3 Ways to Tell if Your Style is Scandinavian or Minimalist

Posted on: May 14th, 2018

Bridge Table

Because Scandinavian and minimalist decorating trends share many similarities, it can be difficult to tell which one is really your style. Many people can unknowingly mix elements of both trends when they are decorating. While this is not the end of the world, it can detract from the unity of the theme and give the room a less cohesive feel. Here are three things you can do to differentiate between Scandinavian and minimalist designs and allow you to choose which one you prefer.

  1. Look at the Inspiration

Minimalist design draws its inspiration from geometric forms. It emphasizes clean, straight lines and no clutter. It comes from a desire to only have absolutely necessary objects in your living space to avoid placing too much value on material possessions. Scandinavian design was born out of a need for the living space to be functional and affordable. Nature is the muse for Scandinavian style. Elements of nature are woven into Scandinavian-style rooms in:

  • Patterns
  • Artwork
  • Textiles used
  • Motifs


Both designs focus on leaving open space and only including the most necessary furniture and decorations.

  1. Consider the Materials

This is usually the easiest way to tell the difference between Scandinavian and minimalist design. Scandinavian style uses things found in nature such as:

  • Stone
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Leather

Haiku Mini

Minimalist style is more focused on modern décor made from synthetic materials including:

  • Chrome
  • Stainless steel
  • Plastics
  • Rubber


Another way Scandinavian design differs from minimalist design is that Scandinavian style is devoted to using sustainable materials that have been recycled, can be reused and were made using ecologically friendly methods.

  1. Ponder the Colors

One characteristic of classic minimalist design is a devotion to a black and white color scheme. While minimalism in modern décor has become more lenient about including other primary colors, traditional minimalist style still holds to the strict black and white colors. The color schemes used in Scandinavian design are also typically limited to one or two colors. Scandinavian and minimalist aesthetics differ in that Scandinavian style usually includes pale shades and earth tones rather than more the more stark primary colors.


Another difference in the colors preferred by these two types of design styles involves the use of light. Minimalist style is satisfied with low lighting and doesn’t go to any trouble to make the most of natural light. The point of Scandinavian design is to maximize natural lighting. The use of pale colors and lack of clutter are ways of allowing the living space to seem as light as possible.

Eddy Chair

Whichever style you choose when decorating your living space, the key with both of these design aesthetics is to prioritize function and eliminate fuss. You can easily begin adapting your place to either of these styles by getting rid of anything bulky or unnecessary.


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