If you’re looking to design your home with a beautiful, minimal, yet practical touch, Dutch design may be your perfect aesthetic. Dutch design is a style that originated in the Netherlands and can be hard to define consistently. It is innovative, modern, minimal, practical, exceptional, beautiful, daring, sophisticated, and a bit unusual. While some of these may seem like opposing characteristics, one thing is for sure—the land that birthed Van Gogh and Rembrandt is sure to offer a worthwhile perspective. In this article, we will explain Dutch minimalism and how you can use the elements of Dutch minimalism and design to improve your home.
What is Dutch Minimalism?
Often confused for Scandinavian design, Dutch design is in a realm all its own. Dutch minimalism is a form of quality and practicality mixed with whimsy and beauty.
In contrast with traditional minimalism, it’s not about minimizing your possessions so that you have fewer belongings. Instead, the focus is on mindful consumption. Choosing to purchase products that are both beautifully simple and undeniably practical.
Put simply: it’s about mindfully adding to your life, not ruthlessly eliminating from it.
5 Ways to Improve Your Home with Dutch Minimalism
With this distinction in mind, let’s explore five ways Dutch design and ultimately, Dutch minimalism can improve your home.
Dutch Design Tip 1: Cozy-up Your Lighting
In the Netherlands, the word, “gezellig” is used to describe the atmosphere of coziness and warmth a thoughtfully curated space emanates. It doesn’t have a direct translation to English, but picture a cozy home with warm lighting, a cat on the windowsill, burning candles, the people you love, and something delicious in the oven that leaves a lingering smell. That feeling of warmth and togetherness, that’s gezellig.
Dutch minimalism can help you curate a gezellig space. One that creates a sense of pride and comfort for you and your guests.
To make it cozy:
- Swap LED or fluorescent lights for a yellower-toned bulb.
- Change basic lamps and built-in lighting for a diffused lamp or chandelier. Ones that softly spread the light instead of beaming a harsh stream.
- Add candles to dark corners (bonus points for a beautiful candlestick holder).
Dutch Design Tip 2: Make it Funky
One of the greatest things about the Netherlands is its tolerance—tolerance for other people, cultures, beliefs, and ideals. This tolerance translates to its design style.
Dutch minimal design is about beauty and function, and these things often combine best in atypical, modern, and eclectic pieces. Don’t be afraid of bold colors, unique designs, and statement pieces. They’ll elevate your home and make it a space all your own.
To make it funky, try:
- Playing with bold colors or atypical shapes in your furniture.
- Mixing and matching complimentary colors.
- Sprinkling your home with pops of your statement color throughout.
Dutch Design Tip 3: Embrace Art
Keeping a minimally and thoughtfully curated home should not stop at furniture. Adding in some meaningful or aesthetically pleasing art can take a home from feeling unfinished to satisfyingly complete.
Look for pieces that:
- Bring about an emotion.
- Use alternative textures (like a painting on tile, stone, or wood, for example).
- Touch on or nod to your home’s signature color(s).
Dutch Design Tip 4: Think Function
Wherever you feel inspired to, be creative and seek function. By making decisions mindfully and creatively, you can find function in places you wouldn’t normally look. A stackable set of mugs that makes storage simple, a bag so beautiful it doubles as a piece of art as it hangs at rest, or a lightweight throw that functions as a scarf on a chilly day.
There are many ways to find function in ordinary decor, here are some places to look for inspiration:
- Does this item fit the aesthetic of the home?
- How many ways could I use it?
- Will it make something in my life easier?
- Can I replace something I already own with this item?
- Is this possibly solving a problem? (Low storage space, for example)
Dutch Design Tip 5: Stay Close to Nature
There are two aspects to the closeness to nature tip: 1) keep it eco-conscious, and 2) bring the outdoors inside where possible.
Here’s a bit on why:
Eco-Conscious Consumers: The Netherlands is a country full of cyclists (fun fact, it is the country with the most cyclists in the world). Because of the outdoor infrastructure, the Dutch spend a lot of time in nature. This, along with other cultural norms, has helped to foster a very eco- and planet-conscious population.
Bringing the Outdoors In: Since the Netherlands is such a rainy country, it’s safe to say that the Dutch have perfected bringing the outdoors inside to enjoy. Just about every home is full of bright green and well-tended plants, windows that are lined with colorful flower boxes, and any available in-home natural light is always maximized.
- Are sustainably sourced,
- Made to last,
- Locally distributed,
- Emphasize natural light (like candles or mirrors),
- Made of natural materials (for example, cork, wood, and stone),
- And help you bring the outdoors inside (such as floral scented candles, flower vases, planter boxes, etc.)
Closing Thoughts: Dutch Minimalism and Design
Finding pieces that speak to you may take time, but a well-curated collection is a long-term goal. To get started, evaluate what you have, find signature pieces to work with over time, be creative in your search, and source responsibly. The joy of the hunt is part of the experience!
Take a look at a few of our favorite Dutch design pieces for your home by clicking here.