Creating a Minimalist and Functional HDB Kitchen Design with Muji-Inspired Elements

Inspired by Japanese Muji kitchen design? You’re not alone! Muji kitchen design is one of the hottest design trends of the decade and it’s easy to see why. With all of the elegant beauty of minimalism and none of the impracticality, this ultra-adaptable style is timeless and family-friendly.

To help you design the minimalist and functional kitchen of your dreams, let’s take a closer look at this refined Japanese-inspired design trend.

What Is Muji?

Mujirushi Ryōhin, or Muji the name it is now officially known by, is a Japanese brand that has exploded in popularity across the world. The brand’s name is taken from the Japanese words mujirushi, meaning no brand or generic, and ryōhin, meaning good quality product.

The brand got its start at The Seiyu, a major Japanese supermarket chain. The company promised to provide no-frills and functional products at a low price. Rather than skimping on quality, Mujirushi Ryōhinn delivered low prices by reducing waste and advertising.

Within a year, the brand was so successful that they decided to open stand-alone shops. With an extended inventory of household products, food, clothes, and stationery, the first Mujirushi Ryōhin store opened in Tokyo in 1983. Within three years, the popular brand started producing and shipping its products abroad. In 1991, Mujirushi Ryōhin, the first international store location, opened in London.

When the World Fell in Love with Muji

Today, Muji has nearly 600 locations outside of Japan with stores across the world from India to the United Arab Emirates to Canada to France. Meanwhile, the chain continues to be immensely popular in Japan with 328 shops and ​​124 outlets.

During the past few decades, Muji has grown far beyond toothbrushes and pencils. Today the brand operates Café Muji, Muji Campsite, and Meal Muji while working on major collaboration projects like Muji Car and Muji House. Capitalising on the success of its characteristic style, Muji has now opened hotel locations in Beijing and Tokyo.

Muji Home

For the complete Muji design experience at home, Muji has released its own prefabricated house, or “hut” as they call it. The MUJI Hut is ready to find its new home in the mountain, countryside, beach, or just outside in your garden.

This 9m2 space is compact with an outdoor terrace space for four. Its focus is on minimalism and, interestingly enough, the ease of cleaning. The floors were made to be easy to maintain while the entire interior has been created to stand up to humidity. As always in Muji design and style, practicality is at the heart of everything.

What Is Muji Design?

Muji has always been part of the anti-brand movement. Rather than following the trends of fast fashion and disposable style, the brand promotes a timeless aesthetic. It has been defined as a style that is definitively minimalist and inspired by an elegant Bauhaus tone.

Muji style is focused on integrating craftsmanship and local culture while staying true to its core principles of simple, waste-free design. The brand has become so well-known and highly regarded for its look that it began holding the Muji Awards, an international design competition, in 2006. 

Muji Design Style vs Minimalism

While a Muji design style is very much influenced by minimalism, the two styles are not one and the same. Just take it from Kenya Hara, the art director at Muji. “A lot of people think that Muji’s products are very simple, cutting out the heavy decoration and the flamboyant things. But minimalism and simplicity are not Muji’s only features. Muji is always changing and Muji is a huge question I think. Muji is not a trend,” he said.

Beyond merely creating a chic style, functionality and quality are at the heart of every Muji design. While minimalism can remove elements to the point that the space really becomes less comfortable to live in, usability and ease are non-negotiable in a Muji design style.

How to Incorporate Muji Design Style in Your Decor

One of the great things about the Muji design style is that it doesn’t rely on having style elements from a certain brand or incorporating trendy “it” pieces. Instead, Muji allows you to merge together old and new elements of any brand’s collection.

The guiding principle of Muji design is ease of use for the end user.  When you are creating a Muji interior design, at every turn, you should ask yourself: what is functional here? What is the most practical option for the person using this space?

Natural Elements in a Muji Design Style

Muji has always been focused on sustainability and simplicity. They got their start by cutting out waste and unnecessary steps, and they have always stayed true to these founding principles. From a business angle, it was a waste of resources, time, and money. They knew their customers wanted low prices on their everyday goods so they cut out all of the things that were adding to the price tag.

