Here’s a fun fact: the smartphone you are currently holding in your hand is inspired by the clean and sleek design ideas of minimalism. Minimalism is, in fact, a design movement that has snowballed into lifestyle choice. However, at its core, the minimal interior design style was the beginning of this concept.

With our infamous crunch for space, Singaporeans have embraced minimalist house design quite readily. In fact, interior designers quote the minimalist house interior design to be one of the most popular and asked for styles in the city. So let’s dig a little deeper to understand what the minimal interior design style comprises and how it can be used for your HDB renovation. 

What Is Minimalist Interior Design?

Modern minimalist interior design is one of the most popular styles in Singapore

At its core, interior minimalist design is an attempt to live with fewer things to reduce distractions. In other words, minimalist house interior design strips down your lifestyle (and by effect your home) to its bare essentials. Whatever you have in your home, be it furniture, appliances etc., you must have some use for these items.

The 90 day rule is the bedrock of minimal style interior philosophy. It states that if you have not used something for 90 days, and don’t intend to use it for the next 90 days, you most probably don’t need this item. However, books, collectibles, and heirlooms are exempt from this rule.

Don’t confuse the intent of this reductive style of designing your home with frugality. Though the objects in a minimalist house design might be few, they are often of high value. The purpose of keeping a few numbered items is to be able to focus on the beauty of each item in your minimalist room design.

A Snapshot of the History Behind Minimalist House Design

minimal-interior design-gallery
New National Gallery, Berlin, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Minimalism is not a new philosophy. In fact, it is heavily influenced by the Japanese zen style. This design style takes in its stride concepts like ‘ma’ that stands for empty space, and ‘seijaku’ that stands for stillness. These simplistic principles became influential in the West after World War II. The result was eventually manifested into an American art movement in the 1960s, where it represented a renewed focus on materials. 

Why Is Minimal Interior Design So Popular?

Keeping it simple with blinds instead of curtains for your living room’s interior minimalist design

While the minimal interior design style itself is not a new concept, it is gaining popularity among homeowners and has a lot of reasons to love it. Here are some:

  • Modern minimalist interior design ideas are great for making compact spaces appear bigger in small houses
  • When done right, minimal style interiors can never go out of style
  • Since minimalist house design principles revolve around clean lines and essentials only, you can save money with limited furniture and furnishings. Also note that some furniture under the modern minimalist interior design style can be slightly expensive, so choose wisely.

What Are the Principles of Minimal Interior Design?

Stick to the essentials when it comes to decorating your interior minimalist design

The most obvious way to spot a style is to follow its underlying principles. Thankfully, being a style of few elements, minimalist room design has just a couple of basic design principles that make up its core. 

#1: For Minimal Interior Design, Less Is More

The catch words of minimalism, ‘less is more’, tend to be used somewhat loosely these days. The phase was originally coined by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, iconic German architect, and went on to become the bedrock of this style.

But what do we mean when we say less is more? The focus of modern minimalist interior design is not the furniture, furnishings or accessories (read elements) in a room. The gist of the design philosophy is to curate the things you love and need to create a simple but efficient living experience. 

#2: Minimalist House Design Follows Reductive Design Principles

Reductive design essentially means stripping down a piece to its bare essentials. This is particularly relevant to furniture in minimal interior design. Minimal furniture is basic and without frills. It would be fair to say that form follows function when it comes to furniture. 

#3: Clean and Simple Lines Occupy Interior Minimalist Design

Empty space, in interior minimalist design, is as much of a design element as furniture or accessories. Hence, it favours open layouts that stick to clean and straight lines as well as simple forms. 

What are the Elements of Minimal Interior Design?

Neutral shades are commonly found in modern minimalist interior design

#1: Colour Palette

Just like everything else about minimal style interiors, the colour palette too is basic and neutral. Think whites, nudes, beiges, tan, greys and blacks. 

#2: Patterns

Prints and patterns are conspicuously absent from the scope of design in this style. What we find instead is the use of monochromes, especially in modern minimalist interior design.

Now, there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding monochromes because most people perceive it to be black and white. But actually it refers to a gradation of tones of the same colour to create a semblance of texture.

#3: Materials

Minimal interior design has revived interest in using new and traditional materials. These are some of the materials used in the minimal interior design style:

  • Industrial materials like chrome, steel, glass, and plastic
  • Traditional materials like organic textiles, stone, wood, and ceramics

#4: Textures and Surfaces

With a limited number of colours and no patterns, textures are the last resort to create visual interest. We see a mixture of surfaces that include matte, flat, and reflective. These are combined with wooden tones and natural textiles that are used to add warmth to spaces.

#5: Forms

This style favours simple forms that adhere to clean lines. Typically, there is one statement piece in every room that stands out. The rest are complementary elements woven around this centrepiece. 

