The seven essentials of Scandinavian design

Updated: Mar 18

Spending more time at home in lockdown has given many of us the chance to look afresh at our surroundings. Many of us are working from home, which has prompted us to look at the place we live.

We want our homes to be an extension of our identity, a way to express our personal style and tastes. This has kickstarted a global passion for new, authentic homeware.

Scandinavian design and hygge

Now, in Scandinavia, where we have traditionally spent a lot of time indoors, especially in the long winters, a special interior design style has developed, emerging as an overall concept. It came to life as a design movement characterized by straightforward designs, natural elements, and a general focus on functionality.

So whether you have an affiliation with Scandinavia or not, the Scandinavian design approach may have something to offer your home.

But what’s the essence of Scandinavian design? See my seven essentials right here:

1.“Less is More” Approach

Simplicity, aesthetics, and functionality are the key principles of Scandinavian design. When these elements come together, something magical can happen. Sometimes this is referred to as ‘minimalism,’ but in my view, that’s not exactly it because the trick is to create beautiful items or spaces and at the same time remaining simple and not overly ornate. Minimalistic can sometimes come across harsh. Scandinavian design is soft!

Less is more, Scandinavian interior

2. Maximize Natural Light

Because it’s dark so much of the year in Scandinavian countries, natural light is an important thing to maximize. If any window treatments are used, translucent ones are favored to let in as much light as possible. Natural lighting makes spaces feel bigger and brighter.

Natural light, Scandinavian interior

3. Open spaces, clean lines

Walls are commonly left pretty bare, and spaces are left relatively sparse to emphasize space. Visual elements like clean lines and white space evoke a sense of calm and capacity.

Open spaces and clean lines, Scandinavian interior

4. Muted Colors

Scandinavian design often uses a very neutral color palette. The nordic design utilizes whites, greys, and tans to make a space feel uniform and bright. You can incorporate accents of blue and other bold colors to personalize your interior. Think neutral and natural, with pops of color.

Muted colors, wood and pops of color - Scandinavian interior

5. Wood and other natural elements

Scandinavian interiors include a lot of wood. Wood is often incorporated into the design of a space.

Light woods such as beech, ash, and pine are typically used most. You can place wooden items (like Little Bird from Normann Cph) as accents. Often we combine the wood with softer materials such as rugs or sheepskin textiles to soften the feel of a room. Whenever you can, use eco-friendly and sustainable materials in your home. Authentic and natural materials complete the style of modern and calm but warm living spaces.

Wood and natural elements, Scandinavian interior

6. Cozy Textiles

Scandinavian design may not use a ton of blankets or pillows to decorate, but the ones that do get included are sure to double as both a functional and cozy provider of warmth, as well as a stylish way to add texture when it’s not used.

Cozy textiles and Hygge, Scandinavian interior


7. Don’t forget to ADD HYGGE!! But you know that already 😀