Home design aims to create a healthier and more functional experience in a given space. It is a vital component of every home, allowing you to make your space suitable to your preferences and needs.
While there are countless ways to style the interior of your home, few are as simultaneously popular, functional, and aesthetically pleasing as minimalist design. However, minimalism is far more than just a look — it’s a lifestyle. To properly execute minimalist design in your home, you have to embrace the guiding principles of the minimalist lifestyle.
What Is Minimalism?
Simply put, minimalism is a lifestyle that involves living intentionally with what you need and eliminating what you don’t. There is no single way to define minimalism; as a lifestyle, it can have a unique meaning to each individual. It often entails living with fewer possessions, reducing unnecessary distractions, and focusing on what provides value to you.
The modern minimalist lifestyle stems from an art movement known as Minimalism that gained popularity in the U.S. after the Second World War. Minimalism impacted many different disciplines, including the visual arts, literature, music, film, architecture, and design. Though the exact tenets of Minimalism vary between disciplines, it is primarily characterized by only including something’s essential elements.
In recent years, minimalism has become incredibly popular, especially in home design and décor. It prioritizes simplicity — think clean lines, clear and uncluttered surfaces, neutral paint on the walls, and monochromatic color schemes. Spaces are then punctuated with attention-grabbing accents, a handful of bright and colorful decorations, and lush textures to showcase your unique personality and preferences.
Benefits of Using Minimalist Design in Your Home
That being said, there are thought to be practical, social, financial, and health benefits that come from adopting minimalism and employing the associated design principles in your home.
Boosted Mental Health: Living with less may have positive impacts on your mental health, while living in a cluttered home may have negative effects. One study discovered that women with “messy” homes were more likely to have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol; another found that cluttered environments can reduce focus and impede memory. Conversely, you may be more productive in a clean environment that is well-organized and lacking in clutter.
Decreased Materialism: Minimalism encourages you to be less materialistic, giving less weight to the items you do have. It may even help you reduce your consumption of new goods, which is great for both your wallet and the environment.
Heightened Happiness: Similarly, minimalism may increase your overall life satisfaction. One study determined that materialism is correlated with lower well-being, while another found that people who are dedicated to decreasing consumption report higher levels of emotional fulfillment.
Less Time Cleaning: With fewer items in your home, you don’t have to spend as much time tidying up and putting things back where they belong. When the time comes for a deeper clean, you can get right to it instead of clearing off surfaces or moving your items out of the way.
Increased Focus: Minimalism makes you focus on the important things in your life — such as your relationships, hobbies, and health — instead of material possessions. It can also help you be more present and mindful in your daily life.
Feelings of Freedom: You may not realize it until they’re gone, but your possessions tie you down. When you eliminate many of them, you’ll likely feel weightless, light, and free.
It’s hard to say how many of these benefits come from incorporating minimalist design into your home and how many come from adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Luckily, the rules of minimalist home design can guide you down the path of living an equally minimalist life.
The Principles of Minimalist Design at Home
Whether you enjoy the aesthetic or want to explore life as a minimalist, there are several key design principles to keep in mind while styling your home:
Less Is More
As the name implies, minimalism is, well, minimal. You don’t need a lot of furniture, color, or décor to make a beautiful, minimalist space. Instead of cramming as many of your possessions into a single room as you can, be intentional with how you place a few key items. You may need to move things in, out, or around while you find the perfect configuration for the space.
Storage Is Key
“Less is more” is the modus operandi of minimalism, but, between sentimental belongings and household necessities, there are some things you can’t get rid of. Instead of putting them on display, get creative with storage solutions in your home. Use designated storage areas, like your garage and closets, to their fullest extent. Look for other ways to incorporate more storage in your home, and spend time organizing your possessions to maximize your space.
Strong, clean lines are a key component of minimalist design. Cultivate a stark contrast between various surfaces, such as tables and bookcases, by keeping them clutter-free. The walls in a room should be similarly clean, painted well, and adorned with minimal artwork. Combined with the other clear surfaces in your home, this helps create the crisp lines associated with minimalism.
Stand Out Accents, Furniture, and Art
Minimalism does not equal bland. Clean, clear, clutter-free walls and surfaces are a blank canvas for you to paint upon with bold colors and stand-out pieces. You can make your space more visually interesting by painting an accent wall, using colorful furniture, or displaying a large piece of art. You can then bring in smaller pieces to round out your design. As long as you’re mindful when making your selections and don’t go overboard with your color scheme, you can cultivate a minimalist space that still shows off your personality.
Texture is minimalism’s best friend. It’s an easy and effective way to add depth and dimension to your space without bringing in additional items or pieces of furniture. Incorporate a variety of materials into your space — such as cloth, glass, brick, wood, ceramic, and canvas — to enrich it and make it feel more inviting. You can use rugs, couches, tables, blankets, pillows, lamps, and even the walls to bring in a diverse array of textures into your home.
Quality Over Quantity
Prioritize quality over quantity when styling your home. Minimalism is about consuming less, which is easier to do when you have high-quality items that can stand the test of time. You don’t need to spend a fortune to find high-quality pieces; instead, invest in timeless, classic items that you enjoy and will be able to use for years to come.
These are simply some of the guiding principles behind a minimalist home design, not hard and fast rules. Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t as you style a minimalist space that reflects your unique needs, preferences, and lifestyle.