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Achieving a Scandinavian Interior Design Style


Interior Design Guide

Scandinavian Style



Achieving a Scandi Interior Style


The Scandinavian interior design style emerged in the 1940s and 1950s and as the name suggests, was developed in the Nordic nations of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, where people wanted to bring more warmth and light into their homes during their long cloudy, gray winters. This is why the style has an ingrained sense of cheerfulness and well-edited comfort through the white-walled-loving look that embraces clean lines and simple silhouettes.

Its charm and appeal come from the combination and balance of warmth, simplicity, and contemporary forms, which is both aesthetic and comforting. Light, refreshing colours, clean-lined furnishings and a notable absence of clutter characterize the Scandinavian look. The tendency toward minimal ornamentation within Scandinavian designs is also appealing to those trying to live more with less



Overall Look


The overall look is a simplicity in living. Combining beauty, simplicity and functionality are uniquely suited to emphasize a number of longstanding Scandinavian design features - the most important being its functionality. Favor utility above decoration and simplicity would follow naturally as part of that equation. Simple home environment and uncluttered lifestyle overall, in order to promote the art of living well. The simplicity and functionality in this design have been greatly influenced by the Bauhaus as its strong emphasis – a movement which had been influential for some time in Scandinavian architecture.


Open Plan Spaces


Open plan, windows without window furnishings or simple adornments in natural fabrics, white voiles can be used to cast an even light across the room



Organic & Natural


Homes influenced by the Scandinavian style draw most of their base from nature, with natural finishes on wood furniture, neat stacks of firewood beside efficient little stoves and large doors that can be flung open in good weather. So if you’re going after this style make sure everything you décor with is in harmony with your environment and choose objects that are built to last rather than to be replaced.



Furniture Elements


When it comes to choosing furniture, concentrate on large white pieces of it that draw colour from the coloured cushions and similar small decors around. Many Scandinavian homes seem to follow this general guideline of keeping main furnishings white or pale neutral and switching up the accents seasonally.


Lily Tree BorasTapeter Wallpaper 7229





Follow nature when it comes to choosing the right materials for your furniture or your accessories. Go with organic materials such as leather, metal, plastic, natural textiles (linen, cotton, hemp), and fur, to enhance the authenticity of a Scandinavian space. Use of these simple, straightforward, and honest materials will lend an understated elegance to your place.


Elitis Ecrin Wallpaper


Fabrics & Soft Furnishings


Fabric should be natural fibres, linens, wools, canvases. The colours should be clean and neutral, to keep it interesting mix and match fabrics in complimentary tones and choose fabrics with texture and siple woven designs. Prints if used should be complementary to the Scandi style, natural prints of delicate flowers, ferns and nature, Nordic inspired motifs, block printed pine trees.


Elitis Dolce Lino Fabric


Pure Morris Kindred Weaves Fabrics

Neutral Base Colours


One of the reasons why Scandinavian has such a wide use all over the world is its pure, simple palette of colours. Namely, serene, soothing and restful colours like white, beige and grey are the trademark of the style. You can enrich these with pale and dusky tones that will enhance the Scandinavian minimalism. In order to start right, begin by incorporating a more neutral backdrop such as crisp white walls. These will maximize the light coming in and will give life to any colour splash you might include through ornaments or furniture.


Stronger Colour Accents


Then, feel free to go for bolder tones and accent colours in the accessories and furnishings – it’s the most suitable Scandinavian way to lift your spaces up. For instance, there is a change in rules in Scandinavian recently, where designers are pushing the boundaries of what is considered a traditional Scandinavian colour palette. Now, it is being proven that richer and warmer selection of colours, such as blue, mustard and red are all suitable for this style. People select these colours as part of their furniture selection or within the accessories while still achieving the true Scandinavian style. Don't go overboard with these though, or even try to colour coordinate the room. Instead, add few accent colours and rest assured that they will do the trick of adding interest to a décor scheme.



Maximising Light


Having in mind where this style comes from, bringing forth the light, and maximizing it is one of the most important elements of the style. In order to achieve a truly lighted Scandi look, use a neutral-heavy colour palette with pops of colour, lack of window treatments and carpets, and simple, no-fuss layouts that emphasize the light you have coming in. Furthermore, pale washes of colour on walls and floors, mirrors and glass accents, as well as sheer curtains, willmaximize and reflect light.


Make the most of the light coming in from any windows, keep windowcills clear, window dressings should be simple. A white or off-white voile can be used to cast a diffused light throughout a room. To maximise light further avoid heavy drapes in favour of window blinds or light curtains, or remove the window dressings entirely. 




Lights and candels are a must for Scandi style, they add warmth to a room in the long dark Nordic winter nights. Layer lighting for the maximum effect, mix large floor lamps with table lamps and pendants. Lamp bases should be simple in design, in a simple material wooden, metal or ceramics all work well. Lamp shades should keep to the sampe principles, simple shapes and materials, fabric shades, ceramic, metal or glass. Rise and fall pendants with simple metal shades can be used for focussed light over a kitchen table.





Wallpapers can add warmth and interest to a Scandi inspired interior design room. Designs inspired by nature, or featuring traditional Scandi motifs work well. Geometric prints can also make a good Scandi wallcovering. The colours should be in-keeping with Scanid design principles. Boråstapeter have a range of wallpapers inspired by the prints of the world famous Architect and Designer, Arne Jacobsen, which make the perfect backdrop for a Scandi interior design project.



Rugs and Flooring


When it comes to floors in Scandinavian, forget about the wall to wall carpets. Here more is less applies to this point as well, so a truly Scandi interior should go for hardwood, preferably light floor in all rooms apart from the bathrooms.Variations on this style use pale coloured wood such as pine or birch that help to reflect light. Traditionally, flooring is hardwood and either painted white or left in natural colour. It tones in with walls and furniture giving a sense of light and space.


Little Greene Floor Paint




Since the knick-knacks of the furniture are down to minimal, the ornaments are left to the accessories. If you want to bring some visual interest and warmth through these details make sure to do it in a way that does not disrupt the serenity of the Scandinavian neutrality. Follow the colour guidelines for incorporating accessories into your home and seasonally switch and mix them accordingly. For instance, in winter bring in extra candles, warm knits and fairy lights that will show what Scandinavian is all about.



Inspiration Sources


Minimal, neutral and natural are all keywords when it comes to Scandinavian. When you want an external source of inspiration, something to be inspired by, look for the mid-century period designers like Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen and similar from that time that stand out. Their pieces are just as useful and beautiful today as they were in those periods. 

For further guidance check out our ‘Get the Look’ articles, or for the perfect look, why not use our interior design service, our designers will work with you to create the perfect Scandi look for your home sourcing products from all over the world.