7 Minimalist Interior Design Ideas For Everyday People

You’ve seen the pictures. Minimalist interior design porn. You know what I’m talking about. The million dollar homes dripping with space, furnished sparsely with the most expensive furniture money can buy. If you’re like me, you can’t afford that kind of minimalism.

7 minimalist interior design ideas: Photo of old cabinet with single cactus on top.
Photo by Dan Erickson

My house came with a living room and a sunroom. It’s more than I need, but it’s what I got. I keep both rooms sparsely furnished. Pictured above is an old cabinet that’s in the sunroom. Notice that there’s only a single cactus on top. It’s minimalist. I hide our dog supplies inside.

Minimalist Interior Design Is Not Expensive

When you see the minimalist porn, you might become discouraged and think minimalist interior design is too expensive for you. That’s not true. I’ve discovered ways to create a minimalist aesthetic without spending a ton of money.

You have to be willing to furnish your home with some distressed furniture to achieve this look. Let’s study the ways that everyday people can create a minimalist home.

Minimalist Interior Design For Everyday People

  1. Light and color: Light gives any room a more spacious feel. Take advantage of the windows in your home. Use blinds, not curtains. Color is important, too. White and earth tones create the illusion of more room. Paint with light colors.
  2. Floor space: Allow your room to breathe with plenty floor space. This doesn’t mean that your room needs to be empty. It means that you need to be intentional about the furnishings you keep in each room.
  3. Simple furnishings: I can’t afford those high-end minimalist furnishings you see in the minimalist porn. So I turned to antiques. I don’t use fancy refurbished antiques. I look for plain pieces with real distress. Don’t pay for fake distress. Make sure each piece serves a practical purpose. I’ve furnished my entire home with pieces like the one in the photo for less than $1000.
  4. Minimal art and decor: If you want a minimalist interior design, you have to be selective with your decor. In most cases, you only want one or two pieces of art or decor in a given space. Note how the single cactus adds to the cabinet, but still offers a sense of simplicity.
  5. Use small things: A single large painting on a mammoth wall looks minimal. But if you live in a small home, you’ll need to downsize. Use art and decor that’s relative to your home’s dimensions.
  6. Things to leave out: I’ve discovered that there are certain items that clutter up a house. Coffee tables take up floor space. Microwaves take up counter space. Rugs take away from a clean minimalist look. If I didn’t have an 12-year-old daughter, I’d throw out the TV, too.
  7. Alway tidy up: Clutter kills minimalist interior design. It only takes 10 minutes a day to tidy up.

Study Nature And Photography For More Inspiration

If you want more inspiration, study nature. Not all of nature is minimalist to be sure, but consider an ocean horizon with a single palm tree in the foreground. Or a wide open prairie with a single horse and rider in the distance.

Here’s a nature photo I took on my iPhone early in the morning while at the beach last summer. Notice how the single subject and the light give this a minimalist look.

Minimalist interior design: Photo of tree branch on a foggy morning at the beach.
Photo by Dan Erickson

If you want to learn more about minimalist interior design, practice photography. Try spending a few hours taking photos of nature, or photos of simple subjects with a spacious background. You’ll be surprised at how this will help you see the world and your home with a more minimalist eye.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with all of your ideas, Dan. I’d also add that you need to keep the decorative clutter to a minimum (knick knacks and such). My home has a few healthy green plants, a few favorite framed photos, and a candle on the dining table that I light every evening. That’s the only stuff on the tables, dressers, desk, etc., and there are only a few, so you can really notice and appreciate what’s there. My kitchen counters aren’t cluttered either — I only have a teakettle on the stove (I use it at least a couple of times a day), a fruit bowl, and an antique spice rack (with fresh herbs and spices!) hanging on the wall.

    1. Yes, I think my #5 point may have been misleading. Too many knick knacks and small pieces of art create a cluttered look. By small, I was referring to necessities and perhaps some art of the rooms are small. I also only keep a tea kettle on the stove most of the time. Sometimes life gets busy and a frying pan winds up on there too.

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