Less is more sound like a cliché but has been the essence of the minimalist school of design which has become a way of life over years. Who does not like clean, open spaces that allow materials, furniture, and the architecture to become the heroes giving them space to breathe? It is the honest and simple detailing, simple materials that make minimalism appealing and why one enjoys creating minimalist spaces- to appreciate the warmth, beauty, seamlessness, and calmness the spaces emanate.

Minimalist architecture is about achieving design through the simplicity of form, space, materials, details, and color palette. It shows a great sense of restraint and careful pairings to seek clarity in spaces. Minimalist pioneers such as Tadao Ando, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe paved the way for this influential style of design. And while looking at such a design might seem easy, keeping things minimal requires much more than just fewer things in number. Here are a few characteristics of minimalism: 


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The characteristics of Minimalism ©

Using a neutral base can be the starting point for any minimalist design. Simple and light hues, white, ivory, and grey tones along with a neutral floor covering are the ideal starting point. With elements staged against a neutral backdrop, things that are needed and have a function are enhanced more than things that have no purpose in the space avoiding visual clutter.


“Minimalism allows something other than the space to be the focus. For example, the people in the space or the view from the window might be more important than the room’s decoration,” says Robert Brown of Robert Brown Interior Design. “[Everything] should be functional and add value to space.”

The elements in the room need to have a clear purpose and function, along with its ‘form’ is of utmost importance. The design language, color, mass, lines need to work well together. Space needs to look restful and calm to the eyes. The minimalist design aims to condense content and streamline the form of elements to create a simple and clean language. 

Space along the lines of minimalism has a simple, efficient layout creating uncomplicated spaces. Simple forms, open floor plans, minimal interior walls, and emphasis on clean views and daylight are defining characteristics of a minimalist floor plan.

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©


Being one of the most key components of minimalist design; uniformity, symmetry, and balance are key features to focus while working with a minimalist concept. Symmetry and balance apply to the layout of furniture and the overall décor. It can also be applied in the arrangement of elements, color scheme, and lighting.

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©


“If we stop to think about it we do not need so many things; we can live in any space with a lot less,” says Annette Frommer of Annette Frommer Interior Design.

The idea of an uncluttered space is the true force behind the minimalist movement in which functionality and practicality blend perfectly. Clean, open light-filled spaces, and uncluttered space. An area with large, open windows allowing a lot of natural light with a touch of textures and muted color tones create a positive environment. One of the ways to achieve uncluttered space is to draw emphasis on simple lines and elements that serve a purpose in the space.

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©

“I think clients are inspired by their space to focus on the essentials and items of personal value,” she says. “It has a calming effect to live in a well-designed and uncluttered space”, says a Philadelphia based designer Tulley.

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©

Designers need to ask questions like, how many sofas are needed in the room? How many chairs and tables are required? Do the walls need texture, murals, or paintings? How many knick-knacks, decorative elements are required on the shelves?

Space should emanate the practical use of elements, colors, and textures that harmoniously blend. 


The minimalist space will have an extremely simple finishing that can be cladding with plain lines or minimal texture. The focus should be accommodated on low maintenance, simple lines, and an overall light look. It is unlikely to find jutting structures in a minimal style of design that requires a lot more effort than necessary. The minimalist design shows restraint and pairing of simple details in the form, space, and materiality that brings the design to a place of clarity.

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©
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The characteristics of Minimalism ©


A minimalist space does not mean that it would be devoid of attraction. Concrete lintels, flooring with various materials, wood structures can tell its tale catching the eye. The placement of doors, windows, or even furniture can be a feature in itself. 

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©

Minimal décor can also create an attractive space. One bright, bold painting against a muted backdrop can become the focal point of the space. A good minimalist design is one that focuses on small details, without too much happening yet being able to catch the focus of the user despite the fact of the house being simply designed. 

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The characteristics of Minimalism ©

Chitvan Mathur is an Architect and Designer who is passionate about how spaces tell a story through powerful conceptualisations. A strong believer in the ability of architecture, she combines research with critical thinking and aims for quality by bringing her aesthetic and clean eye to all parts of her work.