Scandinavian Minimalist – Powerful and Meaningful Design

Scandinavian minimalists are focused not only on simple designs and optimization of space and function, but comfort and coziness as well.  This style of minimalism is an ode to the Nordic way of life and landscape, and is a beautiful way to create your living space.

Scandinavian minimalists have created a unique type of minimalist design.  Defined by simple lines, natural light, neutral colors and soft, comfortable touches, the benefits of Scandinavian minimalism include practicality, ease of cleaning, and relaxation.

Are you looking for a way to create a simple living space but with a little color and comfort?  Did you know there’s a difference between modern minimalism and Scandinavian minimalism?

What Is Scandinavian Minimalist?

Scandinavian minimalists are some of the most creative and peaceful people in the world.  Let’s begin by breaking this down into parts: Scandinavia is the region of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.  It’s located in Northern Europe and is overlooked by mountains.  Minimalism is the practice of “less is more”, simplicity, and necessity and can be attributed to homes, wardrobes, decoration, and more. 

Minimalists tend to dislike consumerism and pursue needs rather than wants.  Scandinavian minimalists embrace beauty, practicality, comfort (hygge), space, and zero clutter. It is a design and lifestyle philosophy characterized by simplicity, functionality, clean lines, and a focus on natural materials. Scandinavian minimalism encourages balance and creates a harmonious environment. It aims to create functional, visually appealing spaces supportive of well-being.

Colorful houses in Scandinavia - Scandinavian Minimalist - Gone Minimal
Colorful houses in Scandinavia

Benefits of Scandinavian Minimalism

There are many benefits of Scandinavian minimalism thanks to its simple, uncluttered design and flexibility in creating comfortable spaces:

  • Stylish and practical
  • Easy to keep clean
  • Saves time
  • Relaxing and calm
  • Comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Bright
  • Saves money
  • Less stress
  • Organized

If it seems like the benefits of Scandinavian minimalism are almost identical to modern minimalism, you’re right!  So you’re probably wondering-what is the difference between Scandinavian minimalist and modern minimalist?  Let’s take a look!

What Is the Difference Between Scandinavian Minimalist and Modern Minimalist?

Minimalism-regardless of the origin-focuses on “less is more” as well as practicality and function.  While Scandinavian minimalists and modern minimalists are quite similar, there are a few things that set them apart.  One of the most distinct elements of Scandinavian minimalism is that of comfort.  Winter is a time when the nights are long and dark, so their spaces must be comfortable and warm.  A Danish term often used to describe this style is “hygge”, which loosely translates to coziness or comfort.

Hygge - Scandinavian Minimalist - Gone Minimal

Historically speaking, minimalism came about after World War II to describe art that was comprised of essential structures, and artists started focusing more on objective ways of expressing themselves rather than subjective ways.  This was transferred over to a way of creating furniture, homes, and more out of necessity and inflation.  Now with modern minimalism, we see a great deal of simple and clean lines and only the essentials, which can be pretty utilitarian.  This can feel cold or impersonal to some, rather than comfortable or like home.

Scandinavian minimalists focus on ordinary day-to-day life, natural materials, and relaxed design.  Not as a protest against overconsumption like modern minimalists, but as a simple and practical means to live comfortably as well as efficiently.

The Elements of Scandinavian Minimalism

Just like with any minimalist, there are elements of Scandinavian minimalism that set it apart from others.  Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics:

  • Simple colors including neutrals and soft pastels
  • Natural materials
  • Function over form
  • Uncluttered
  • Eye-catching patterned accents
  • Visible natural wood and stone elements
  • Clean lines and simple designs
  • Natural light
  • Plants and flowers
  • Efficiency and eco-friendly
  • Everything cozy and comfortable (hygge)

Much of these elements can be seen in Scandinavian homes, but just like with modern minimalism there are many areas in which Scandinavian minimalists have left their marks. 

Warm and cozy minimal bedroom - Scandinavian Minimalist - Gone Minimal
Warm and cozy minimal bedroom

Scandinavian minimalists embrace beauty, practicality, comfort (hygge), space, and zero clutter. 