For each product, that means working with raw materials without bothering with bleach and dyes. In every Muji shop, you’ll find natural materials with their original colour and unbleached papers. At home, you can imitate this style with natural materials. Look to those natural stones, raw woods, and unbleached linens. And don’t be afraid to study practical pieces that might not be what you consider minimalistic.  

Practical Muji Design Style

While the dreamy minimalistic flats that you see on social media make it seem like you should have anything and everything tucked away, that is not what Muji design is all about.

In a Muji-inspired home, everything should be easy to access. If something is part of your day-to-day routine, that piece should always be within easy reach.  

The Muji Colour Palette

Muji colours are all inspired by nature. Look to every shade of white and cream and utilise neutral touches of beige, grey, and khaki. Aim to keep the colour palette on the lighter side but not entirely monochrome.

To keep your home livable and breathe life into the design, accent that neutral Muji colour palette with rich earth tones. Look to rich olives, charcoal greys, forest green, navy blues, and other tones and colours from nature. These darker accents will ground the space for a rich, textured look.

Minimalist and Functional HDB Kitchen Design with Muji-Inspired Elements

Muji-inspired kitchens are one of the biggest trends in recent years. A dream blend of affordability, practicality, and timeless elements, these kitchens tick all of the boxes.

Just look at this HDB kitchen remodel at Toa Payoh Lorong 1. The space looks minimal and clean yet entirely family-friendly. The simple earth-tone cabinets are completely void of fussy hardware. The space alternates between warm indirect lighting and strategic overhead lights that can adapt to every mood.

Another smart element is the mobile kitchen island, which can be pulled out to act as an extension of the table or pushed over for a practical extended gallery kitchen.

Down to the small details of the terracotta plant pot to the wine cork art to the wood knife block, everything in this beautiful kitchen was inspired by the natural minimalist aesthetic of Muji. 

Blk 62 Toa Payoh Lorong 1

Love this Muji-inspired kitchen? Check out the rest of this Muji-inspired HDB renovation for more inspiration. From unique nature-inspired bathroom tiles to smart wooden slate hidden storage, this well-appointed property does Muji style well.
Family-Friendly Muji-Inspired Kitchen

For more Muji kitchen inspiration, look at this HDB kitchen renovation at Northshore 413B. The beautiful simple white galley kitchen leads out into a wide-open dining space with a kitchen table and wide island space.

Accented with soft oat and stainless steel elements, the space is comfortably lived in but not cluttered. The wide open spaces have all of the basics readily at hand but leave space to work and play. Unlike some of the more stylish minimalist kitchen designs, it is easy to imagine a young and busy family using this space daily.

Northshore 413B

Experimenting with Minimalist and Functional HDB Kitchen Style

Look at the idea of a chic Muji-inspired kitchen with all of those gorgeous elements of Japanese inimical… but not sold on a white kitchen?  Check out this chic HDB kitchen remodel. Still minimalistic and nature-inspired, the slate grey elements create a rich tone that is often missing from all-white kitchens.

Bold yet adaptable, this Singapore Muji-inspired kitchen is a fresh take on the classic minimal kitchen.

278A Compassvale

Muji Design Checklist

Ready to start planning your Muji-inspired kitchen? Forget about copying and pasting someone else’s style! This high-adaptable style can be customised to your lifestyle and unique taste. By incorporating the key design elements, you can hold onto the effortlessly cool aesthetic you love while making your own. Here is what you need.

  • Clean lines
  • Highly practical, timeless pieces of furniture
  • Adaptable quality pieces
  • Uniform shapes
  • Neutral colours
  • Earth tone accents
  • Natural materials
  • Raw finishes

Getting Started with Small HDB Kitchen Designs

Ready to create your perfect Muji-inspired kitchen? We are here to help! Our Singapore design experts specialise in HDB kitchen redesign and can create your dream home at any size and budget. Chat with one of our designers today for a no-obligation-free conversation about your kitchen options. Contact us online, chat on WhatsApp, or call 9179 5033.