Scandinavian style in the interior design

Андрей Прокопенко



Scandinavian style is the embodiment of comfort and serenity, as they are fundamental to the dwelling of northern people. It is appreciated for its functionality and simplicity. Dazzling white is the hallmark of the style, it visually expands the space and fills rooms with light, even on the cloudiest days. Let’s reveal the secrets of Scandi style together and cover some useful tips on how to implement it in the interior.

How to detect Scandinavian style in the interior

Scandinavian interiors are filled with light. This feature became so popular due to the climate of Northern Europe. Winters there are long, cold, and cloudy, so people tried to bring as much light and coziness to the room as possible, and the style is notable for large panoramic windows without curtains. Sometimes they hang transparent tulle on them, but more often they go without it so that the rooms bask in sunlight as much as possible.

The style doesn’t tolerate ostentatious luxury, but to create a design in Scandinavian style, mostly expensive natural materials are used: wood (pine, ash, beech), stone, linen, woolen and cotton fabrics, furs. 

The furniture is as functional as possible, all items are used for the intended purpose. Appliances are made of quality material, so they can serve for 30 years and more.

Main features of the Scandinavian interior style

Scandinavian interior design can be characterized by a set of features:

  1. Simple, but not minimalistic. Try to leave maximum free space in the rooms, but the interior is complemented by a large number of sweet little things: vases, potted plants, baskets, plaids, candles, plates, etc.
  2. Natural materials. Wood, stone, glass, and metal are fundamental in the Scandinavian interior, as they effortlessly help create an organic feeling of coziness.
  3. Neutral colors. In addition to white, this direction also gives preference to light and neutral shades like gray, beige, milky, cream, light brown, ivory. They help create a light and airy space.
  4. Snug textiles and accessories. Soft bedspreads, knitted plaids, pillows, rugs, doormats with ethnic motifs all add coziness and warmth.
  5. Natural elements. Scandinavian style is inspired by the environment, so in the interior, you can see a lot of plants, decorative branches, stones, and compositions of organic materials.
  6. Functional lighting. Commonly used are light lamps, pendant lights, spots, table lamps and candles to provide a cozy atmosphere at any time of day.

Scandinavian style in interior design

Of course, a large house gives more opportunities to create a Scandinavian apartment than a small suite. Spacious layouts are preferable, as they let you combine a kitchen and dining room, a hallway and a living room. For interior decoration, use light-colored wood without finishing. 

Panoramic windows are a huge advantage, sometimes they take up the entire wall. Large window openings allow you to harmoniously combine the surrounding landscape and the interior of the house. 

For cottages’ finishing, you can use monochromatic solutions, with walls and floors painted the same color, sometimes the floor is made contrasting brown or gray.

The large area of the country house lets you place your favorite elements of decor and furniture, everything will find its place: high-tech lamps, wicker baskets, antique sofas, rocking chairs, and a modern built-in kitchen. In the living room or dining room, there is a fireplace or an imitation. 

Principles of Scandinavian design for apartments

In a small area, making repairs in the Scandinavian style is more difficult than in a country house because you need to use different techniques to zone the space and avoid making it too cramped. To limit the zones, open racks and shelves are used. 

Try not to clutter the space. In small rooms, it is great to install transformer furniture: pull-out beds, folding chairs, tabletop-shelves. Instead of a work surface, use the window sill. 

It’s not to place a lot of decorative elements within a small apartment, so stick to 2-3 items: a lamp of unusual shape, a picture, a vase, a houseplant, a mirror.

Walls and floors are decorated in light colors, and as a contrast, you can use blue or green.

Key elements of Scandinavian interiors

When creating a Scandinavian design, you need to carefully select elements that emphasize the style and make it recognizable. 


When laying floors in Scandi style, the material itself is emphasized. Ideally, a natural oak parquet or a three-layer board is used. But in modern variations of design, more often than not, people turn to poured floors, tiles with imitations of the wood texture, laminate, cork. 

To emphasize the organic identity of wooden floors, use elements of copper, iron, stone.


Walls are painted white, light blue, or light gray. In modern interpretations of Scandinavian style, use ombré with a smooth transition from one color to another.

You can also paste light wallpaper with a minimalist pattern or folkloric ornament.

As an accent, one wall can be made of decorative bricks.


Simple furniture is selected, with straight lines but smooth shapes. Tables, chairs, beds, and bookshelves chosen to be made of natural, unpainted, or white-painted wood. Coffee tables can be more on the elegant side: made of glass and metal or massive wood pieces. 

Furniture with high legs is an interesting choice, as it allows you to admire the beautiful natural finish of the floor. Stumps and spiles as furniture are also welcome in the interior.

Stumps and spiles as furniture are also welcome in the interior.

