The Sophistication of Simplicity

Instantly recognisable for their understated elegance, and warm approach to minimalism.
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September 16, 2019
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The Sophistication of Simplicity

Scandinavian interiors have been emulated the world over for good reason. Instantly recognisable for their understated elegance, and warm approach to minimalism, the homes of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are an expression of the region’s mastery of harmony and balance with one’s surroundings.

This unique synergy with the environment is reflected in some of the most recognizable elements of Scandinavian interior design, from the popularity of natural materials, generous use of indoor flora, lack of clutter, and harnessing of natural light.

Scandinavian style is characterised by three key components: functionality, simplicity, and beauty. Simple in design, clean lines are often incorporated with understated elegance and warm functionality, which creates a very homely feel.
Craig Ritchie, Ikea Interior Design Director

This guiding principle of warm functionality translates into home spaces that are visually beautiful, but also have an air of having been lived in and enjoyed. Scandinavian design hinges upon simplicity and functionality as a facilitator for a tranquil and less-hectic approach to life and this focus is reflected in the openness and flow between different areas of the home. Openness not only contributes to a feeling of continuity throughout the home but also helps to discourage clutter, as spaces are less likely to be filled with excess ‘stuff’ when everything lives in plain sight.

The lack of extraneous clutter in Scandinavian homes is crucial to their aura of serenity. Minimalist design can often read as spartan, industrial, or cold, but the Scandinavian approach errs more toward moderation, with a ‘just-enough’ mindset applied to decoration and furnishing. The resulting rooms feel personal and cosy while maintaining their inviting air of spaciousness.

This uniquely Scandinavian approach to design is mirrored in the Swedish principle of Lagom, meaning ‘just the right amount’. This approach to moderation is based not upon deprivation but rather focuses on filling your life with only the things you need, and dispensing with the peripheral clutter of those you don’t. Everything in moderation.

house interior with a window and table
The idyllic living room of Swedish author and journalist, Ida Mangtorn

The Importance of Light and Balance

The clean, bright whites and muted warm-toned palettes of Nordic homes, are part of what makes them so aesthetically pleasing. In a region known for its long, dark winters, homes have been outfitted to utilise and enhance what natural sunlight is available. Window treatments are minimal and designed to allow as much light into a space as possible. Wall colours are selected with each room’s orientation in mind. Bright, cool-toned whites work well in southern-facing rooms with more natural light, while northern-facing rooms are made cosier with warm-toned shades that mimic the effect of natural sunlight.

Scandinavian homes appear to have dodged the wall-to-wall carpeting epidemic from which the rest of the world is still recovering. Most homes utilise the natural blonde woods common throughout the region, with an occasional plush rug or sheepskin thrown in for warmth.

Accessible Design

Any discussion of Scandinavian design and home furnishings would be remiss without a nod to the beloved furniture store of the people, the almighty Ikea. Ikea as a brand embodies the spirit of Scandinavian design with its commitment to function, style, and accessibility. Ikea was one of the first brands to pair quality and design with true affordability, and as a result, you can find Ikea furniture everywhere from student housing to your mother’s living room.

The philosophy underlying Ikea’s mission is one that resonates strongly with our vision for Minut, and the future of home security. The same principles of function, style, and accessibility are at the heart of what we do, and like Ikea, we seek to challenge the notion that quality, function, and design are a luxury reserved only for the few. By providing affordable home security, we hope to grant everyone access to the feeling of warmth and comfort that only home can bring.