Despite the two drastically different names, the Scandinavian and minimalist styles often get confused. These two styles are most commonly seen in your IKEA home magazines; as a Swedish company, it would not be surprising to find Scandinavian-inspired rooms from them.

We can all recognise an IKEA room with just a glance. But what if we’re asked to define what the Scandinavian style is? To most people, minimalism is relatively straightforward and easily definable. But what constitutes a Scandinavian style? Did it get inspiration from minimalism — or is it the other way around?

What is Minimalism Style?

First, minimalism involves the concept of “less is more”, where black and white colour schemes are often favoured. It emphasises simplicity and function in furniture, meaning only using furniture that is absolutely needed. More often than not, minimalism features plenty of geometric forms and industrial materials in an open-concept space. The key idea of minimalism is to encourage a simple lifestyle, so clutter is a big no-no.

Minimalist design has influences from both Japanese architecture and Zen philosophy. Although it first started as an art movement, minimalism rose in popularity as an interior design style in the 1980s.

In recent years, this evolved to become wildly popular not just as a design style but as a lifestyle. Possibly due to factors such as fast-paced work and social environments, restricted budgets, or perhaps a desire for more meaning, an increasing number of homeowners are starting to adopt minimalist styles in their homes.

What is the Scandinavian Style?

On the other hand, the Scandinavian style arose somewhere in the 1950s. As its name suggests, it originated from the Nordic region — made up of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Norway.

Since winter days are generally short and the sunlight is scarce during those months, the Scandinavian design aims to capitalise on whatever limited light the region can get. This means that light is a crucial aspect of the style.

Additionally, Scandinavian values include hygge and craftsmanship, with a significant focus on sleek, sustainable and comfortable design. It would therefore not be uncommon to see natural materials and pale colours used in open spaces. Where minimalism uses specific pops of colour, the Scandinavian design would not be afraid to implement soft colours into the room.

These two styles often get mixed up because the Scandinavian design also emphasises the idea of bright, open spaces focusing on the design of the ordinary. It generally does not bother itself with dramatically styling pieces of furniture, appliances, or decor in the room. Instead, it places focus on keeping the space cosy and welcoming.

The Differences between the two

The main difference between the two design styles ultimately is the philosophies involved and the materials used. Minimalist styles would feature plenty of metals such as steel, chrome, and even lacquered surfaces, while Scandinavian styles use organic materials such as wood or woven textures. So in a Scandinavian-styled home, you would not be surprised to find woven baskets, hemp rugs, and the like.

Whether or not you prefer the minimalist style or the Scandinavian style, you can always find something that works for you. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your needs and preferences. In fact, it is even possible to have a blend of the two. With our qualified experts, we can work out what’s best for you and your lifestyle.