7 Minimalist House Characteristics That Make the Style Ultra-Chic

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When you think of your dream house, what does the exterior look like? While we often focus on gorgeous interiors on the site, you can't forget about curb appeal either. And we're here to tell you that a minimalist house design can make a lasting impressions.

What is minimalism exactly? The term is largely linked to a late 1950s American art scene of the same name, in which artists focused on geometric forms rather than representational elements. But you can trace some of the style's element as far back as 1919, when the Bauhaus was established. There's also the influence of wabi-sabi and Japanese minimalism. All this led to minimalism morphing into what we loosely know it as today, when it comes to design: clutter-free surfaces, sleek design, and a simple color palette. When it comes to exteriors, minimalist house designs keep things pared-down, rather than incorporating too many stylistic flourishes.

According to Architect, many sources "cite Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as being the first leader of minimalist design." His legacy can be seen in contemporary architects who use "glass, concrete, and the elements to create structures that are elegantly simple." Of course, you can spot minimalist structures that venture outside of these materials, too.

Here are a few examples of minimalist house characteristics to inspire the vision of your next dream house:

1. All White Everything

For this residential space, Nest Architects created a sleek white minimalist house exterior. A front door made of natural materials lends a Scandi-chic vibe; and all-white palette often shows up in many minimalist house designs.

2. Boxy Shapes

If you really want to keep things pared down, a boxy design can do the trick and you'll see this often in pared-down minimalist houses. This Alchemy Architects structure is actually two separate "minimalist open-sided boxes" on a foundation of "board-formed concrete plinths."

3. One With Nature

This is actually Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House, designed and built starting in 1949. It's an iconic structure, and definitely doesn't come with any unnecessary frills or flourishes. Minimalist house designs are often about keeping the focus on nature.

4. Industrial Yet Stylish

This design by MRTN Architects is also about letting the natural landscape shine. It's got a slight industrial edge (minimalists houses often do), but still doesn't have any frills. As the company explains, this is a bach — the "New Zealand term for a family summer house, usually fairly basic in form and simple in finish."

5. Sleek and Sculptural Elements

We love the way the light plays off this sculptural structure. You can stick to all white for the sake of a minimalist look but still play with heights for visual interest. Just because you've got a minimalist house doesn't mean you need to stick to one height.

6. Black and White Minimalism

Minimalism meets monochrome in Julie Van Daele's home and it looks oh-so-polished. The black accents on the minimalist house exterior add another layer while still keeping it simple. Contrast definitely plays a big role in minimalist house design.

7. Shades of the Same Hue

For all our talk about a mostly all-white palette, you can also create a minimal house exterior by playing with shades of the same color. This 2fORM Architecture project is about letting in natural light; again, there's an emphasis on the natural surroundings so the house exterior stays simple yet stylish.


Eva Recinos is an associate editor at Hunker. You can reach her at eva@hunker.com

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