Minimalism word is designated for anything which is stripped down to its absolute essentials. Minimalism and its understanding of the reduction of several elements create a standpoint that allows simplicity to shine in its various aspects. It means using limited things to create the desired effect and has become one of the most popular styles that have emerged in the past few years. Most styles of the 21st century have approached design around minimalism. 

Satisfaction in architecture and interior design has become one of the important aspects of modern life as comfort and style has created an impact in the lives of people. Minimalist design has been influenced by the styles that came before it specifically being The De Stijl art movement and designs where simplicity and abstraction by reducing design to the essential form and color were brought out. Architects like Mies Van Der Rohe strived to create designs based on simplicity, clarity, and open spaces with minimal framework. Minimalism has shaped architecture for over a long time in which ornamentation was avoided and new materials with the focus being on glass, steel and reinforced concrete were used more creating a modernist movement. 

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It involves the use of reductive design elements, without any decoration aiming to condense content and streamline form and structure. Aesthetic restraint is a key concept with the focus being on functionality along with clean visual spaces. Using spaces of various scales with proper furniture placement- without making the space look uninviting and empty is a precision required to work with such a style. Objects and furniture take up most of the interiors of any space. These in any given space following the principles of minimal design will usually follow simple geometric designs, simple ornamentation, flat reflective surfaces and minimal combination of materials. Depending on different spaces the material palette changes but mostly the design relies on wood and leather paired with muted tones of greys and whites of matt finish.

Being specific to interior design, different styles that are rooted in the minimalist approach are the Japanese or Scandinavian styles both having unique approaches and elements. The main influence of the Japanese interior design uses simple colors with clean lines and forms.   

Working with minimal elements creates a good user experience by drawing focus on elements in the space and not getting lost in the clutter. It also brings in the focus of blending nature and interiors to achieve a balance between the built and open. Harmony and simplicity are achieved by keeping bare walls, simple forms with simple materials. In this way, the “essence” of the space truly shines through in the area. 

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There are many reasons stating that minimalist design as to why minimalism has created a large impact on the users of the 21st century:


Minimalism is only about having what one needs in their physical space and schedule. Visual clutter can spark more overwhelming feelings than productive ones and distract one easily. 

Famous artist Michelangelo stated that – “Art lives on constraint and dies of freedom.” 

It is a given that one creates and becomes more productive when faced with limits. 

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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 the space.

Every element in the room has a clear purpose and function is of utmost importance. The overall design language, color, mass and lines need to work well together. When the space looks restful and calm, it becomes attractive along with every element having a desired function and belonging. Emphasis on clean views, open spaces and simple forms add charm and a sense of luxury to spaces creating better functional spaces. 

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A space designed with a minimalist approach does not mean that it is devoid of any attraction. A play of materials or textures tells their tale that catches the eye. The placement of doors, windows or even furniture pieces can be a defining feature in itself. A bright, bold wall feature or mural against a muted backdrop can become a focal point in the space. A good minimal design is one that focuses on smaller details that do not catch the attention straight away yet becoming an important design decision.

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“If we really 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.

A large open space with a lot of natural light flowing with a touch of textures paired with muted tones creates a positive and light environment. Picking out colors, artifacts and personalized things by the user becoming the requirement of the space makes the inhabitant happy and adds a feel-good factor affecting the psychology of the user. Every design choice made in that space should also promote a feeling of safety, comfort and belonging.

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“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.

Minimalism is about the feeling that it gives out without any single sense getting sacrificed with simplicity. Bedrooms become more comfortable and intimate, and living spaces become aesthetically pleasing with details that matter. Minimalism in itself becomes the amplification of already existing purposes. It is the maximization of the use, shape and elements of a space.


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.