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10 Ways to Master The Minimalist Design Style

The phrases “form follows function” and “less is more” likely come to mind when you hear minimalist interior design. You probably envision empty rooms with very little furniture, no decor, and white-on-white-on-everything. You might also think of scenes from futuristic movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tron. There’s truth to all this but the minimalist design aesthetic is (ahem) so much more.

Minimalism was originally conceptualized by the Bauhaus, a German design school in the 1920s and 1930s. It championed the concept that the shape of an object should follow its intended function. This led to interiors that were generally void of decorative objects and had minimal furniture that was geometric in form. It set the tone for the minimalist home, which consisted of sparse interiors, simplified designs with clean lines, and restrained color palettes.

Today, you’ll find a handful of minimalist interior designers who specialize in spaces that embody the style with their own twists—from mixing in ornate antiques to infusing rustic textures and even bold colors. It all goes to show that there are many ways to pull off a minimalist space in the home.

For inspiration and guidance, we’ve rounded up 10 different takes on minimalism that show how you can blend in other styles with the minimalist aesthetic in any space in your home—all without sacrificing comfort, color, and livability. Find out more below!

minimalist interior design1. Rustic Minimalism

You’ve probably seen your fair share of rustic minimalist interiors. The name says it all. A rustic minimalist space emphasizes clean lines and cozy textures, so you’ll find something like a pared-down bed styled up with sheepskin pillows, chunky knit throws, and a plush wool rug.

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The Palette: High-contrast shades are played up in the rustic minimalist space. Think white tones of beige, creams, and ivory mixed with black shades, like charcoal, tar, and ebony.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Less is definitely more. If you want to introduce the rustic minimalist interior design aesthetic into your home, start by editing down your furnishings and accents.
  • Texture, texture texture. Lean into lots of rustic textures and finishes, like grainy woods, faux fur, and natural fibers. They’ll warm up the neutral palette.
  • Hold the accents. Skip the art and ornamental decor, and let things feel a little “unstyled” and spare. Let all the textures do the talking.

minimalist interior design2. Minimalist Maximalism

Opposites attract. That’s basically the minimalist maximalist look in a nutshell. It’s a minimalist design approach to furniture and decor with a maximalist take on color and materials. The result? A space like this, where you’ll find a sculptural coffee table and a curvy sofa set against a bold wall color.

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The Palette: Instead of a minimalist living room that’s all white, you’ll find bright colors that make a statement in various ways. It could be a sapphire blue armchair, an emerald rug, or bright red walls.

The Key Design Elements:

  • All about the curves. Rounded shapes and curvy designs are the stars of the show here, so bring on the sculptural furniture starting with your seating.
  • Luxe it up. Pick beautiful materials to even out the strong colors. Mix together a marble coffee table, a matte-black pendant, and a velvet sofa. Think simple yet elevated.
  • Fewer, bolder. Take a page from the minimalist interior design rule book when it comes to accents. You don’t need five paintings. But the hand-carved stone vase? Yes, indeed.

minimalist interior design3. Eclectic Minimalism

Perfectly minimalist. Carefully curated. The term ‘Discerning Collector’ sums up the eclectic minimalist look, which consists of distinct sculptural furniture and unique accents that all tell a story.

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The Palette: Warm neutrals, like cozy ivory and cream, mixed with pops of black is the energy you’ll find here. It’s finished with touches of light woods, beige linens, and white ceramics.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Go linear. In classic minimalist interior design fashion, keep to pieces that have strong, clean lines, like a super sleek marble dining table or a cutting-edge light fixture.
  • Play with visual textures. Details like marble veining, embossed surfaces, and woven touches are what will bring your room to life. Let them shine.
  • Showcase stories. Before you add an accent to your space, make sure you’re not just displaying it for visual interest. Here, art and objects with backstories reign.

minimalist interior design4. Refined-Rustic Minimalism

You can say refined-rustic minimalism is the elevated older sister to rustic minimalism. It has the same strong rustic streak, but this minimalist interior design style dials up the cozy with farmhouse furniture and more textures.

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The Palette: You can expect a mix of white hues and natural tones in a refined-rustic minimalist living room. There will also likely be a few pops of black metal added in for contrast.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Keep it simple. The refined-rustic minimalist space is anchored in big comfort and ease. So stick to fewer pieces, like a slipcovered sofa and a spacious coffee table.
  • Natural materials galore. A weathered-wood coffee table, a striped sisal rug, a slipcovered sofa… combine these pieces to highlight their natural beauty.
  • Make breathing room. Pick furnishings that open up a room, like a hanging mirror and a soft-colored rug. They’ll extend the minimalist vibe.

minimalist interior design5. Organic Minimalism

Simplicity and organic elements are at the heart of this minimalist interior design style. Just imagine a minimalist space grounded with Mid-Century designs and sparsely layered with natural accents.

