If you're looking to add a touch of minimalism to your home, you've come to the right place. In this guide to minimalism for beginners, we'll give you six essential tips to help you get started with minimalist interior design.
We'll provide a quick primer on what minimalism and Dutch design are and we’ll share ideas for finding the perfect furniture and decor to transform your space.
Whether you're an aspiring interior design minimalist or you’re just searching for basic interior design tips, these six principles will help.
What Is Minimalism?
Minimalism is a design style and aesthetic that's all about stripping away superfluous elements and focusing on the essential. This results in clean and airy spaces that feel both calming and stylish.
Sharon Blaustein of B Interior muses that "minimalism for me is about keeping a space simple, uncluttered, and accentuating the attractive architectural features of a space."
What Is Dutch Design?
Dutch design played a large part in creating the contemporary minimalist aesthetic and appeals to people of all backgrounds. It’s the quintessential minimalism for beginners because it's simple enough to understand and appreciate, yet sophisticated enough to elevate even the most pedestrian objects and spaces.
Its clean, uncluttered style allows people to focus on the essential elements of each piece and space, without ever feeling overwhelmed or confused. When done well, this results in a welcoming, natural, curated feel without looking overly styled.
Minimalism For Beginners: 6 Interior Design Basics
Start With A Neutral, Uncluttered Space
One key principle to all basic interior design is to start with a neutral, uncluttered space. This helps to ground all other design choices and serves as a base for other elements such as decor, minimalist furniture pieces, and lighting.
The classic minimalist "white" wall provides an ideal backdrop for layering pops of color, interesting shapes, textured furnishings, and decorative accents. White walls might sound stark or drab, but when the shade is well chosen, it's anything but boring.
Remember that most paint colors with "white" in their name don't actually appear white when we look at them. Learn more about white paint with this guide to choosing the perfect minimalist white paint color.
While most interior design minimalists opt for white walls, they’re not required. These examples of “cozy minimalism” show some colorful and creative alternatives.
Look at these beautiful examples of the how a well-chosen white paint color and the right minimalist bedroom furniture will provide coziness and warmth in the space they’re most desired – the bedroom.
Prioritize Simplicity And Functionality
Once you're ready to "add" to your space, remember that in minimalism, less is more.
This means keeping furnishings and decor to a minimum. However, it should never result in a space that looks austere, sparse, or unwelcoming. A minimalist space should feel inviting and comfortable.
When choosing minimalist furniture and pieces, it's important to consider function. Try to prioritize simple pieces that serve multiple purposes when possible.
A set of beautiful, minimalistic nesting tables is a perfect example of this. You can easily arrange the tables in different areas of the room to suit different purposes, such as a footrest or a plant stand.
Keep Clutter Hidden
Choose well-designed, closed storage pieces that integrate into the space to keep clutter hidden. One wonderful example of this can be found in minimalist bedroom furniture.
A minimalist bedroom piece might be a well-made storage bench that keeps clutter hidden, provides a comfortable place to sit, and has a Dutch design feel. Place a tray on it and it becomes a console table.
Look For Clean Lines In Minimalist Furniture And Décor
Minimalist furniture and spaces often feature clean and inspired lines. The aesthetic is about pared-down, understated pieces that communicate elegance and simplicity. A great example is the famous "cube couch" created by Dutch designer Jan des Bouvrie.
Bouvrie was also known for introducing and popularizing the white wall so iconic in minimalism.
Interior design minimalists often avoid excessive ornamentation and elaborate patterns, instead preferring to let the function and forms speak for themselves. By stripping away unnecessary elements, minimalist design looks both modern and timeless.
Focus On Natural Lighting and Materials
Natural light and materials are important elements of minimalist interior design. Natural light can flood rooms with a beautiful warm glow, creating a sense of dimension and openness that's ideal for spaces with fewer furnishings and objects.
Natural materials like wood and stone add warmth and texture to the space, giving it an organic feel that enhances the minimal aesthetic.
Play With Color And Texture
The use of color and texture are key for the interior design minimalist. A minimal color palette will help to create a sense of cohesion and tranquility, while texture can be used to add interest and visual contrast. Just as in Dutch design, minimalist color palettes tend toward monochromatic and subdued.
Vary and mix textures using soft textiles and more durable materials like wood grains and marbles.
Choose Quality And Craftsmanship
In 11 Minimalist Style And Decor Ideas, Sacha Strebe writes that “the challenge of working with the pared-back aesthetic is how little you actually have to work with. This makes the decision process even tricker than usual. You really have to consider each piece carefully before it enters the room, but this also means the end result is elegantly curated”.
Try to see each piece as an investment, and avoid making impulse buys and purchasing based solely on an ever-changing rotation of interior design trends.
When buying minimalist furniture, consider buying pieces that have already stood the test of time or are so well-crafted that they'll be able to.
Natural materials like stone and wood lend themselves to longevity and beauty. These materials are often also easier to make or manufacture using more traditional and long-lasting techniques.
Minimalism For Beginners: The Key To Getting Started
Getting started as an interior design minimalist is to choose one, simple thing and start there.
Perhaps this means you begin by decluttering your space for 5 or 10 minutes a day. Check out these minimalist tips for decluttering.
Spend a little time each week shopping online and curating your favorite minimalist furniture pieces. Create mood boards to inspire you. Visit the paint store and look at all the white paints available.
Above all, take your time, have fun, and enjoy the process of creating your first minimalist space.