How to Get a Minimalist Style

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Space and function must be clearly defined in a minimalist interior.
Space and function must be clearly defined in a minimalist interior. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Architect Mies van der Rohe famously adhered to the principal "less is more" in his architectural designs. Rohe applied the same principles in his work as those used in minimalist design: Each element in the space stands on its own almost as sculpture. There is little ornamentation but materials can still be quite complex such as natural stone, wood and glass combined in ways that are clean and unfussy. Minimalist design does not have to be cold and uninviting. Like an elegant hotel, it can be quite dramatic and elegant. It does require well thought-out considerations for storage and function. Light, transparency and the negative space around furniture is equally important as the furniture itself in a minimalist interior.

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Furniture

Each piece of furniture in a minimalist style must have a specific function and clean lines. Consider a low L-shaped sofa with squared arms in medium-gray leather and place a high gloss white or clear coffee table in front of it for a well edited yet textural living room. Wood tones such as a walnut finish on furniture arms are welcome in minimalist spaces as it is tactile and beautiful without needing embellishment. If you require additional guest seating but do not want to clutter the space with too many chairs consider using two to four leather cubes that can be neatly organized in the room when not in use.

Color

White often dominates in a minimalist interior but when paired with neutrals it is inviting and comfortable. Shades of gray and brown play an important role in conveying a sense of calm. Even if your home has traditional baseboards or ornamentation on the woodwork, you can still create a minimalist feel. Paint the woodwork the same color as the walls so that it blends in with the larger wall surface. Keep the color palette mostly neutral or monochromatic to unify everything in the space. One unexpected color in a strong but limited dose, such as a deep red floor pillow, adds a dramatic touch to a room with minimalist style.

Art

Art and sculpture do have their place in minimalist design. Place a sculpture on a Lucite table and light it with a spotlight from above for a dramatic and simple effect. Hang only one or two large pieces of modern art on large walls in keeping with a minimalist approach. To retain clean lines, hang horizontal art on a wide wall and hang art vertically on a tall wall. This delineates the architectural lines of the space clearly and simply; the foundation of minimalist design.

Storage

Minimalist design must be edited of anything unnecessary. Use storage wisely. For the bedroom employ a walnut wood dresser with flat-paneled drawers for a clean look. Keep knobs and handles simple such as brushed steel cylindrical shapes with no ornamentation. Kitchen cabinetry in high gloss white with flat panels and brushed steel rectangular handles keeps the room crisp and clean.

No Fuss

Minimalist design has an organized, well-edited feel. Avoid displaying many small keepsake items when working within a minimalist styled room. It may take some discipline to achieve a minimalist interior but it is also an environment that feels defined with purpose that is clear of the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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