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Two of today’s most popular interior design styles are also the ones that are highly similar and always confused for one another. They are none other than the Scandinavian interior design and Muji interior design. Both styles have captured a lot of attention for their airy, minimal and homely interiors, especially in Singapore, where homes are quickly becoming smaller. 

What is so special about both design styles and what exactly are their differences? Find out more below.

Design Philosophy

Both Scandinavian and Muji interior design styles emphasise simplicity and functionality, with design elements kept to a minimum so that they complement each other in the space while serving their purpose.

Homes designed with either interior styles will not contain furniture or items that are redundant and not useful. Even furnishing the home with a small decorative item would require thoughtful consideration; it should be an essential part of the decor and capable of changing the way the space looks before it would be placed in the home. 

Their differences, however, are significant. 

The Scandinavian interior design style is relatively new, having emerged in the early 1900s. It is a modernistic style that incorporates modern and contemporary elements. The Muji interior design, on the other hand, has a lot of historical significance, with the Japanese culture and zen lifestyle influencing the philosophy of the Muji interior design style. 

As the zen lifestyle is a way of living with awareness and mindfulness, where imperfection is embraced and serenity and high-quality living are prioritised, you’d notice a lot of natural materials as well as the presence of raw elements to some extent.


Muji interior design colours

The colours used in Muji interior design styles are often neutral colours, topped with temperate and modest tones such as brown, beige, cream colours, and natural wood colours because the Japanese zen lifestyle puts emphasis on serene and calm interiors. Vibrant and contrasting colours would make the home look complex and loud to the eye, which isn’t very calming for the mind. 

Scandinavian interior design colours

Conversely, colours used in Scandinavian interiors can be highly contrasting as long as they complement each other and are balanced out with a neutral background such as white, grey, or cream. Some colour combinations we’ve seen include yellow and blue against a grey backdrop, as well as turquoise, green, and beige against a cool white backdrop.

Another difference between both styles that is always overlooked is the choice of wood tones. Muji interiors are typically renovated with whitish-wood flooring, paired with medium-brown wooden furniture, whereas Scandinavian interiors would usually be laid with medium-brown wooden floors, paired with whitish wooden furniture. This, however, is subject to change based on homeowners’ preferences. You don’t have to follow everything exactly to achieve a Muji or Scandinavian interior. 


Muji Interior Design Furniture

In terms of furniture styling, Muji interiors often feature more natural, raw-looking materials such as cotton, linen, wood, and rattan as opposed to Scandinavian interiors, which feature a lot of sleek and clean-looking furniture.

The Muji interior design style typically requires a lot more wooden carpentry work; its philosophy also prioritises quality and practical furniture with very uniform designs of linear and simple geometric shapes that can be easily adapted to suit changing needs.

Scandinavian Interior Design Furniture

On the contrary, the Scandinavian style would allow you to plug and play with loose furniture pieces of various materials as long as they adhere to the same simple and functional principles. Accent pieces of furniture can also be found in Scandinavian homes on occasion, but not in Muji interiors. 

While homeowners often confuse one home decor style with another, it isn’t wrong and you shouldn’t worry too much about it because eventually, your home should be decorated in a style that you love and is most comfortable for you. Elements from both Muji and Scandinavian interior design styles can even be merged together to form a home that you really like. 

From design ideation, spatial and layout planning, renovation, customised furniture and fixture construction to purchasing furniture and accessories, we bring your dream homes to fruition. At Starry Homestead, we believe in first understanding your lifestyle, needs and dreams before creating  your ideal home. Thinking of renovating your home? Contact us today to speak to one of our experienced interior designers in Singapore.