Modern Minimalist – Guide to Simple Living in Digital Times

As a minimalist in today’s society, I’m here to tell you that much isn’t required for you to be a minimalist. Minimalism comes down to a perspective and a way of life rather than an outward appearance.

The modern minimalist lives a life of simplicity, meaning they value the present moment and what can be gained in seemingly unimportant events. To them, life is measured by moments and experiences rather than things and material gain. 

While minimalism continues to be a trend across the internet, living day to day as a minimalist looks quite different. This leads to the question, what is it really like to be a minimalist in this modern age? 

What Is a Modern Minimalist?

A modern minimalist is anyone who appreciates and values what they have and understands happiness is not found in external achievement; rather, it is birthed within themselves. 

A Minimalist Woman - Modern Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Woman

Minimalism often paints a stark picture of frugality. Articles and images display monochrome living rooms devoid of color and warmth while saying, “this is how your minimalist living room should look.” At least, that’s how it appears to me. 

Living as a minimalist comes with a host of benefits that not only support the well-being of the individual but it also supports the collective.

I don’t buy it, and neither should you. Modern minimalism is what you make of it; it is a concept that is yours to bend and flex to fit into the mold of your unique life. To be one, you don’t have to conform to the internet’s rules of modern minimalist living. 

If you value and honor your possessions, live an intentional life, and only take what you need and most desire, then you, my friend, are a minimalist. 

Here’s a great video example of what an average day looks like for the modern minimalist: 

Benefits of Modern Minimalism

Living as a minimalist comes with a host of benefits that not only support the well-being of the individual but also support the collective, which includes the Earth and all its inhabitants. In this way, minimalist living creates a ripple effect that could turn the tides of destruction that we could be heading for (minimalism and some other things, of course). 

Some of these benefits include more happiness and peace of mind. A study published by The Journal of Positive Psychology revealed that “voluntary simplicity” consistently correlates with overall well-being. They believe this relationship might be due to “the control of consumption desires and psychological need satisfaction.” 

Furthermore, another study published by the Journal of Positive Psychology shows the correlation between minimalism and meaningful fulfillment. It highlights the core concept of minimalism that leads to greater happiness, focusing on “intrinsic values.” 

Modern minimalism benefits the world at large because it’s a stand against consumerism, which is a leading cause of climate change. By actively choosing to purchase less and being intentional with what one buys, one is doing their small part to help the environment. With everyone doing their share, we can create a cataclysm of change. 

A Woman and Child at a Simple Fruit Stand - Modern Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Woman and Child at a Simple Fruit Stand

Characteristics of Modern Minimalism

While there isn’t a strict definition of modern minimalism, here are some common characteristics a minimalist may:

  1. Honor and value what one has 
  2. Only purchase items that one cherishes and will use daily 
  3. Removes clutter and unnecessary things from one’s life (including beliefs, thought patterns, social media, and physical items) 
  4. Lives intentionally holding true to one’s values 
  5. Respects and honors all living creatures 
  6. Values the wisdom of presence 
  7. Seeks experiences rather than material gain 
  8. Finds joy in day-to-day life 

Areas of Modern Minimalism

While minimalism is largely a perspective one has towards life, it naturally shows itself in all areas of life, including our physical spaces. One of the areas minimalism tangibly shows up is in one’s home design. 

Modern Minimalist Architecture/House Design

Minimalist architecture focuses on simplicity in both form and function. It values large open rooms and windows to allow natural light to illumintate one’s space. The floor and wall design is straightforward and avoids unnecessary walls, curves, or angles. 

While simple in design, minimalist architecture has a subtle elegance, which you’ll find in the fine details of the house design. This includes wall textures, clean, direct lines, and subtle colors. 

A Minimalist Home - Modern Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Home

Modern Minimalist Living Room

This is an area of the home where minimalist design can vary and stretch depending on the homeowner’s or interior designer’s creative expression. That being said, there is a common focus on neutral or warm colors, minimal clutter, and beautiful yet unassuming decore. 

One thing I’ve noticed in many minimalist living rooms is the presence of plants and natural light. These features touch on the basic principles of minimalism, which is honoring what matters most in life. Plants sustain life, so bringing them into your home is a daily reminder to live simply and find what brings you joy. If you would like more inspiration on minimalist living room decor ideas, Pinterest is a great resource to use. 

Modern Minimalist Kitchen

Clean, clutter-free countertops and simple decorations come to mind when I think of the modern minimalist kitchen. There is a focus on organized drawers, solid colored utensils, and a labeled pantry. 

While minimalism is largely a perspective one has towards life, it naturally shows itself in all areas of life, including our physical spaces.

While the design of a minimalist kitchen is simple and clutter-free, you can still be creative and stylish in your decore. Better yet, find artistic decor that also serves a purpose. For example, I have a few mason jars full of herbal blends on my countertops. They look beautiful on the granite countertop, but they also serve a purpose because they hold my tea. 

A Minimalist Kitchen - Modern Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Kitchen

Modern Minimalist Bedroom

The possibilities of designing a minimalist bedroom are endless. Much like the living room, this is an area where you are free to be as creative as you’d like in your design. As long as you keep the basic principles of little to no clutter and value spaciousness, you’ll have the tools to create the perfect minimalist bedroom.  

If you would like more ideas on how to decorate a minimalist bedroom, Pinterest is a great resource. But, remember: your bedroom (and any room in your house) is a space for YOU to feel good. Let your creative expression shine when it comes to designing your bedroom. Don’t let the google images of minimalist bedrooms sidetrack you from what you really want to create. 

Modern Minimalist Furniture

As a minimalist, you’ll want to choose furniture that is neutral in color and simple in design. Colors like beige, cream white, or grey are great choices. If you want to add more color, you can always add a colored throw blanket or colorful pillows to the neutral-colored couch or chair. 

If you want to stay true to minimalist design, you’ll want to avoid super bright colors, such as anything neon. However, your home is yours to design, so choose what makes you feel best. More than anything, choose furniture that is comfortable and affordable. Only choose what is necessary; too much furniture can make your space feel crowded and cluttered. 

A Minimalist Table - Modern Minimalist - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Table

Related Insights

Is minimalism going out of style?

Because minimalism is an ancient concept that has been around for centuries, the core principles of minimalism aren’t going anywhere. Perhaps the trend may fade, but true minimalism will live on whether or not it’s “in style.”

Why is minimalist design so popular?

I believe people are tired of the clutter and unnecessary things. People want a space that feels relaxing and inspiring, which minimalist design can achieve. 

What is a modern minimalist?

A modern minimalist embraces the principles of minimalism in the context of contemporary life. This involves intentionally simplifying one’s life and reducing unnecessary distractions and possessions to focus on what truly matters. A modern minimalist seeks to create a balanced and fulfilling life by letting go of excess and unnecessary clutter, both physical and mental.

The Room Real People Would Change to a Modern Minimalist Room

Because minimalist design is so popular, I was curious if any of my friends or family have a room or two in their home they would like to change to a modern minimalist room. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned about how real people use minimalist design.

33% of people polled wanted to change their bedroom to a modern minimalist style
22% of people polled wanted to change their living room to a modern minimalist style
22% of people polled wanted to change their kitchen to a modern minimalist style
11% of people polled wanted to change their workshop to a modern minimalist style
11% of people polled did not want to change any room to a modern minimalist style
The Room Real People Would Like To Change to a Modern Minimalist Style

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

Minimalism is what you make of it; thus it looks different for everyone. As long as you live a life that you love and are intentional with how you live it, you will find yourself living as a minimalist. This inspires the question: what does minimalism look like to you?

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