When it comes to interior décor, there are two words that get tossed about a lot. The first is “minimalist”. And the second is “Scandinavian”.

If you’ve heard these words, you may get the feeling that there isn’t much difference between the two. After all, both are about space and simplicity, right? That’s not wrong, but there are significant differences, too.

It’s important to be clear about the similarities and differences between the styles. This will allow you to make an informed decision when it comes to your own interiors. Let’s explore the main features of minimalist and Scandinavian styles, how they resemble each other, and how to tell them apart.

Minimalist and Scandinavian styles

Breaking Down the Minimalist Style

To begin with, consider the wise words of the Scottish writer Richard Holloway. “Simplicity, clarity, singleness are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy,” he once said.

This sentiment is at the heart of minimalism. It’s about giving space to the things we value most and ignoring the rest. It may seem like a paradox, but our lives can be richer if we are not surrounded by a lot of objects.

In interior décor, the minimalist style sprang from similar movements in art and architecture. These, prized functionality over form, with an absence of decoration and clutter.

Minimalist style

A minimalist interior décor will have clean lines and neutral tones. It will have lots of open space and as much natural light as possible. There will be only a few materials from which furniture and other elements will be created. These materials could be natural, or they could even be metal and concrete.

In this way, minimalism makes use of basic geometric forms that are harmoniously arranged. Space and objects complement each other to create a calm and soothing effect. Nothing unnecessary is used.

To sum up, the main characteristics of minimalism are:

  • Utter simplicity in execution.
  • Few internal walls and more open spaces.
  • White and soothing monochrome shades.
  • Simple detailing and straight lines.
  • Functional furniture and accessories, with only those elements essential for comfortable, modern living.

Understanding the Scandinavian Style

The Scandinavian style of interior décor also features clean lines and minimal decoration. It is inspired by nature and the climate of northern Europe.

Scandinavian style

Classic Scandinavian design principles lay emphasis on organic and sustainable materials. It makes use of wood and other such material for flooring, walls, siding and roofing.

The most often used colours are white and cool blues and greys. Sometimes, there are pops of colour provided by rugs and upholstery. Some designers also break the lines with decorative touches such as light fittings.

The Scandinavian style does not sacrifice comfort. Of late, the Nordic concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) is very popular. In interiors, hygge means warm lighting, comfortable fabrics, and soft, relaxing pillows and cushions.

In a nutshell, the Scandinavian style is characterised by:

  • Clean, minimal lines.
  • Natural materials such as wood.
  • An organic and sustainable way of life.
  • A “less is more” attitude.
  • Neutral colour palettes.
  • An emphasis on cosiness and comfort.

The Differences between Minimal and Scandinavian Styles

As we have seen, there is a degree of overlap between minimalism and the Scandinavian style of interior decor. Both of them prefer a decluttered look, open spaces, and clean lines.

However, the two are not identical. Here are the three chief differences between them:

  • In its essence, minimalism springs from a philosophy of letting go. This creates space and simplicity in life. Scandinavian design has a practical side. It is more relaxed and focuses on sensible, uncluttered solutions.
  • Many minimal interiors make use of materials such as metal and concrete to create geometric lines. In contrast, the Scandinavian style emphasises natural materials such as wood.
  • In Scandinavian design, the focus on open space is to create an environment that is soothing, relaxed and a haven to live in. With minimalism, the open spaces express a principle of living with only those objects that are truly necessary.

Minimalist VS Scandinavian Style

Incorporating Minimal and Scandinavian Styles in Your Interiors

There are several ways in which you can make use of minimalism and Scandinavian principles to uplift and refresh your home.

To begin with, a minimalist attitude can make small spaces appear larger. You can get rid of all the furniture and other elements that are unnecessary, and keep only those that are essential. Think of quality pieces that are multi-functional, and invest in storage solutions.

You can also create a limited palette of colours for walls and upholstery. Think whites, creams and greys, for example. This will create a soothing effect like no other.


Minimalist and Scandinavian Style in Interiors

To make your interiors more inviting and comfortable using the principles of hygge, you can incorporate floors and furniture made of light wood. Pair these with other natural elements such as plants.

You can also create cosy nooks with textured, soft cushions and blankets. Make use of as many sources of natural light as you can. When evening falls, you can try candles and dimmed lighting for a warm and restful ambience.

At HomeLane, we’ll be delighted to tell you more about minimal and Scandinavian styles. Our designers will show you how to incorporate these elements into your interiors to make them even more refreshing. Get in touch for a free design session today.

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