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Minimalism in Modern Design

white tile for a modern clean bathroom designIf you’re interested in clean lines, wide open spaces, cutting out the extras and focusing on essential, functional elements in your decor, you may be interested in the latest rage of minimalism in modern design. We often hear the terms modern, contemporary and minimalist when it comes to decorating.  All three terms are popular in interior room and home décor and are often used interchangeably. 

While there is definitely overlap in these three decorating styles, there are differences which give unique characteristics to each style.  Each style focuses on simpler forms and clean, geometric lines with less ornate décor and less traditional furnishings. Let’s review the meaning of modern, contemporary and minimalism to fully understand the similarities and differences in modern design.

Modern Style

Modern design refers to innovations developed from mid-century, modern designers who introduced neutral, white walls, bare flooring and furnishing in white, cream, brown or gray as opposed to the ornate and handcrafted furnishings prior to the 1920’s.  The modern movement focused on simple lines, clean colors and the less is more philosophy. Color is introduced in artwork or small accent furnishings with a pop of red, yellow, blue or orange being the favored color choices.  

While modern is a precursor to both contemporary and minimalism styles, there are some specific trains that make each style unique.

Contemporary Style

Contemporary style refers to clean and fashionable without overdoing it, while also referring to the current trends which are ever changing.  For example, stainless steel and brushed nickel were considered ‘in’ until just recently when we’ve seen gold and brass finishes trending, which could be called contemporary.

Materials used in your décor play a big role in how your space is defined, either as modern or contemporary.  Modern décor may still consist of natural and wood elements while a contemporary style seems to define a more glass and metal material look.

Minimalism in Modern Design

Minimalism is modern design includes elements from modern and contemporary design techniques, with a focus on function and eliminating anything extra.  Minimalism also places extra focus on placing only essential, functional elements in wide open spaces.  This promotes an efficient design, which can still be modern or contemporary.  Some key elements of a minimalist design approach include:


  • Clean lines and open, well-lit spaces – open areas allow an abundance of light to enter the room on clean, light colored and uncluttered spaces.
  • Uncluttered, uncomplicated wall finishes – simple materials which express physical characteristics and visual appeal
  • Simplicity in form and function – straightforward and simple floor layout with stacked spaces for efficiency and less internal walls
  • Simple details with lack of decoration – clean cabinetry without hardware and minimal trim details
  • Strategic use of texture and materials – materials provide a visually appealing texture which looks interesting even with minimal décor and furnishings.


When looking to modernize the look of your home or specific rooms, start with an open mind to reducing waste, decorations and furnishings and focus on the essentials for a minimalistic approach.  Open airy spaces with plenty of natural light and interesting textures will go along way to upgrade your space without going overboard.  Contact your flooring and tile design center for more ideas on using minimalism in modern design for your next project.


Great Western Flooring offers complimentary design consultations to make sure your next project is a raging success. We provide quality flooring and tile products with professional installation. Stop by one of our convenient design centers in Naperville, Oswego or St. Charles to learn more tips on incorporating modern, contemporary or minimalism in modern design techniques.

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