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The Palette: Neutral hues are contrasted with warm wood and woven materials. From that you get white rooms with a cozy vibe, thanks to earthy notes from the furniture and accents.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Function with style. You’ll want to truly abide by the ‘form follows function’ principle if you’re going after this look. Pick designs with practical sizing and storage before shape.
  • Let modern be. Mid-Century Modern furnishings have innate minimalist appeal, so all you need is one or two classic designs, like a Wishbone or an Eames chair.
  • Weave in texture. The main organic touch here comes from woven baskets and rush chair seats. They pair perfectly with Mid-Century pieces, so make sure you have them.

minimalist interior design6. Industrial Minimalism

Raw and rugged, this bold take on the minimalist interior design aesthetic focuses on industrial designs that make a statement. You know the look. It has heavy-duty shelving, a big metal floor lamp, and a leather armchair that steals the show in the living room. Yes, that minimalist space.

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The Palette: There’s a lot of tonal contrast that comes from the heavy mix of leather, metal, and woods. It’s this bold juxtaposition of tones and materials that define the industrial minimalist home.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Geometry is important. With the industrial minimalist look, remember that your priority is pieces that have distinct shapes and sharp, clean lines.
  • Add subtle pattern. It’s a plus here, but you have to make sure the pops of patterns you choose are soft and easy on the eyes, like a subdued abstract print.
  • Go plush. You’ll need soft finishing touches like shaggy pillows and a patterned cowhide rug to balance out the strong lines. They’ll make your space feel more inviting.

minimalist interior design7. Monochrome Minimalism

You know by now that minimalist interior design doesn’t imply an all-white home. You can experiment with color as long as you stay within the same tonal family. That’s what sets apart monochrome minimalist interiors.

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The Palette: Focus on one color and its varying shades throughout your space. If you use an earthy brown for your living room walls, follow up with accents in tan leather and sandy hues. Contrast it all with crisp white accents.

The Key Elements:

  • Focus on negative space. You don’t want to visually crowd your space. Leave lots of blank wall space and breathing room between furniture and objects.
  • Get sculptural. With a saturated color approach, you’ll want to offset the visual impact. Seek out curvy furniture with a softer edge.
  • Monochrome palette. Technically you can translate this look into your home using any color, but our favorite spaces tend to stick with warm neutrals and pastel hues.

minimalist interior design8. Mid-Century Minimalism

We can’t talk about minimalist interior design without talking about the Mid-Century minimalist aesthetic. Think of it as the Mad Men-inspired look given the clean lines and cool vibes.

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The Palette: This is a classic Mid-Century palette of wood tones, black metal touches, and neutral upholstery. It’s a tried-and-true formula for a minimalist space that doesn’t require white as the unifying shade.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Set a mood. Make sure your furniture and colors build up a sense of drama. Try gray tones as a base and choose the color of your furnishings around that.
  • An authentic mix. Opt to include quality Mid-Century designs, like a white Tulip dining table or an Arco floor lamp, alongside other modern pieces for a more dynamic look.
  • Spread out focal points. Every piece will make a statement, so be sure to space out your furniture and accents. This will help add visual interest around your home.

minimalist interior design9. Contemporary Minimalism

If it’s a comfortable minimalist home you’re after, the contemporary minimalist interior style is for you. It’s an approachable, livable take on minimalist interior design that’s perfect for the family-friendly home since it’s rooted in clean-lined comfort.

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The Palette: Shades of white, from cream to eggshell, take center stage in the contemporary minimalist space. You’ll also find light wood and lots of woven textures, which provide contrast.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Foundational furniture first. Because this style is all about comfort, so make for cozy anchor pieces, like a plush armchair or a clean-lined upholstered bed.
  • Bring on the baskets! You’ll love having these for practical storage, but their texture and natural color will also help warm up your space.
  • Layer in a few frills. Use pops of subdued colors and soft patterns from pillows and wall art to enliven your space in a way that still feels homey.

minimalist interior design10. Urban Rustic Minimalism

There’s an earthiness to the urban rustic minimalist design look, which is informed by Scandinavian minimalism. Here is the minimalist living room where you’ll find Danish furniture alongside contemporary pieces and artisanal handcrafted accents.

