The idea of minimalism may seem new, but it caught on shortly after World War II in Western art. Minimalism is the idea that beauty can be found in simplicity—that less is more, and clutter is the enemy.
In fact, there are studies that show having a clean, simplified workspace can actually influence your mood and productivity throughout the day. But minimalism doesn’t have to stop at your physical desk. Your virtual desktop can also benefit from a minimalist design, starting with a minimalist desktop wallpaper.
Unsplash is one of the go-to sites for any type of wallpaper, but their minimalist desktop wallpaper section truly stands out. Hundreds of simple, straightforward images evoke an atmosphere of productivity, such as a white iPad beside a cup of coffee or a Macbook amidst a pile of leaves.
The majority of the images are high quality photographs, with next to no computer-generated graphics or art to be found. All of the wallpapers are free. You can spice up your desktop without pulling out your wallet.
The images on Unsplash might be minimalistic, but SimpleDesktops takes it to the next level with artistic designs from a variety of contributors. You can find backgrounds that range from a small depiction of Jupiter to a straw hat. Once you find a design you like, you can click the pattern to enlarge it and right-click to save to your system.
You can find backgrounds not only for your desktop, but also for Android and iOS devices. There is even a desktop background manager for Mac devices.
VladStudio is the place to go for weird, somewhat surreal desktop backgrounds that still fit the minimalist criteria. The backgrounds are a bit “busier” than SimpleDesktops or Unsplash, but have a unique charm the other sites don’t match.
If you want a minimalist desktop wallpaper that is a series of different-colored cats or an upside-down cartoon bat, VladStudio is the place to go.
Although there are numerous sources for minimalist desktop wallpapers, most do not provide high enough resolution for clear 4K monitors. Wallpaper Access is the exception. This site has dozens of incredibly high-quality wallpapers in both artistic and realistic styles.
Wallpaper Access is essentially the opposite of Unsplash. While the available wallpapers are high quality, the majority of them are computer generated or artistically created. Many of the wallpapers are based off of popular franchises; in our search, we found wallpapers reminiscent of games like Firewatch and The Witcher.
Wallpapers Den is a great site for finding well over a hundred different wallpapers. If you’re a fan of Marvel, Star Wars, or anime, you can find a wallpaper to fit your interests. The site has everything from South Park to My Hero Academia and more.
Best of all, almost every wallpaper is high enough resolution to fit a 4K monitor—even Retina displays, which make them perfect for Mac users.
Wallpapers Craft has thousands of wallpapers to pick from, but only about a thousand minimalist desktop wallpapers. What truly sets this website apart from the rest is the sheer number of options available to the user. You can sort by resolution from fullscreen, widescreen, and fourteen other resolutions from 3840×2400 to 1280×720. There are also mobile wallpapers to choose from.
The wallpapers themselves are a mixture of graphic art and realistic photographs. If you’re looking for a specific type of wallpaper, you can sort by tags like “dragon” and “summer” to narrow down your options.
Wallpaper Abyss advertises 2,851 minimalist wallpapers. You can find everything from Outrun-style graphics and colors to anime themes. One thing to keep in mind is that nearly everything is a graphic of some kind or another. A quick skim through the site revealed no photographic backgrounds.
While it’s not the best option for people that aren’t a fan of anime or graphic art styles, there are so many options to pick from that it’s worth checking out if you want minimalist backgrounds.
The final entry on this list is Wallpaper Flare, a site that offers a lot of landscapes, animals, and other backgrounds. There’s a good mixture of both graphic and realistic backgrounds to pick from, most of which are in 4K resolution. It also had several unique wallpapers our team did not see on any of the other sites.
If you want to simplify your background and get rid of super-busy wallpapers for something that encourages a bit more productivity, look for a minimalist background. There are a lot to choose from out there, but these eight sites are some of the best options.
What kind of minimalist desktop wallpapers do you like for your desktop? Did we miss any major providers? Let us know in the comments below.