There’s something utterly enchanting about Scandinavian interior design. Maybe it is the neutral color palette, the focus on shapes, and the minimal adornment that captivates us. Light-filled spaces, a blend of contemporary decor with vintage pieces, and nature-inspired accents, Scandinavian style might be your design matchup.
To summarize, Nordic design is simple, minimalist, and a breathtaking connection to nature and modernism. In this guide, you’ll learn about the key elements of Scandinavian design, furnishing pieces, decor, and more.
What is Scandinavian Style?
With roots in the northern countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, Scandinavian design comes from the early-to-mid-20th century. Similar to modernism in Europe, Scandinavia was refining its own aesthetic. One with minimalism, naïveté, and clean lines. For the most part, Scandinavian style is about light spaces, graphic patterns, and a welcoming coziness that only natural elements achieve. In contrast to modern houses, Scandinavian homes include a more eclectic blend of vintage and contemporary pieces to exude a more playful and freestyle attitude.
The Key Elements of Scandinavian Style
Above all, Scandinavian interior design is easily recognizable. Its key elements are worldwide-famous and stand out from other styles. This style’s keyword is hygge, a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable entertainment with wellness feelings. That spirit is present in every Scandinavian-style house and room—from the furnishings to the rugs and lighting, every piece creates hygge.
Scandinavian style is:
- Bright and full of light, white walls and white or light wood floors reflect on the natural light. The decor is minimum, and everything is set to feel open and airy.
- Hygge and creates spaces that feel warm, inviting, and cozy.
- Inspired by nature with plenty of natural woods, wools, plants, and organic shapes to create that nature-feel.
Scandinavian style is not:
- Dark or heavy in any way, while color isn’t off-limits, the balance always tilts toward lighter hues.
- Cluttered or densely decorated, accessories are kept to a minimum, and everything is well-organized.
- From one time-period because it draws inspiration from the past, highlighting vintage pieces while pairing them with contemporary accents.
Colors & Texture
More than any other interior design style, color plays a meaningful role in Scandinavian style. The color palette always gravitates towards crisp, clean whites and pale washes of color. Though more colorful hues do make appearances, mostly in artwork, textiles, and accessories. Great color palettes for Scandinavian spaces include:
- Washed out hues: pale pink, watery blues, and soft greens.
- Contrasting shades: architectural white and matte black.
- Soft neutral tones: putty, beige, dove gray, and sone.
Moreover, texture is how we create hygge. Scandinavian spaces communicate a cozy mood. Touchable textures and natural materials that bring the outdoors in. Sheepskins, furs, knitted throws, woven baskets, and fresh plants are all layered throughout the rooms for warmth and depth. These additions are functional, as well as a stylish textural element.
Though walls and doors aren’t the priority in Scandinavian style, flooring plays a significant role. A key aspiration of Scandinavian style is to maximize light. And, pale wood floors can go a long way toward bouncing that coveted light around. Floors are naturally light-hued woods, including pine and birch. Or, they can be bleached, lime or painted white to create the same effect. This peculiar element separates Scandinavian design from any other movement.
Similar to other powerful interior design movements like the mid-century style and art deco aesthetic, Scandinavian style comes with iconic furniture pieces. Standout furniture pieces like an egg chair, the tulip chair by Eero Saarinen, the model 45 easy chair by Finn Juhl, and the wishbone chair by Hans Wegner transcended the test of time and remain staples in this style. Their take was on organic shapes, curved lines, and simple lines focusing on comfort. Solids are the rule for upholstery, while patterns and textures shine in throws, pillows, rugs, and accessories.
Because decor is minimal and confined, lighting steals the show. Lantern-like linen, paper, or wicker pendant lights are among the top picks. However, whimsical and colorful contemporary lighting design is at the forefront of Scandinavian decor.
Instead of being purely utilitarian, lighting becomes part of the decor, with iconic structural styles to create conversation-starters. As far as artwork, expect to see line drawings, watercolors, and art that celebrates nature somehow. Even still, don’t expect to see much artwork or wall decor in Scandinavian-style homes.
The Scandinavian Style House
Whether purely Scandinavian or blended with other influences like modern or rustic styles, the Scandinavian house is an ode to order. Though questionable sterile, Scandinavian style keeps it hygge through the blend of textures and different hues. But the one element that prevails from room to room is organization, clutter-free, and a sense of openness and airiness.
Don’t expect an elaborate entryway when you step into a Scandinavian home. Only the bare minimum prevails. A sleek console table, perhaps, a pair of woven baskets, and a large mirror to bounce the light from the entryway. These basic elements are more than you need to style a Scandinavian entryway. Depending on space availability, lighting and greenery might complete the look.
Scandinavian Living Room
The living room is minimal yet welcoming and feels almost like an ode to comfort and relaxation. Soft hues blend perfectly with the softening of hard elements and edges with soft textiles and curved furnishings.
The living room is a balancing act between accessories, furniture, and the sensible administration of empty space. With this in mind, the layout gravitates towards a social setting with pieces placed close together without feeling cluttered. If possible, the living room furniture dances around a fireplace or a spot that invites unwinding like a large window. The Scandinavian living room is for lounging, endless conversations, and sipping hot cocoa during cold nights.
Scandinavian Dining Room & Kitchen
For one thing, the Scandinavian kitchen is a chef’s dream come true. Clean, minimal, and without clutter. Notably, natural light and efficient use of space takes priority. Whites and natural woods are predominant, with sleek finishings and smart storage details masterfully hidden from sight. Again, think of sleek cabinets, light woods, modern lighting, and modern appliances.
First of all, the center of attention is by far the bed. The rest is minimum furniture and a few bits of nature to make the Scandinavian bedroom exquisitely tranquil. For these reasons, the bedroom is calming, cozy, and inviting.
First, the key is in balancing the right essentials and nothing more. Natural elements like leather, woods, and greenery add warmth and more layers. Furthermore, texture plays a significant role in the bedroom, used to break through the sterile color palette and infuse the room with personality.
Details of the Scandinavian bedroom will also be sleek nightstands, sometimes even small stools doubling as nightstands. Little effort in lighting, often left to a pendant above the nightstands or by the bedside. Ultimately, artwork is also kept to a minimum, but the centerpiece is the bed. Lush linen, soft sheets, warm throws, and fluffy pillows add texture and round off the otherwise monochromatic Scandinavian bedroom’s coziness look.
Ready to See How Scandinavian Style Looks In Your Home?
Scandinavian style comes from the same design era of modern and mid-century styles. Indeed, you might see cross-inspiration incorporating the different styles. Many of these styles are heavily focused on sleek lines, the attention to detail, and the natural world. Altogether, it is the celebration of raw materials highlighted in furnishings and walls. In a word, Scandinavian style can look classic, warm, minimalistic, traditional, or even futuristic. It all depends on the combination of pieces from different eras and how you combine these elements.
By all means collaborate with our interior designers and learn more about Scandinavian style and how it could work for your home. With Spacejoy’s 3D technology, you’ll be able to visualize and interact with a real-life design concept of your home. Even better, you’ll be able to shop from our platform everything our designers used in your home design. Get ready to see how transitional style looks in your home without ever leaving your house.