Scandinavian Interior Design: Everything You Need To Know

Scandinavian interior design is peaceful and calm.

It takes a minimalistic approach to design, moving away from complex and cluttered western design styles. Scandinavian interiors are sleek, with wooden elements, straight lines and simple designs.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Scandinavian design and how you can incorporate Scandinavian decor into your own living spaces.

What is Scandinavian Interior Design?

Scandinavian design has the characteristic of minimalism, utilising functional elements over complex and cluttered elements.

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It uses natural elements like wood and leather, as well as natural light to create sophisticated and clean spaces. This design is inspired by nature, simple furnishings, straight lines and a minimalistic colour palette.

The main colours used in Scandinavian interior design are white, black, and colours found in nature. So, expect to see some tan with added pops of colour like botanical prints, sage or light blues. It combines geometric shapes with functional, uncomplicated furniture. Often times it combines an older style with modern, contemporary furnishings.

One key element of Scandinavian interior design is the lack of clutter and simple lines. From architecture to furniture and electronics, nothing in Scandinavian homes is complicated or cluttered.

Have a look at the great range of modern wall art available at Printivart, which is available in a wide range of styles and sizes.

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Scandinavian interior design strips back a room to its bare bones, and then only adds what is necessary.

These are the critical components of Scandinavian interior design:

  • Sleek, straight lines
  • Geometric shapes and patterns
  • Plenty of natural light
  • A space devoid of clutter
  • Minimalistic design and decor
  • Plenty of open space
  • Colours found in nature

Let’s talk about Hygge

Hygge is a key Scandinavian design concept. This term originated in Scandinavian countries and is almost impossible to directly translate. It refers to that feeling of comfort and cosiness, being happy and satisfied. It is a well-known concept in Nordic countries and has encroached into modern interior design.

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Scandinavian design is centred around hygge. The aim is to create a cosy, relaxed room with plenty of comfortable elements like fluffy throws, soft sofas and throw pillows that add texture and warmth to your living room.

Main Features Of Scandinavian Interior Design

1) Lighting must be bright and natural

Scandinavian design celebrates light – both natural and artificial.

It emphasises both natural light as well as lighting sources to create the perfect, cosy atmosphere. Large windows without window treatments flood rooms with light during the day, while carefully layered artificial lighting is used to create a calm atmosphere at night.

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Don’t stick to just one light source – combine table lights with wall sconces and floor lamps. Lighting fixtures must have clean lines and uncomplicated designs.

2) Natural and muted colours

This style depends on a muted colour scheme. White, grey and black are interwoven seamlessly with natural colours like greens, browns and tan. This will give your living space a calm, clean and comfortable atmosphere.

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There is a movement towards a more colourful Nordic design style that uses bolder colours; however, these colours still retain a natural component – like terracotta, rust or jewel tones.

Walls are typically painted white, while colour is incorporated through art, decor or furniture items.

3) Soft textures

Although clean lines and geometric designs are key elements of the Scandinavian style, soft textures bring the whole look together.

Most Scandinavian interiors make use of light wood for the floors, like pine or beech wood. Other soft, natural textiles can also be utilised thought your room, like wool throws or animal hide rugs.

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Layering textures will give your space a warm, cosy feeling. This can be done by adding blankets, rugs, throws and scatter cushions to sleek furniture items. These items not only add warmth and comfort but also softens the overall look of the straight-lined furniture pieces.

4) Play with patterns

Even though colours tend to be muted, it does not mean that patterns cannot be used throughout the design.

Floral, botanical or symmetrical patterns are popular in Scandinavian decor. Patterns can be incorporated through wall art, blankets, rugs or any other accessories you use to decorate your home.

5) Geometric lines

Scandinavian furniture is comprised of basic geometric shapes. Wood and metal are seamlessly combined to create these shapes, especially when it comes to the legs of furniture. The compass shape is very popular with furniture legs – especially tables and chairs.

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Geometric shapes are also used in textile patterns. These patterns are soft – both in terms of fabric and colours – using cotton, linen, fur and suede. Cushions and rugs consist of geometric patterns that compliment the common black and white colouring of the walls and furniture.

6) Greenery

Scandinavian interior decorators will tell you that it is crucial for this design style to bring the outside world indoors through plants and greenery. Plants give rooms a homey feel, provide fresh air, and also bring colour into the space.

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There are many different indoor plants that can be used in Scandinavian design. Popular plants are often those without bright colours, like the Delicious Monster or the Fiddle Leaf Fig.

7) Scandinavian art

Scandinavian art makes use of patterns, black and white ink drawings, and more modern art prints. You can create your own Scandinavian art by printing and framing artistic black and white photographs, using simplistic decor pieces like flower vases, or incorporating light fixtures into the room’s decor.

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8) No clutter

Scandinavian interior design is characterised by a lack of clutter and simple design. It makes use of practical pieces that do not fill up unused spaces. Empty space forms part of the design style, so do not be scared to leave blank areas in your home.

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Pros and Cons of Scandinavian Interior Design

Pros of Scandinavian design

  • Incredibly welcoming and warm design.
  • Feels cosy and comfortable even with minimalist furniture pieces.
  • Uses personal touches like photographs as key decorative elements.
  • Accessories (like lighting, curtains or appliances) form part of the decor.
  • Allows you to play with texture and patterns to create the perfect home.
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Cons of Scandinavian design

  • If clutter builds up, the room will instantly feel claustrophobic.
  • Rooms can quickly feel impersonal and cold due to a lack of colours and decor.
  • Can be a challenge to decorate without proper knowledge of the style.
  • Can easily feel messy if too many different patterns or textiles are combined.
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Final Thoughts

Scandinavian interior design combines comfort, modernism, minimalism and cosiness to create the perfect, inviting space. It makes use of practical furniture and decor pieces while still incorporating beauty and style.

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Decorating a room in Scandinavian style does not have to overwhelm you. Scandinavian home design is about picking your favourite, simplistic items and matching them with other uncomplicated items to create a warm mood.

Scandinavian home decor is characterized by minimalistic designs, bright and airy interiors, and a focus on functionality.

You cannot go wrong with combining natural light, layered artificial lighting, geometric furniture and natural colours. These will result in a comfy, cosy and stylish home.

Further reading: 101 Interior Design Quotes

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