Areas of Scandinavian Minimalist Design

There are multiple areas of Scandinavian minimalist design to look at-it’s not just for your living room!  Let’s look at some specific areas of Scandinavian minimalist design.

Scandinavian Minimalist Interior Design

Interior design is how people optimize rooms in buildings and work with the shape to create a functional space.  Scandinavian minimalist interior design utilizes utility, clean lines, natural light and materials to create warm and inviting as well as comfortable spaces.  Windows with views of nature, open floor plans, and natural wood accents are typical of this style of interior design.

Scandinavian Minimalist Décor

Where interior design is about creating a space with walls and windows, Scandinavian minimalist décor is about putting in pieces that make that space personal.  Playing off the natural light the colors are usually neutral and shades of white or cream to help brighten up the space.  Light fixtures tend to be simple and modern, walls are simply decorated, and there are comfort accents like blankets and pillows.

Scandinavian Minimalist Art

Scandinavian minimalist art is defined by simple lines, geometric shapes, and relaxing designs.  What sets it apart from other minimalist art is the use of color as well as more emphasis on nature.  There are muted versions of grays and blues but also high-contrast with bright colors including oranges and yellows. 

Minimalist painting - Scandinavian Minimalist - Gone Minimal
Minimalist painting

Scandinavian Minimalist House

A Scandinavian minimalist house is very similar to modern minimalist houses, only there is an emphasis on comfort (hygge).  Open spaces that flow, bare essentials, uncluttered walls, and neutral palettes characterize this type of house.  Just add simply designed furniture that serves more than one purpose and focus on function.

The meaning of Hygge - Scandinavian Minimalist - Gone Minimal
The meaning of Hygge

Scandinavian Minimalist Furniture

You probably already know the popular brand here, but Scandinavian minimalist furniture leans on the modern side with simple lines, no flair, and multiple purposes.  This includes tables and benches that double as storage, beds with built-in trundles, and sofas and loveseats made from natural materials.  This style of furniture is simply designed and highly functional.

Scandinavian Minimalist Bedrooms

As with interior design, furniture, and art, Scandinavian minimalist bedrooms are focused on function with comfort added.  These bedrooms are optimized for space and use, with minimal décor and muted colors, and soft fabrics, blankets, and pillows to make it a comfortable space.  You’ll find a low-maintenance plant or two, natural materials, and optimized natural light to make a cozy, homey space to hang out and sleep.

Scandinavian Minimalist Living Rooms

Similar to bedrooms, Scandinavian minimalist living rooms are open, functional spaces with minimal décor and furniture to optimize the design.  The simply designed furniture defines the space and usually has more than one function.  There is a lot of natural light, neutral colors, minimal décor, a plant or two, and comfortable places to sit and be cozy.  Again-emphasis on comfort!

This helpful video gives you tips on how you can decorate with Scandinavian minimal style.

How To Incorporate Scandinavian Minimalist Design Into Your Space

If you like what you’ve seen, perhaps you’re considering incorporating Scandinavian minimalist design into your space?  Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish this:

  1. Take a trip to Scandinavia.  Don’t worry-there’s plenty to see online to be inspired by the beauty and landscape in that region of the world!
  2. Declutter your home.  Donate those items you don’t need or use, or have a garage sale.  Make some room in your space.
  3. Refresh your space with a new coat of paint-something neutral like white or cream to start your palette and make the room bright.
  4. Consider some multi-purpose furniture, like a storage bench that doubles as a seat.
  5. Add comfort-pillows, blankets, etc.
  6. Open curtains or blinds and let in the natural light.
  7. Add a low maintenance plant or two, like a ponytail palm and a snake plant.

Other Resources:

If you were looking for a minimalist style for your living room or bedroom but didn’t want to compromise comfort, Scandinavian minimalist design may be of great benefit to you.  You have seen where you can optimize a space, emphasize function and natural light, and keep things simple-true to minimalist style.  Now you can consider all of the above but with a splash of color, a bit more warmth, and plenty of hygge (comfort)!  What room will you utilize Scandinavian minimalist design in first?

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