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The Palette: The color scheme stems from the natural materials of the furniture. It’s all balanced with warm white tones, resulting in a minimalist interior that’s calm and collected.

The Key Design Elements:

  • Streamline your furniture. A few distinct pieces, like a Scandinavian armchair and a wooden bench table, is all you need here for a stylish and livable space.
  • Spotlight natural beauty. Highlight natural textures and materials near daylight. It will add a sense of sophistication to any space in your home.
  • Accents you love. You want to bring in pieces that inspire you. Hold out for that awesome lamp or amazing pillow. It will be so worth it.

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Style Spotlight: How to Get the Rustic Minimalist Look

You heard it here first: Rustic minimalism is a trend on the rise. What is rustic minimalism? Well, as its name indicates, this look combines elements of both rustic and minimal design styles and merges them into one space. What results are cool, spare rooms warmed up with bold but neutral colors and natural materials. You’ll also notice this look has a touch of rustic charm and a hint of industrial flair. Ultimately, this style combines pared-down vintage elements in a calm, monochromatic palette for a look that’s gender-neutral and inviting.

Ready to move in? We’ve got you covered! Read on to get the scoop on our stylists’ seven best tips to help you get the look in your own home.

rustic minimalist bedroom1. Go With Natural Materials

To really nail the rustic side of rustic minimalism, opt for furniture and decor accents that show off what they’re made of. Natural materials like unfinished wood, ceramics, metals, stone, jute, and linen are all great places to start.

Art that showcases the natural world is another way to pull the rustic vibe into your space – like this photograph of the Icelandic landscape.

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rustic minimalist living room2. Prioritize Comfort

Rustic minimalism is a style that’s meant to be lived in. That means it should be full of cozy, comfortable elements that make your room an inviting gathering space. For your base furniture, pick pieces that put comfort front and center – like this oversized sectional sofa. But don’t snooze on the fact that this sofa still has clean lines, which plays into the minimal side of this style. Layers of plush textiles and pillows will help up the comfort factor.

But to keep your room from feeling too weighty, you’ll want to balance out heavy and airy furniture, striking the right balance and contrast. For example, you can balance out the more substantial sofa with a minimal coffee table. Or, consider this accent chair: while still comfortable, it has a more modern frame that keeps the look lighter.

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office3. Add Warmth with Wood and Leather

We love the way that textiles can transform and warm up a whole space. Without the leather of the chairs, this office would feel very cool and industrial. But the addition of these chairs – along with the wicker baskets on the bookshelf and the palm leaf plant basket in the corner – changes the vibe in the best possible way.

Natural wood and leather tones add warmth throughout a room and will keep your rustic minimalist space from feeling cold or sterile, but they also won’t detract from the overall style! (Curtains and rugs are another great way to add warmth and texture.) And speaking of warmth, we love the way plants warm up a room and add a pop of color.

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office4. Stick to Frill-Free Furniture

To get this look, you’ll want to stay away from ornate decor and more traditionally shaped pieces, instead favoring sleek, clean lines. What results is a look that feels both current and gender-neutral. We love the wood and upholstery in this room, which together strikes the perfect balance of minimal and warm.

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dining room5. Go High-Contrast With Wall Color

Rustic minimalist design can feel spare. To keep it minimal but add a bold note, try painting a wall in a dark neutral. This could be an accent wall or the whole space. Either way, it will add a cozy vibe that’s right at home in rustic spaces but also strikes a bold note. It also creates the perfect backdrop for your art and decor to do the talking!

Bonus: a dark wall also makes wood and brass elements pop! Afraid of the room feeling too dark? You can add some life and color with a bright patterned rug.

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rustic minimalist living room6. Add Pops of Pattern and Eclectic Art

Rustic styles tend to feel more traditional – but to achieve the modern side of rustic minimalism, mix in fresh and contemporary elements to make it of-the-moment. We love an eclectic mix of organic patterns and playful art! A gallery wall is a great way to push your look more modern and trendy, and it gives you the opportunity to mix and match art styles to create a look that is all your own.

But don’t stop at wall art! Use textiles like throw pillows and blankets – but opt for patterns in the same color scheme to keep with the minimal vibe. We brought this to life in this room through using pops of black, white, and grey in the pillows, rug, and art.

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rustic minimalist bedroom7. Go Industrial With Your Lighting Fixtures

Remember how we said the rustic minimalist style has a slight industrial element to it? Well, you can usually spot this in the light fixtures.

Pieces made of metal, with a factory vibe, are key to this style. These matte black sconces are the perfect mix of rustic and industrial chic – but with a modern shape, they also add to the minimal vibe.

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