Scandinavian interior design: how to create

Scandinavian interior design: how to create

Scandinavian interior design is renowned for its simplicity, functionality, and understated elegance. Originating from the Nordic countries—Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—this style emphasizes creating a cozy, yet modern living environment. The focus is on clean lines, natural materials, and a minimalist approach that promotes a sense of peace and tranquility.

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Key Features:

  • Simplicity and Functionality: Scandinavian design embraces the principle that form follows function. Every piece of furniture and decor serves a practical purpose while maintaining an aesthetic appeal.
  • Light and Airy Spaces: The style maximizes natural light, which is crucial in the long, dark winters of the Nordic countries. Interiors are bright and open, often featuring large windows and light-colored walls.
  • Connection to Nature: Natural materials such as wood, stone, and wool are prevalent. Plants are also used to bring a touch of nature indoors.
  • Minimalism: Clutter is minimized, and the focus is on a few highquality, well-designed pieces rather than an abundance of items
Scandinavian interior design: how to create
Scandinavian interior design: how to create

When to Use Scandinavian Interior Design
Scandinavian design is ideal for:

  • Small to Medium-Sized Homes and Apartments: Its minimalist nature makes it perfect for smaller spaces where a clutter-free environment is essential.
  • Urban Apartments: The clean, modern aesthetic is well-suited to urban living, where simplicity and functionality are highly valued.
  • Homes with Plenty of Natural Light: This style thrives in environments with abundant natural light, which enhances its bright and airy feel.
  • Functional Family Homes: If you value practical, functional living spaces that are also aesthetically pleasing, Scandinavian design is a great fit

When Not to Use Scandinavian Interior Design
Scandinavian design might not be suitable for:

  • Large, Formal Spaces: The simplicity and minimalism can feel too sparse and underwhelming in large, grand rooms that require more elaborate decor.
  • Spaces Requiring Bold, Dramatic Designs: If you prefer vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and luxurious textures, Scandinavian design may not meet your needs.
  • Historical Homes with Period Details: Homes with intricate architectural details and historical charm might clash with the clean, modern lines of Scandinavian design

Characteristic Colors and Materials

  • Light Colors: White is the dominant color in Scandinavian design, creating a bright and clean canvas. Light grays, soft blues, and muted pastels are also common, contributing to the serene and tranquil atmosphere.
  • Natural Tones: Earthy colors like beige, light brown, and soft greens are used to bring warmth and a natural feel to the space
Scandinavian interior design: how to create


  • Wood: Light woods such as pine, birch, and ash are frequently used in furniture, flooring, and accents. The natural grain and light finish add warmth and texture without overwhelming the space.
  • Natural Textiles: Wool, linen, and cotton are popular choices for rugs, throws, and cushions, providing comfort and a tactile quality. These materials add layers of texture that enhance the coziness of the space.
  • Metal: Subtle metal accents in lighting fixtures, furniture legs, and decor items add a modern touch without overwhelming the natural elements. Metals are often matte or brushed to keep the look soft and understated.
  • Glass: Clear glass is used in light fixtures, coffee tables, and decor to enhance the airy, open feel of the space. Glass surfaces help to reflect light and maintain a sense of openness
Scandinavian interior design: how to create

Decorative Elements:

  • Plants: Adding greenery is essential in Scandinavian design. Plants not only bring life and color to the space but also improve air quality and contribute to the natural, organic feel
Scandinavian interior design: how to create
  • Artwork: Artwork is often minimal and features abstract designs or nature-inspired themes. It is typically framed in simple, clean-lined frames that complement the overall aesthetic
Scandinavian interior design: how to create
  • Lighting: Lighting is crucial in Scandinavian interiors. Floor lamps, pendant lights, and table lamps with clean, modern designs are used to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Candlelight is also a staple, adding a cozy, hygge feel

Compatible Styles
Scandinavian design can be successfully combined with:

  • Minimalist: Both styles emphasize simplicity and functionality, making them a natural pairing
Scandinavian interior design: how to create

Modern: The clean lines and neutral color palettes of modern design complement Scandinavian aesthetics

Scandinavian interior design: how to create
  • Bohemian: A more eclectic take on Scandinavian design can work well with bohemian elements, adding warmth and character through rich textiles and decorative items.
Scandinavian interior design: how to create

Incompatible Styles
Scandinavian design might clash with:

  • Industrial: The raw, rugged elements of industrial design can feel too harsh against the soft, natural materials of Scandinavian design.
  • Maximalist: The minimalistic approach of Scandinavian design is the opposite of maximalist design, which focuses on abundance and boldness.
  • Traditional: The ornate details and rich colors of traditional design can overpower the simplicity of Scandinavian design


Scandinavian interior design is a versatile, functional, and beautiful style that works well in many settings. Its emphasis on simplicity, natural materials, and light colors creates spaces that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. While it pairs well with minimalist and modern styles, it may not suit more elaborate or bold design preferences. By understanding its characteristics and suitable environments, you can effectively incorporate Scandinavian design into your home to create a serene and inviting space.