Scandinavian vs. Minimalism

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The world of interior design is full of people looking to define “their style” or design taste. For us, we’re undoubtedly inspired by Scandinavian design, and occaisionally we hear a reference to our work, and others like it, to be minimalistic. But more often than not, we’re both.

Periodically, these terms are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. At first glance, spaces designed with Scandinavian or minimalist influences may look similar, but — as with all things interiors — the difference is in the details.

When those of us in the industry talk about minimalism, we mean design that highlights the architecture of the space and lets that shine above all else. It’s very streamlined, with open spaces and strong nods to industrialism and functionality. It’s a bit more masculine, so you don’t dress things up or hide flaws, and function is still the ultimate focus.

 A great example of Minimalism.  Design:    MG Architects

A great example of Minimalism. Design: MG Architects

But with Scandinavian design, it’s less about the space itself, and more about how you live within it. It’s much more cozy, with a focus on making your space comforting and inviting. Scandinavian design makes use of natural textures and materials to create a space that’s livable.

Scandinavian design makes use of neutral colors like whites and greys, with plenty of natural light to fill the space. This design style is extremely habitable and allows you to have pets and children, to entertain family and friends. It doesn’t get messed up easily, and it can be infinitely more suitable to everyday life.

 This living room shows key elements of Scandinavian design: neutral colors, white walls, warm woods, natural fibers and textures, and an open, airy feel. 

This living room shows key elements of Scandinavian design: neutral colors, white walls, warm woods, natural fibers and textures, and an open, airy feel. 

The main difference between the two comes down to materials. Minimalism makes use of metals like steel and chrome, while Scandinavian design relies on wood alongside woven and softer textures.

At Rethink Design Studio, we design with both in mind. We bring in Scandinavian influences to make spaces livable and inviting with plenty of layers, a use of natural fibers, and a sense of warmth and comfort. But we also bring in nods to minimalism through purist materials and an attention to function.

 While minimalist in it's nature, the warm woods, neutral palette and open floor plan of this living area add just the right touch of Scandinavian design, giving it the perfect balance. For us, the  Workstead Lighting  chandelier and natural prints add just the right touch.   Design: 1100 Architect

While minimalist in it's nature, the warm woods, neutral palette and open floor plan of this living area add just the right touch of Scandinavian design, giving it the perfect balance. For us, the Workstead Lighting chandelier and natural prints add just the right touch.  Design: 1100 Architect

For us, it’s all about designing spaces that are striking in appearance, but still livable and enjoyable. Because we think it’s important to have a space that’s both beautifully designed and functional, in a way that fits your life and all the ways you plan to use it.