Minimalism as an Interior Design Concept

Minimalism is a design concept that was first conceptualised in the 1920s by the German design school The Staatliches Bauhaus. It became popular in the early 90s and is still used often in everything from art and architectural design to software interface design. Its main focus is the concept that the shape of an object should reflect its intended function. In interior design, this led to rooms and spaces with no decorative aspects and use of lighter colours in contrast with geometric furniture. Minimalism relies on simplicity, with emphasis on “less is more” which results in lighter tones in the colour palette and rooms with cleaner space, less clutter and modern style. It provides modesty to the house and eliminates the clutter which has become commonplace with more lavish and decorative designs of the past. Almost every interior designer today will be able to create a minimalist design for a home and some architectural forums focusing on the higher end markets (such as luxury home builders Brisbane) will usually default to minimalism.

Architectural Design

Minimalist architectural design focuses on spacious rooms and liberal use of natural light. The design is initiated with only the most essential elements and later added on but not excessively and always with purpose. The principles of ergonomics, functionality and sustainability take centre stage.


Minimalism makes use of lighter tones such as white, creams, and grey to contrast against darker colours such as black and darker grey. The colours of the walls, ceiling and floor are meant to give the room the appearance of being more spacious than it is. This does not mean that a minimalist design is restricted to these colours, however. Brighter colours can also be used to create beautiful designs with proper matching and mixing.


Metal, timber, and glass are the primary materials used for furniture with the colours similar to above. Furniture is usually made to be the primary indicator of a room’s function and are therefore given a prominent place, with either contrasting or positioning. Furniture is kept looking less cluttered and to further emphasise the space. Rooms are furnished sufficiently that it can satisfy its function and no more, arranged with purpose and deliberation. Ornamentation and Decoration are usually not present in minimalist designs, and all furniture achieves a practical function.


Aside from the colours, the finish of an interior also adds substantially to its ambience. Minimalist design finish complements the colour palette of the design and respects the simplicity of the room. Minimalist finishes include flooring, ceilings, window blinds, plaster etc. Marble floors, tiles and wood flooring are popular picks with carpeting being somewhat uncommon in minimalist design. Ceilings are built to reflect light and make the room seem bigger through the use of whites and shadow. Walls are generally finished with matte plaster, as gloss disturbs the light distribution in the room. If timber is used for the walls, it can be painted or left as it is and plaster is not used.