In terms of layout, you can go for an open-concept home to prevent your rooms from looking cramped and cluttered.

Common FAQs on How To Get Minimalist House Design Right

Q1: How Do You Decorate a Minimalist Room Design?

A: It is easy to incorporate minimal interior design elements in every room. Let us show you some room-wise examples of how you can do it.

Living Room

This home has a comfy yet luxury minimalist interior design approach to it

Create a laid-back luxury minimalist interior design look with rich shades and finishes. Choose essential furniture that is also functional and sleek. Have no-decor spots in your living room, like behind the sofa. Stick to minimalist decor and let the clean and simple look speak for itself.

Also Read: Stylish Scandinavian or Modest Minimalism?

Dining Room

This HDB’s take on minimalist muji interior design left us stunned

The right amount of quirk in your dining room will go a long way in establishing a good minimalist look. Just like we’ve done here, you can add statement pendant lights or patterned floor tiles to highlight the area.

But, make sure you keep the dining set simple and fuss-free if you’re going for a minimalist muji interior design.

Also Read: 9 Handpicked Dining Rooms That Are Perfect for Every Kind of Home


Sleek handleless cabinetry looks great in a minimal kitchen

When it come to minimal interior design, no home is complete without a clean and distinctively modern kitchen. First and foremost, be sure to allocate the largest portion of your budget here , since you will need the best of cabinetry material. Why? Because the sheer simplicity of modern minimalist interior design shifts the entire focus to the cabinetry. A clean colour palette including white, grey, beige and so on will ensure you get it right.


The only pop of colour here are the pillows

Stick to symmetry, clean lines, simple silhouettes, and sophisticated upholstery. You can always experiment without being too critical about the design and choices, if need be. Notice how we have used white liberally in this bedroom with added pops of colour and soft furnishing like cushions.

Home Office

Using an open layout to create a simple, clutter-free home office

For the home office, keep it functional and simple with respect to furniture. Given that this room is a high traffic area, storage is a priority. Make sure you add at least one cabinet where you can keep away your documents and papers so that the space doesn’t lack storage

Q2: What is the Biggest Challenge of Minimalist Design?

The biggest challenge while using minimalist interior design at home is making the look fall flat. You can get too absorbed in selecting clean and simple patterns and textures. This might result in a dull outcome if you do not add the right pops of colour. Also, form and functionality need to be kept in mind while going minimal.

Q3: What are the Main Elements of Minimal Interior Design?

The main elements of minimalist house design are bare essentials, open layout, clean lines, minimalist furniture, clutter-free surfaces, neutral colours, and simple textures.

How Can You Design Your Home With Minimalist Design?

minimal kitchen-parallel kitchen
Opt for a clean and basic layout to prevent overcrowding
minimal tv unit-white tv unit
Floating storage cabinets can help save floor space

#1: All new HDBs in Singapore now have open living room layouts. However, if you have an older HDB, opt for an open layout. This generally makes the space look larger than it is. 

#2: Stick with a trio of colours per room and play with their tints and shades as required. The use of subtle textures should be prioritised over adding colour. 

#3: Singaporean homes are typically heavy on storage because the space is compact. And while we understand that need, if you want an uncluttered home, we recommend using cleverly concealed options. Under bed or bedside unit storage is very useful in this regard. 

#4: Another option is installing wall-mounted or floating furniture to ensure that you have plenty of floor space. Free space around the floor makes the home look open and roomy. 

#5: Last but not least, never buy anything that you don’t absolutely need. Also, don’t hoard things that you do not use because it can lead to clutter. 

TLDR; Here’s a Summary of Minimal Interior Design for You

Colour palette– The colour palette is unmistakably neutral — consisting of whites, nudes, beiges, tan, greys and blacks
– The trick is to stick to two or three colours for every room; at best relying on different tones of the same colour for some variety
PatternsGiven the sparse approach of this style, prints and patterns are largely absent from interiors
MaterialsThe material library is quite multifaceted. It includes
– Industrial materials like chrome, steel, glass and plastic
– Traditional materials like organic textiles, stone, wood and ceramics
Textures and surfaces– With limited colours and no patterns to play with, fall back on textures to create visual interest
– Surfaces range from matte to flat and reflective
– Wooden tones and textiles are used to add warmth to spaces
Forms– Simple, straight-forward forms with a partiality for clean lines
– A room typically features one stand-out piece and while that can be bold, it still adheres to the principle of simplicity in form
Please scroll to the right for the entire table

Tour this monochromatic home design:

How Can Livspace Help You?

We hope you found our ideas useful! If you are in need of more minimal interior design inspiration, check this out: 67 Sqm Resale HDB Gets a Clean and Minimalist Makeover With Neutral Colours.

Want your home to be just as beautiful? Look no further! Book an online consultation with Livspace today. Have some comments and suggestions you’d like to share with us? We’re all ears. Feel free to write to us at