Close this search box.
The Rise of Minimalism: Simplifying Interior Design in the Modern Age

The Rise of Minimalism: Simplifying Interior Design in the Modern Age

In recent years, minimalist interior design has seen renewed popularity, especially as people strive to lead more simplistic lives free of clutter. If you’re interested in getting into interior design as a career, then there’s a good chance you’ll have your fair share of clients looking for minimalism and simplicity in design.

With a deeper understanding of minimalist interior design and what it entails, plus how this style incorporates elements of sustainable living, you can be prepared to meet your clients’ demands as an up-and-coming interior design professional.

Understanding Minimalist Interior Design

So, what exactly is minimalist interior design and why has it suddenly become so popular? In many ways, minimalism in interior design is closely connected to the concept of a minimalist lifestyle that aims to avoid excess and clutter in all areas of life.

Definition and Principles of Minimalist Interior Design

In interior design specifically, minimalism refers to design choices that prioritize simplicity and functionality over everything else. In a minimalist space, you’ll typically observe such characteristics as:

  • Neutral or earthy color schemes
  • Very little accessories, trinkets and overall clutter
  • Sleek furnishings with clean lines

Perhaps one of the easiest ways of thinking about minimalist interior design is to remember that less is actually more.

Benefits of Minimalist Interior Design

There are numerous potential advantages of minimalism in interior design, whether it’s a minimalist bedroom design or even a minimalist wardrobe. First and foremost, these kinds of designs focus on doing more with less, which ultimately means less clutter and improved functionality of a space.

Minimalist designs also tend to come with less cleaning and maintenance because there’s less furniture to dust/polish and fewer items to organize. Some might even argue that a more simplistic and decluttered space can be better for focus and productivity.

In many ways, minimalist designs also tend to be more sustainable and thus, better for the environment. By making more conscious and intentional furniture and design choices, it is possible to embrace eco-conscious living without sacrificing a beautiful home.

Minimalist Home Decor Trends

While minimalism itself is hardly a new concept, it has gained significant popularity in recent years. Interior designers are tasked with staying on top of the latest trends as they relate to minimalist home accessories, minimalist home organization and minimalist furniture ideas.

Minimalist Decor Ideas for Different Rooms

So, what might a minimalist design look like in different rooms of the home? The living room is a common starting point for people striving for a minimalist design. Here, you would want to focus on embracing natural light while investing in quality furniture items, such as tables and sofas, that will last for years to come. Living rooms are also great spaces to celebrate focal points, such as fireplaces.

What about a minimalist bedroom design? Professional designers might focus on sticking with a neutral color scheme and perhaps adding visual interest with a subtle accent wall. Likewise, opting for simplistic furniture, like bed frames, nightstands and dressers, with clean lines and minimizing clutter on surfaces can go a long way.

Minimalist Color Schemes

Color is another important consideration in minimalist interior design. Typically, minimalist designs are more neutral colors and colors found in nature. This can include whites, off-whites, browns, tans and greys. However, this isn’t to say that a minimalist home design can never incorporate bold colors. Instead, bold colors should be embraced in moderation, often used as accents where suitable.

When adding pops of color to an otherwise minimalist palette, saturated hues tend to complement lighter colors well. Consider shades of navy, green and even black to make a statement while keeping lines clean and sophisticated.

Exploring Minimalist Architecture

Of course, minimalism isn’t just for interior design. It can also be found in other realms, including architecture. Even if you don’t have plans to get into architecture as part of your own career path, interior designers can benefit from applying their knowledge of minimalist architecture to their own interior work.

Key Features of Minimalist Architecture

Like minimalist interior design, minimalist architecture embraces the idea of less being more with lots of clean lines and simple shapes. In fact, it is not uncommon to find simple shapes and angles in repetition as part of a minimalist building design.

From a color perspective, minimalist architecture also focuses on neutral color schemes to promote a sense of calm and even sophistication. Whites, off-whites, grays and lighter shades of brown are commonly seen in this style of building, though bolder accent colors may also be incorporated.

Finally, minimalist architecture focuses on using simple yet durable materials that will stand up to the test of time. Common materials used in minimalist architecture may include:

  • Concrete
  • Glass
  • Wood
  • Stone

Examples of Iconic Minimalist Structures

Around the globe, there are plenty of examples of minimalist architecture to admire. You can read more about some of the most beautiful minimalist buildings around the world here, but some top picks include:

  • The Barcelona Pavilion (Spain)
  • Chichu Art Museum (Japan)
  • Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar)
  • St. Mortiz Church (Switzerland)

Scandinavian Minimalism and Its Global Influence

Closely related to the concept of minimalist interior design is the idea of Scandinavian minimalism, which continues to influence the modern minimalist homes of today.

