Minimalist Design & Modern Design: What’s the Difference?

Minimalist Design & Modern Design: What’s the Difference
by John Carlucci - September 7, 2022

Modernism and minimalism are currently the two most prominent interior design styles. Both utilize clean lines, natural lighting, and other design elements that can improve comfort, mood, and even productivity. While modern design and minimalist design may share commonalities, they are distinct styles. Below, we explain their distinctions, how they are utilized in interior design, and how you might blend these styles in your home.

What Is Modern Design?

Not to be confused with contemporary design, modern design refers to a certain aesthetic that evolved between the early and mid-20th centuries. It relies on a neutral color scheme comprised of earth tones to create a simple, airy atmosphere. Modern furniture is typically comprised of materials such as metal, wood, and glass, with soft furnishings such as carpets and throw cushions serving as accents rather than focal points.

How to Design a Modern Home

Modern home design stresses the relationship between form and function; therefore, it prioritizes simplicity and comfort. As you begin creating a contemporary environment, there are a few essential elements to keep in mind.

Keep Colors Neutral & Patterns Simple

To incorporate modern interior design into your own house, start with neutral walls and hardwood floors, then choose furniture with clean lines and solid-colored upholstery. Add complexity to the living room and bedrooms with softly patterned throw cushions. To add texture to the kitchen and bathroom, install a basic geometric pattern backsplash.

Keep Colors Neutral & Patterns Simple

Modern interior design is predicated on structure, so choose furniture with clean lines for your modern room. Replace overstuffed armchairs with a sofa with a straight back. Remove the cabinet hardware from your kitchen and replace it with flush cabinets featuring invisible pulls.

Let in Natural Light

Add mirrors to your home to reflect light and create a sense of additional space. Leaving windows unobstructed is a further approach to boost the lighting in your home. Install basic blinds or shades for privacy and temperature control, but avoid heavier window treatments such as curtains and drapes.

Create Focal Points

Place a huge, contemporary painting behind the sofa as a focal point. Install a distinctive light fixture in the dining room. Or, let a single eye-catching piece of furniture take center stage. These additions give your home instant dimension and individuality without being overdone.

Build Around the Basics

You should not bother decorating your home immediately. When creating modern furniture and decor, you should prioritize quality over quantity. Utilize a room's fundamental characteristics to guide your decorating options. Consider adding reflective components, such as mirrors and glazed ceramic vases, to continue the concept throughout the space if you have a beautiful glass-top coffee table, for instance.

What Is Minimalist Design?

Minimalism is a mindset rather than a distinct design style. It adheres to the principle that "less is more" and that the form of a home should serve its function. Similar to contemporary style, the minimalist interior design incorporates clean lines, neutral colors, natural lighting, and utilitarian furniture. But whereas modern design allows for more impromptu ornamentation, minimalist design emphasizes the use of just functional objects.

How to Design a Minimalist Home

Minimalism seeks to minimize waste and maximize meaning. That does not imply you must depersonalize your home, however. Rather, you should concentrate on acquiring furniture and home design that enhances the value of each area. As you begin designing a minimalist environment, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

Declutter Before You Design

Eliminating clutter is the first step in implementing minimalism into your house. Donate, sell, or discard everything you no longer enjoy, need, or use. It is considerably simpler to adhere to a minimalist design approach when you begin with a blank slate.

Think About Function

Before you begin planning, you should consider how you will use each room, as this will determine what you should add. In your corridor, place a console table that can serve as a drop zone. Or add stools to a kitchen island in order to have a place to sit for a quick supper.

Free Up Floor Space

With a minimalist aesthetic, you'll want to maintain rooms' openness and airiness so that they appear larger and cozier. Utilize furniture with exposed legs and wall-mounted floating shelves to maintain the line of sight unobstructed and the floor uncluttered.

Blend Style & Storage

Invest in an ottoman with a concealed compartment for storage. Instead of storing specific pieces of clothing in a dresser, hang them on a Z-rack in your bedroom. Install swing stools beneath your kitchen island for a space-saving and aesthetically pleasing seating solution.

Can Modern Design & Minimalist Design Mix?

Modern interior design and minimalist interior design are frequently combined. Due to the fact that both modernism and minimalism employ comparable design concepts and emphasize form and function, they can be combined effectively when decorating a home.

How to Create a Modern Minimalist Residence

Apply the principles of modern interior design, such as a simple color palette and natural materials, to the minimalist philosophy of "less is more" when combining modern and minimalist home design. As you begin the process of designing a modern minimalist interior, there are a few important factors to bear in mind.

Play with Texture

Place a shaggy, neutral rug on any hardwood floor to warm it up. Use toss cushions to soften armchairs with a rigid design. Or, add dimension to your contemporary dining table with a simple runner.

Use Geometric Furniture

Consider purchasing furniture with geometric forms and clean lines. Choose a square coffee table with exposed legs. Add Eames chairs to the dining or kitchen table. Or, add distinctive shapes and lines into table centerpieces, planters, and picture frames.

Hang Artwork

Install a single huge painting behind the sofa to unify the living area, or hang a few basic prints above the nightstand to provide visual interest to an otherwise plain wall. Though modern minimalist design tends to prefer an unadorned appearance, decor can greatly enhance the appearance of any home.

Decorate with Plants

Whether it's hanging ivy in the dining room, a potted herb garden in the kitchen, or a house plant centerpiece in the living room, greenery is a terrific way to spruce up your home without adding excessive clutter.

Add Personal Touches

Keep in mind that contemporary minimalism is only a starting point. There is nothing wrong with putting your own touch on interior design fundamentals. In fact, interior design professionals encourage allowing your personality to shine through in your house's appearance and atmosphere; therefore, make sure to incorporate personal touches to make your home feel lived-in and comfortable.

While we are on the topic of decorating the house, here's our guide to creative ideas for storage in a baby’s room. Do check it out.


  • John has worked alongside Real Estate Giants across USA and Canada for decades. Since he started Prudentialcal, he has been actively rendering service as business adviser to many companies in the real estate industry. He formed Prudentialcal in hopes of providing the most reliable stories and information there is in the vast industry of real estate

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