Scandinavian style renovation: a step-by-step guide

  1. Планирование и создание дизайн-проекта. Необходимо продумать зонирование пространства, расстановку мебели и элементов декора.
  2. Демонтаж и подготовка поверхностей. Нужно удалить старое напольное покрытие, сделать стяжку, идеально выровнять стены, особенно, если планируется покраска. 
  3. Проведение электромонтажных и сантехнических работ. Эти работы следует проводить перед укладкой плитки и чистовой отделкой.
  4. Отделка. Выполняются отделочные работы потолка, стен и полов с помощью дерева и других выбранных материалов.
  5. Установка мебели и осветительных приборов. Диваны, столы, стулья размещаются согласно плану, цепляются люстры и светильники, расставляются бра и торшеры.
  6. Декорирование. В помещении развешиваются картины, расставляются вазы, комнатные растения и прочие элементы декора, добавляется текстиль.

How do you design a kitchen in Scandinavian style?

In the Scandinavian-style kitchen, laconism prevails. Modular sets, suspended shelves, and ergonomic work surfaces are chosen. It is acceptable to use wood, glass, and metal. 

The dining table is wooden, of a round or rectangular shape. Chairs can be wooden or metal, coming from a single set or different ones.

The walls are painted white, milk, cream, or ivory. Choose bright green or yellow colors to dilute the light tones.

How to create a Scandinavian-style bedroom

A Scandinavian bedroom is ascetic. A bed with a simple wooden headboard takes the spotlight. Near – set bedside tables and floor lamps in modern or retro design.

The walls are painted white or gray, for accents, use juicy red, yellow, green, and blue shades. You can fix wallpaper with traditional ornaments or photo wallpaper with Scandinavian nature scenes.

As decorations, use colored pillows, potted plants, fancy bedspreads.

Design of the living room in Scandinavian style

The main features of a Scandinavian living room include high ceilings, panoramic windows, a cozy fireplace (its presence is welcomed but, of course, not necessary). Furniture is selected rationally. No bulky cabinets: light, open shelves are more than enough. In the center, make a zone with a soft sofa and a coffee table made of stone, wood, or a combination of glass, wood, or metal.

For walls, choose the following colors: cold and warm shades of white, milk, ivory and whipped cream. They can be combined with blue, pearl gray, light brown.

Decorate the room with paintings in simple frames, live plants, branches, candles, knitted poufs, table lamps, glass, wooden, and metal vases.

Scandinavian style for different rooms of the house

The bathroom in the Scandinavian style household is decorated with white, gray, blueish tiles. To attract some attention, textured plaster, stone, and wood are used. The furniture in the bathroom is simple, wooden. Sanitaryware is limited to a minimum: toilet, shower stall or a bathtub, sink. Preferably, it should be a dazzling white color.

A nursery in Scandinavian style is light and spacious, disposed of creativity. When adding bright elements, make it look like a fairy-tale Norwegian house.

The walls are painted white, gray, or beige. They are decorated with bright, multicolored spots or garlands. One wall can be finished with wood or bear a drawing from the ceiling to the floor.

Furniture is simple: a wooden or metal bed, a table for games and creativity, a closet for things and books, a soft pouf.

Vintage things and old soft and wooden toys blend in with the interior of the nursery.

Scandinavian minimalism in practice

Photos of Scandinavian style minimalism.

History and influence of the Norwegian style in interior design

Scandinavian style was formed after decades of influence from the harsh northern climate with cold, long winters and short daylight hours. The dwelling was made as light as possible. At first, the palette of colors was limited to white only, in the 1980s, designers began using pastel colors and later diversified the range with earthy shades. Today, light blue, violet, and purple shades are in trend.

Furniture and household items were handed down from generation to generation, even today, in the northern people’s housing, we can see great-grandfather’s chests, armchairs, dishes.

The emergence of Scandi style is closely connected with the philosophy of Hygge, which states that the house should be the embodiment of comfort and coziness at any time of the year, a place where one can rest from the daily hustle. This conditioned the appearance of cute and heartwarming things: warm plaids, pillows, poufs, candles.

Light, spacious and cozy houses of Scandinavians are very much loved by Europeans, and now such interiors are common in more southern regions, where there are no long and cold winters.

Tips for introducing Scandinavian elements in the interior

  1. Buy simple furniture made of natural wood, painted white, or covered with matte varnish. 
  2. Let light into the house: remove heavy opaque curtains and drapes and leave light tulle or use Roman blinds. If windows aren’t large, you can achieve better lighting by using mirrors and reflective surfaces.
  3. Make accents with 1-2 brightly colored decor elements.
  4. Put beautiful things on display: lamps, natural compositions, paintings, and antiques, but don’t overload the interior decor. 
  5. Add greenery to the premises: arrange indoor plants and decorate pots with linen, burlap, jute. 
  6. Do not forget to use textile accessories: plaids, pillows, napkins, rugs, fur.

Update Date:13.06.2024



Author of the article

Andrew Prokopenko
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Update Date: 13.06.2024

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