Minimalist interior design: The dos and don’ts of minimalism and some Scandi vibes

21 February 2022

Minimalism is slowly becoming a part of everyone’s life. It feels like a movement taking over the entire world. While luxury and intricacies once ruled everyone’s heart and mind, most people today have taken a liking to simple living and simplicity. Anything additional is distraction or waste for them. In Singapore, it is spreading like a rage, mainly because many homes are smaller here. Hence, nobody wants or tries to add more unnecessarily. It is invigorating to observe how minimalism in interior designs takes various forms, still retaining its relaxing and charming influence that tug at the heartstrings.

There is a particular purpose to minimalism, which is about amplifying the straightforward and serene arrangements. It promotes a no-clutter approach towards simplifying interiors. A few homeowners mistake its simplistic designs for bareness, while at the core of it lucidity and freshness lie. You can take clues from contemporary, mid-century, and Scandinavian themes. Minimalism can combine with any style, but not every design can be so. In this concept, the less is adequate or more than adequate.

If you live in a small Singaporean home, you can also adopt this style to de-clutter your space, moreover, your day-to-day life. However, going this way doesn’t mean your home will have to look monastic. You need to increase the functionality and elegance of your apartment with less. Here are a few basic rules you can follow to achieve maximum effect with minimum efforts.

The no-no part of minimalist interior design

Bulky storage

People often get tempted to throw in everything in their living room and justify their actions by saying where else they can keep their stuff. Or, they think that it’s the central part of their home; hence, everyone would judge their taste based on how this area of their apartment looks. But if you wish to include minimalistic designs, then you have to get rid of this habit. Regardless of the spaciousness, you can make things work for you just the right way. For that, you don’t need large storage spaces or extra furniture. If there isn’t enough room in the living area, you can do away with the TV console and fit the screen on to the wall.

Large-size appliances and cookware

The main idea behind opting for a minimalistic lifestyle should be ease of housekeeping. Kitchen, which, by default, tends to be the messiest part of the home, needs to be in alignment with the simplicity. To begin, you can get rid of all the heavy appliances and cookware so that your countertops can breathe. If there is a stack of magazines in the living room, remove it. The bathrooms should also not have too many makeup items that can clutter the vanity top.

Cramping the space

Generally, people fill their empty area with lots of pieces of furniture. They place one thing besides the other without leaving any room between them. But this theme is about creating and maintaining free space. So not only do you have to decide what furniture you need but also how much gap should be there between the two pieces. Don’t think you can solve this problem by investing in small-size furniture. It can hinder the dimensional arrangement of your floor. Just make sure you buy only necessary items and place them on proper distance.

The many dos of minimalist designs

Only necessary items

The main philosophy of minimalism is to cut down on things that are not a must-have. The focus has to be on functionality with no scope for bells and whistles. However, your requirements can be starkly different from others. For example, others can be happy with a sofa and a coffee table in the living area. But you may need a lounge chair, an artwork, or a few items too. You don’t have to be embarrassed about your choices. But make sure you decide based on what is compulsory and what is not. Some believe that decoration doesn’t have any role to play here. The fact is, whatever is multipurpose can find its place in the design. You can think of ornate mirrors, for instance.

Plenty of natural light

One of the best things about minimalist interior design is that it harps on the necessity of having natural light. That’s why you can find homes designed after this concept to include airy or light curtains mostly. Heavy draperies can block the passage of daylight from traveling through the house, leaving some zones very dark and dull. Also, the inclusion of open floor plans is advantageous for the same reason. In case there isn’t much scope for sunlight, then you can take the help of artificial lighting. Place the lighting fixtures in the recesses, basically hidden from the direct view. Or, you can select various geometric, sleek, or curved shapes too.

Tactile textures

You can increase the visual appeal of an open area by inserting a few textiles here and there. For example, you can use textured curtains and rugs, or natural materials (jute, linen, etc.) on floors, walls, or your furniture. Again, you cannot do this everywhere. Select two or maximum three places where you can add just enough textures. If you desire to create a sophisticated modern look, then softness has to be there in the materials. However, for an intimate ambiance, you can go with the roughness.

Neutral color palette

As it is mostly about being straightforward, your selection of color should also reflect that. White seems to be the standard pick among homes. But it can also have subtle yet strong variations. For example, you can apply creamy white paint for a warmer ambiance, and bright white with a hint of blue for a refreshing flair. However, you don’t need to restrict yourself to only these color schemes when you can experiment with more.

In simple words, you can explore shades of grey and greenery too through paints and accents. Let’s first take up the case of grey. With this shade, you can emphasize on architectural designs of your home effortlessly. For example, the lounge room wall where your TV sits nicely can suddenly come to life with strategic grey highlights. To maintain uniformity, you can use grey tiles in all places. Such lines can create an illusion of spaciousness with ease. Likewise, you can introduce greenery in your minimalist interiors by incorporating lush plants and a few lines of tile and bare concrete.

The options are endless, even though your main agenda is to be simple. As mentioned before, minimalism can seamlessly fit into any style of home interiors, such as Scandinavian, industrial, retro, or something else. But since your interest area can be Scandinavian interior design due to its popularity with Singaporean home, let’s peep into its elements.

How to create a Scandi home?

The Scandinavian interiors tend to be simple, functional, and minimalistic. This style trend started somewhere around the 1950s, but it continues to be everyone’s favorite.  For this, the credit is attributable to its modern concept of utility and simplicity.


You need only basic furniture to do justice to the theme. In this design, natural elements become the highlight. That’s why you can see liberal use of hardwood, wood, and stone throughout the length and breadth of many homes. These materials can transfer sophistication and refinement effortlessly. When you use wood or other such things, make sure to maintain the balance of darker and lighter shades to make the area visually appealing.


Natural light and air are integral to Scandinavian styles. However, if you live in a small HDB flat, there is a chance of not having adequate windows in your home. So maintaining brightness through the daylight can be difficult. But since minimalism is also about maximizing the impact, you can achieve that through smart tricks. You can place mirrors at strategic locations for light to disperse through their surface and reach the entire room. While it increases lighting in the room, it also gives your space a wider appearance.


In Scandinavian interior design, the choice of color scheme plays another critical part. The choice of color can help your home look bigger than its actual size, and also keep it bright throughout the day. Light blue, pale yellow, crisp white, and beige are some of the widely used hues. You can interrupt the lines with the accents to enhance the overall look of your home. Avoid going overboard with the accents to retain the vividness and charm of the design.

It is undeniable that you can do a lot more and achieve more with Scandinavian and minimalistic designs. For this, all you need to do is keep yourself open to ideas.

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