Less Is More: How To Bring Minimalism To A Chaotic Bathroom

Would you like your bathroom to be chic, organised and beautiful? If you do, a minimalist bathroom is a great idea. It’s functional, it's attractive and the ideas behind the process can help you transform your entire home, or even your life. It really is a worthwhile journey that goes far beyond a lick of bathroom paint and some anti-mould grout.

What Is Minimalism?

Minimalism emerged in the 50’s as an artistic expression that pushed back against more open and obvious expressions that came before. Minimalist was all about the art and so was reflected in music, design and other areas of life dictated by creativity. It never really applied to decor, although minimal ways of living have often been part of religious and spiritual movements like Buddhism and Christianity. 

Naturally, as the movement showed itself to be appealing in style, it merged into fashion, including decor fashions, and did become part of the style in homes, especially during the 60’s. 

Realistically, that was just the start of the minimalist movement. Visually, it has tied with Scandinavian decor ideals at times, and been applied to other design styles, or simply nurtured as its own set of rules and guidelines. Today, it is part of a wider movement that encompasses the idea that we need to move away from consumerism. We need to move away from having items ‘just because’ or thinking we have to buy the latest this or that. 

There is a lot to it, but the ideas and guidelines behind minimalist decor are a fantastic base for a bathroom refit, or just a quick bathroom improvement exercise.

Why Apply Minimalism To The Bathroom?

The bathroom is a really great starter room for minimalism because:-

  • Bathrooms are often small, so they will benefit from minimal clutter.
  • Because bathrooms are a highly functional room and the more functional they are, the better.
  • Bathrooms can easily become full of many low-cost items that we never use.
  • The area is simple in its uses so applying minimalist concepts to it won’t be too complex.
  • Bathrooms can become cluttered quickly.

Because the space is so compact and simple in how it functions, you don’t have to put too much effort into creating a beautiful, minimalist space that works incredibly well for your whole family.

How Do You Create A Minimalist Bathroom?

The best way to approach minimalist bathroom design is to start with the two main principles of minimalism. You can then apply them to the room, which will bring its own transformation both now and long-term. Here are two minimalist principles and how to apply them to your bathroom:

Rid Yourself Of Needless Possessions

Look around your bathroom at every single item and consider which items you truly *need* in there. It can help to remove everything from the room and look at the items separately from the room itself. From shampoos you planned to try but never did, to those toiletry sets you got for Christmas you know you’ll never use - there’s no need to hang on to them. The 20/20 rule is good for this, which is where if the item is something you could replace for less than $20 dollars in less than 20 minutes you can allow yourself to gift it to a friend or charity. 

For more substantial items, like bathroom furniture, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to house your things after you have cleared through all the bathroom toiletries, old towels, grooming items and so on. Is it possible you have extra storage cabinets and baskets for multiple items that you actually don’t even need? It may be that once you clear everything out, you only need one storage cabinet, rather than excess baskets, drawers and shelves. Once you have removed all the items you don’t need and the furniture you added to house them, you might be surprised just how much space the bathroom has now.

Rid Yourself Of The Urge To Buy Needless Possessions

Your bathroom will only get cluttered and untidy again if you don’t change your habits after you clear it out. 

You should and can buy crafted, high-quality items with intention. A beautiful hand-crafted cabinet, or freestanding drawers made with high-quality materials if selected specifically to house items you need in your bathroom, are great purchases. Even better is a beautiful, working bathroom suite that you take real pleasure in using everyday, and that will last you many years. 

However, novelty plastic plants, new towels you bought just to meet a colour trend or new anti-ageing creams you had to try because everyone else is are all part of the issue of consumerism. That same issue that costs you money without bringing you happiness. 

The key to minimalism is learning to be content with life, not needing stuff in order to be content, and your bathroom should reflect that. 

If you want to learn more about true minimalism concepts The Minimalists YouTube channel has everything you need to learn all about it and how to apply the lifestyle rules to any space in your house, not just your bathroom.

A Few Minimalist Bathroom Decor Ideas To Get You Started…

Of course, minimalism isn’t just a concept, it is a look. In fact, many people find minimalism for the image side of things, but it only ever starts that superficial. You can’t help but get drawn into the lifestyle once you realise the reason minimalism works so well when applied to just about everything.

Despite this depth, though, minimalism is beautiful and works especially well with bathroom design. So if you do want some visual inspiration to help you get stuck into this cleaner, decluttered side of life, here are some minimalist bathroom decor ideas to get you started:

Freestanding Bath, Freeing Extra Space

A freestanding bath as shown in this image can only serve to provide more fluidity with the position of your bath, and therefore the space around it.

Clean Lines & Simple Texture

The bathroom in this image shows how lots of clean lines with the mirror, oblong sink and rectangular bath and stunning grey stone wall can create a minimalist look without sacrificing visual interest and textural depth.

Under Basin Storage For More Space Elsewhere

With a basin on top and not in a unit, storage underneath this can instead be used for other bathroom items, creating more simplicity and space elsewhere.

Plants Bring Joy

Plants do have a place in a minimalist bathroom because they bring us better air quality, joy and something to nurture. We need to feel closer to nature again and the right plants for the bathroom (such as Mother In Laws Tongue, Spider Plants and Pothos) can add visual interest, a sense of purpose and a sense of the greater good with very little space at all.

Minimal Stuff Not Minimal Expression

This bathroom is a great example of how a minimalist bathroom doesn’t have to hold back on expression and personality. You don’t need endless 'stuff' in order to enjoy your bathroom, and your space. You can have colour, beauty and phenomenal aesthetics with powerful and thoughtful minimalist design.

The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.  Elise Boulding, 1920

By seeking inspiration from not only the look of a minimalist bathroom, but the true concepts of minimalism itself, you can have a bathroom that is beautiful, functional and that remains so for many years to come without much work at all.