Nordic style: the new version of minimalism?


La Cuisine International


It’s often thought that the Nordic style is a new form of minimalism and the truth is that, although they may seem alike, they are two completely different styles.  We will explain why.

To begin with, the more evident difference is found in their history. The Nordic style was developed in the late 20th century in Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) as a way to replace the low natural light they have most of the year by using light colors. While minimalism began in the late 1960s in the United States as a response to the abusive prevalence of realistic trends and pop art, and with the aim of reducing everything to what is essential.

In line with the above, we have already solved the puzzle. However, there is more to it, as we will explain in this article.

Substantial  and material differences

It’s time to talk about the most frequently used materials in these styles. The foundation of the Nordic style is nature, so the use of  wood  is  key. Likewise, this style is characterized by the use of natural fabrics such as linen, cotton or wool, which are used to dress the spaces of the  home.

The minimalist style does not have these materials as the norm, although they can be used in it. The key to minimalism is precisely to minimize the colors and materials that are used both for the furniture and the decoration, so it’s common to see houses with this style having tables of the same color as the floor or sofas of the same color as the walls. That is, the theme here is not the materials, but the number of things and colors that are used in the spaces.

At this point you may be wondering, why do we get confused about both styles? Well, because white is also used in the Nordic style. However, the latter also includes pastel colors. For that reason, you may frequently see Nordic style homes with tables and floors of the same shade of color, plus plenty of wood, or white walls accompanied by sofas of the same tone or a very similar one.

Although minimalism uses the smallest number of decorative elements possible and the Nordic style does not have a specific standard, the objective of the Nordic style, one that it shares with minimalism, is to convey a sense of more space and that is achieved with fewer objects that interrupt the visual path.


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… and in the kitchen too

The kitchen is the place of the house where both styles seem to be more similar. Both the Nordic style and the minimalist style look for the perfect balance between aesthetic and functionality, between the simplicity of the lines and the small details.

This is when both styles get mixed-up. The Scandinavian style is a very purist style, where light is a high priority. To achieve this, this style emphasizes white kitchens, a color that has always been identified with minimalism.

However, this style dictates that white must be balanced out by combining it with natural wood furniture in light or medium tones to achieve a warm and bright atmosphere as well.

But, unlike the minimalist style, the Nordic style accepts a pinch of madness when it comes to color. So, once you  have achieved the chromatic balance between white and the light woods as protagonists  in a kitchen, a feasible option is to add a touch of color to the coatings, using textiles, pavements or tapestries with geometric motifs, soft lines, pastel colors and playing with black and white. You won’t see all of the above in a minimalist kitchen.

So, you could say that the Nordic style is much more fun, while the minimalist style is more sober. In the Nordic style kitchen you could easily incorporate the  Fab50 refrigerator by Smeg in pink, while in a minimalist style kitchen you will certainly see one made of stainless-steel or from the recessed installation line by Liebherr.

So, after clarifying some doubts, you can already decide which style fits best into your home or kitchen and add a little of your personal charm to create a unique home that is custom-made for your family.


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Bogotá D.C., Colombia

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