Overview of Scandinavian Minimalism

Specifically, Scandinavian minimalism refers to a concept followed by many Nordic countries focused on living simply and functionally while staying as connected to nature as possible. Following these key concepts, Scandinavian-inspired spaces don’t contain any items that don’t serve a meaningful purpose. This means that you won’t even find basic home decor if it doesn’t offer a practical function.

Incorporating Scandinavian Minimalism Into Home Decor

While Scandinavian minimalism isn’t too far removed from minimalist interior design as we know it today, it is crucial to understand that the former is more focused on a connection to nature. With this in mind, there are some basic best practices that interior designers should keep in mind when incorporating Scandinavian minimalism into their own work.

The focus should be on making sure that every item in the home serves a purpose or fulfills a need. If not, then it has no place in the design. From there, focus on nature-inspired color schemes and inviting plenty of natural light into the space itself.

Material choices matter deeply in Scandinavian design, too. Ideally, materials should be reflective of nature, with popular options including stone, wood and wool. It is also common for these spaces to incorporate plenty of greenery as a means of bridging interior spaces with the great outdoors.

Minimalist Living Tips and Functional Minimalism

While many interior design clients have a desire to embrace minimalism in their lives, the reality is that this can be easier said than done. This is especially true for those living in western cultures, where there is often a lot of focus on consumption and collecting the next big thing.

Still, there are some practical tips that everybody looking to live more simplistically can follow to embrace the minimalist lifestyle for good.

Practical Tips for Embracing Minimalist Living

One of the first steps that you should take if you want to embrace a minimalist lifestyle is to declutter your life. This can be a time-consuming process, but it involves going through every space in your home and getting rid of things that no longer serve a functional purpose or bring you happiness.

For some, this may also mean adopting a minimalist wardrobe where you stick to just a few key pieces that you can mix and match to achieve different outfits. From there, embracing minimalist living also means investing in quality furniture pieces that will hold up your needs not just now, but years down the road.

Functional Minimalism in Everyday Life

One of the most critical things to keep in mind when it comes to incorporating functional minimalism into your everyday life is to think before you bring anything new into your home. Specifically, you’ll want to take some time to really consider what benefits the item will bring to the space and whether it is actually worth making the purchase. By focusing more on adding only things that serve function and value, you can keep your space free of clutter and renew your focus on the things that matter most.

Minimalism and Sustainability

In addition to creating more simplistic living spaces easier to maintain, minimalism also goes together with sustainability and eco-friendly living.

Environmental Benefits of Minimalism

There are many ways in which minimalism can help the environment, starting with the fact that minimalism means buying and consuming less. This translates to less waste that ends up in landfills. Meanwhile, because minimalism focuses on purchasing items, such as furniture, that will last for a long time, this also cuts down on waste that can harm the environment.

Sustainable Minimalist Brands and Products

Fortunately, there are several brands these days that focus on sustainability and minimalism in their products. You can explore some of the top sustainable furniture companies here, with notable mentions including:

  • Maiden Home
  • Kaiyo
  • Inside Weather
  • West Elm

Minimalist Aesthetics in Global Fashion Trends

In addition to interior design, it’s also common to find minimalist influences in today’s global fashion trends.

Minimalist Fashion Design

Minimalist fashion design refers to styles that emphasize simplicity and function above all else. These      pieces typically incorporate neutral colors, as well as clean lines and minimal accents or embellishments. Minimalist fashion design also means cultivating wardrobes that have fewer pieces, with each piece serving multiple functions and having the ability to be paired with any number of other options.

Advantages of Minimalist Fashion

Many people are turning to minimalist fashion and even creating minimalist wardrobe, and for good reason. With more minimalist fashion choices comes a greater sense of sustainability because the pieces that you do choose will last for years to come. Meanwhile, minimalist wardrobes don’t really go out of style because of their simplicity, so they can save money on having to buy new clothes to keep up with the latest trends each year.

Finally, a minimalist wardrobe can save time and space. With fewer options to choose from and greater versatility, picking an outfit and getting dressed for any occasion is easier and quicker than ever.

Explore Interior Design Degree Programs

There’s a lot to love about minimalist and sustainable interior design, and it’s unlikely that this trend is going anywhere anytime soon. As an aspiring interior designer, knowing how to incorporate elements of minimalist design into your clients’ properties can help you propel your career forward while staying on-trend.

Ready to pursue a formal education in interior design? Then, it’s time to explore the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree programs offered at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. Here, we are proud to offer these degrees both online and on-campus, so you can choose the format that best suits your needs and lifestyle.

Learn more about interior design degrees from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design by dropping us a line, or get started with your online application today.


We're accepting applications for our next session. No fee, Apply Today!

Classes Starting Soon!

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design Campus

No Application fee