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Scandinavian Interior Design: 8 Best Tips for Creating a Beautiful Space

May 21 2020

Scandinavian design may well have been with us since the 20th century, but it remains as popular as ever! With its mid-century chic, minimalist charm and attention to detail, it graces the cover of interior magazines worldwide, and it promises to stay relevant in the design industry for many years to come. 

It’s an aesthetic that lends itself particularly well to re-interpretation and innovation. Every decade sees a slightly new incarnation of Scandi chic, ensuring the style moves with the times while remaining true to its fundamental values. Today, it’s at the forefront of incorporating eco-savvy design elements into sleek yet cosy decor schemes, and it merges effortlessly with the growing trend towards minimalist living and clean, architectural lines. 

The primary principles of Scandinavian design are simplicity, beauty, cosiness and functionality, celebrating human ingenuity, community and our relationship with nature. A well-executed Scandi interior brings joy and flow into our homes and our lives. Read on for some fool-proof and fail-proof tips for incorporating more Scandi chic in your home!

Make Like Switzerland: Neutral Colour Palette

The hallmark of Scandinavian design is a calming, cohesive colour story throughout the house. Playing with neutral tones such as whites, greys, browns and blacks enables you to keep your scheme harmonious and soothing while layering shades and hues, creating depth. Avoiding clashing combinations and loud colours in the background also means you can get tastefully creative with your furnishings and accessories. 

Wood You Rather 

Wood is an essential element in Scandinavian interiors. The natural world has always been a pillar of traditional Scandinavian lifestyles, and using wood around the home brings aspects of the great outdoors into the comfort of the fireside. Focus on light, warm coloured woods like beech, ash and pine, which you can accent with other sepia-hued touches around the house. Combining your wood detailing with metallic elements is a great way to add a contemporary feel to your Scandi chic. 

Walking on Sunshine

The love of wood extends to the floor as well: wall-to-wall carpeting is a no-go in Scandinavian design! Once more, stick to light, warm woods which you can dress up with rugs, blankets, throws and pillows. 

Mid-Century Chic 

No furniture style marries with Scandinavian design as well as a classic mid-century silhouette. The clean, sleek lines remain organic and create a sense of flow. While each piece might be a beautiful statement in its own right, they all come together to create a harmonious, cohesive ensemble. 

Marriage of Form and Function

With a focus on beauty and functionality, the stars of any Scandinavian interior are those items that achieve the perfect balance between form and function. Storage solutions that are so exquisite they become statement pieces in their own right; furnishings that are so streamlined to their most basic function that they are beautiful; intelligent furniture that performs more than one purpose, and looks good doing it. There’s nothing more satisfying than perfect harmony between form and function.

Advertising Space: Less is More

Simplicity extends from your furniture to what you put in and on it: minimalism and clutter-free living are cornerstones of Scandinavian design principles. If you want your Scandi make-over to be more than skin-deep, Marie Kondo your life while you’re at it. 

Let There Be Light 

Northern Europe is known for short, intense summers and long, dark winters, so light is a hot commodity. Capitalising on natural light with large windows and clear, sheer or absent drapings brings minimalist and neutral interiors to life. Adding clever and warm lighting then creates cosy, inviting and intimate spaces even during dark winter days.

Candlelight is king here. It creates a whimsical, warm atmosphere around the house. Scandinavian interiors often feature candles in the living room, on the dining table and dotted around the house. Fairy lights are another great way to add whimsy and joy to a lighting scheme. 

Textured Textiles

Scandinavian design is likewise characterised by textiles and textures, adding depth to an otherwise minimalist scheme. Not only do sheepskins, chunky knits, textured throws and fluffy pillows keep you warm and cosy in the evening, but they also bring textural elements into your design. Dress your light wood floors with sheepskins, knit, burlap, mohair or tweeds; drape blankets and throws over your sofa and seats; scatter furniture with pillows and enjoy living in your space!