Japanese Minimalist VS Scandinavian Interior Design Styles: A Comparison

adm_oom HDB interior design 21 Jul 2021

Fineline Interior Design


Scandinavian and Japanese Minimalist interior design styles spot highly similar attributes due to their design philosophies. However, they also utilise vastly different elements in their designs. 


Many homeowners in Singapore tend to mistake Scandinavian interior designs for Japanese Minimalist interiors and vice versa. If you’re looking to renovate your home in either of these styles, read on to find out more about their differences and similarities. 


Similarities between Scandinavian and Japanese Minimalist interiors


1. Design Philosophy


Both the Japanese Minimalist and Scandinavian interior design styles prioritise zen and minimalistic living in a cosy space, which is probably why they are highly popular styles in Singapore.


The styles promote a simplistic way of living while putting emphasis on beautiful, exquisite designs, quality and sustainable products, as well as the idea of living in harmony with your environment and blending into it.


2. Natural Light


Japanese-Style Room Divider


Sheer Curtain for Shoji Interior Design


Large windows or Shoji; a traditional Japanese-style room divider, door, or window, are frequently used by architects in Japanese Minimalist renovations to create open and bright spaces while allowing plenty of natural light to flow into the room. Heavy curtains are rarely used; however, sheer and gauzy day curtains are acceptable if necessary.


The same goes for Scandinavian interiors; because Scandinavian countries experience prolonged periods of darkness (known as polar nights), they value daylight and airy, brightly lit homes quite a bit. Sheer curtains are frequently used in the Singapore version of this style to allow light to enter without overheating the room or allowing too much harsh sunlight in.


3. Simplicity


As both interior design styles promote simplistic living, the elements used in both styles often feature unadorned and functional designs. From straight lines to geometric shapes, you will most likely not find any fancy statement pieces or contrasting designs in these homes. Although, we do see a rise in the use of fancier designer pieces in Scandinavian interiors in recent years.


All the pieces of furniture should flow and blend well with one another, making the interior look simple and comfortable to the eye.


Differences between Scandinavian and Japanese Minimalist Interiors


1. Design Philosophy


Apart from having similar design philosophies that put emphasis on simplicity and quality, there is also a slight difference between the philosophies of both design styles. Unlike the Scandinavian interior design style, the Japanese Minimalist design style embraces the idea of imperfection. It is a Zen philosophy concept in which one must learn to accept the world as it is in order to avoid disappointment and stress.


This factor influences how certain elements and materials are used in the design style. A reliable interior designer in Singapore will be able to grasp these concepts well for you when designing your home.


2. Colour


I. Scandinavian Interior Design


Colour variations in Scandinavian homes


In Scandinavian-style homes, an all-white, muted palette is frequently used to make spaces appear more spacious and classy.


Lighter woods are commonly utilised to complement the white and cream colour palette. However, as styles and designs evolve, there are more colour variations in Scandinavian homes, such as the use of blues, greys, browns, and even black.


II. Japanese Minimalist Interior Design


For Japanese Minimalist homes, you’ll find that the most commonly used colours are white, creams and browns as in wooden elements. This is due to the way these colours combine to create a cosy and zen atmosphere.


The Japanese are also excellent at blending natural materials and elements with modernism; by combining bright neutral colours with nature, the space appears spacious and comfortable without sacrificing aesthetics.


3. Furniture


I. Scandinavian Interior Design


Designer Furniture in Scandavian Homes


While geometric shapes and clean lines are preferred in Scandinavian homes, it is not uncommon to occasionally find one or two unique designer furniture pieces in Scandinavian homes as they add character and create a dynamic look to parts of your home. 


Modern-style furniture is also commonly seen in Scandinavian interiors as the modern design philosophy also promotes simplicity and functionality while exuding a sense of classiness.


II. Japanese Minimalist Interior Design


Furniture Made of Wood


Unornamented designs, natural elements, and low-lying furniture are preferred in Japanese Minimalist interiors. Aside from wooden flooring, it is common to see sofas with wooden legs, rattan elements, straw carpets, and other functional furniture made of wood, such as coffee tables. This design style can be thought of as one that features 80% to 90% natural and wooden elements.


They also prefer low bearing furniture to stools and chairs because it allows them to maintain good posture while seated. Incorporate this style into your home by using large coffee tables and create a seating area around them in your dining room with seat cushions on the floor.


4. Plants


Plants are a great way to add a splash of colour to your home; they make a space appear alive and cosy without being too distracting.


Japanese Minimalist interiors


Potted plants with large and massive leaves are preferred in Scandinavian interior design styles, whereas plants with small and subtle leaves such as bonsai trees, ferns, and other plants commonly found in Asia are preferred in Japanese Minimalist interiors.


Now that you’re well-acquainted with all that you need to know about Scandinavian and Japanese Minimalist interiors, it’s time to decide on the one you really fancy. Engage the services of a reliable interior designer in Singapore to assist you in creating beautiful minimalist interiors and renovation projects.