day).


Minimalism as interior design brings the essentials of a building’s interior – the lines and planes of the structure – into focus. It’s also a celebration of simplicity, amplifying the beauty and quality of the few items on show.

Minimalist interiors aim to simplify and de-clutter one’s life, which means this style is ideal for anyone who feels that things are starting to rule their life – for anyone who would rather just be surrounded by the tools they need to lead a pared-down life.

Getting rid of ‘unnecessaries’

We all collect clutter over the years, some of us are just better than others at purging ourselves of it on a regular basis. Part of what helps us to collect stuff is having the space or storage for it. When you eliminate excess storage space, you have to become more mindful about what you keep.

So while good storage is crucial to the minimalist look, having only so much helps one in developing the questioning mindset of true minimalists, which is: do I really want or need this in my life?

If you want to change to a minimalist design and lifestyle, have a thorough clean out. Perhaps do it with the William Morris saying in mind: “Have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Minimalist colours

Minimalist interiors tend to embrace whites, greys, navy, blacks, neutrals and wood. But this is far from a hard-and-fast rule. A minimalist room can happily incorporate teal, for example, or a green, but you won’t find a rainbow of colours. A room with too many colours tends to be too distracting, too attention-seeking, for the minimalist mindset.

Pale woods are very popular, particularly because minimalists often opt for very pale interiors. The choice of white furniture and accessories against white walls is very common. You will also frequently see the juxtaposition of white and black, which offers a starker minimalist look.

Learning from the Scandinavians


The Scandinavians are great at minimalism. Take the above bathroom, for instance. There is the hallmark embrace of white-on-white, with the addition of some neutral browns. There is also the eschewal of frivolous features – the mirror is without a frame or any other adornment, the toilet, toilet roll holder and flushing mechanism are pared right down to what is functional and essential, and the shower is simply a corner with one plain sheet of glass as divider.

Aside from some simply skirting, there are no mouldings in the room – just simple lines and angles. The whole room is about understatement, clean lines, selectively chosen pieces.

The modern element

Minimalism in the West is a modern interior decorating style (more on this below), and accordingly artwork in minimalist interiors tends to be modern, as seen in the featured bathroom. The lush detail of past art movements such as Renaissance and Baroque seldom fits in. It’s also unsurprising that the frame for this particular piece of art is a barely-there white one.

Modern lighting is also very popular with minimalists – you often see exposed light bulbs, and cords that are made to stand out. If there is a lampshade it’ll most likely be plain metal or plastic – modern and monotone. In this bathroom the two lights on either side of the mirror cabinet are modern and understated, while the choice of a hidden ceiling light above the shower is functional and on trend.

Minimalist favourites

Other popular features today within the minimalist home are:

  • racks and open shelves for clothes instead of wardrobes,
  • windows without curtains,
  • mattresses on the floor or low bed stands,
  • plain carpets or unadorned floors (wooden floorboards are popular), and
  • plain crockery sitting exposed on shelves.

Open-to-view storage is a way of helping the minimalist to pare down possessions.  

Plants are also common in such homes, but even the plants chosen tend be ‘simple’ – orchids, cacti and aloes versus roses or lavender.

Space to breathe in

A perennial aspect to minimalism is large open spaces. This is partly the knock-on effect of having selective furniture and few possessions, but it is also a stylistic choice – minimalists don’t downsize to a room where their ‘little’ fills up the space, but rather enjoy having the open space.

Minimalism was developed in uptown New York and London in the 1980s, and the unusual ratio of ‘stuff’ to space was intended to be striking – a commentary on materialism. Minimalist designers were strongly influenced by traditional Japanese architecture and interior design. The deliberate emptiness of space is felt to reduce everything to its most essential qualities.

What next…

All of the above discussion now leads us to the most obvious question: are you a minimalist at heart? Or do you desire to be one?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then we wish you all the best on your minimalist interior makeover!


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