The Scandinavian interior design style emerged in the late 19-th century in the Nordic countries Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland, nations with key historical and cultural similarities, but also lands facing harsh climate challenges, especially in winter. This explains the main concept behind the Scandinavian style applied at building a living space – comfort through simplicity, functionality and harmony.
Modern and practical, pleasing to the eye with its delightful airy ambiance and charming minimal simplicity, this interior style is both individual, as much as universal.
Space. Scandinavian houses are cozy, comfortable and at the same time spacious and bright. The special charm of the style lies in the original layout and carefully planned placement of furniture and decorations.
Scandinavian interiors exhibit abundance of light and pronounced openness of space. There are no complicated transitions, partition walls or other complications. Everything is made simple and easy, with a feeling of airiness. Large windows allow plenty of natural light in, aided by a variety of artificial light sources and large mirrors, and complemented by the typical for the style pale color palette.
Natural materials rule Scandinavian interiors. Wood, glass, natural stone, metal, and natural fiber textile find ample use in structure and furnishings, as much as in décor. Walls can be painted or covered with wallpapers of light colors or by wooden paneling. Floors are left largely uncovered, displaying the magnificent matte and rugged surface of natural materials or laminate.
Color. A Scandinavian interior is all about light. This principle translates in color as palettes of pale, monochrome, pastel and neutral tones, mainly shades of white, beige and grey, but also turning to soft hues of blue, peach, amber and lilac. Black is introduced to create interesting and unusual contrasts, patterns and contours.
There is a trend called the the “New Nordic”, where designers seem to be willing to experiment with different, more lively colors in Scandinavian interiors. Complementing the main neutral palette, new, bolder colors such as terracotta, coral, emerald and vibrant red appear, exhibited in smaller or larger accent elements, adding a new charm and individuality to the traditionally monochrome interiors.
Furniture. Scandinavian-style furniture embodies comfort, convenience and functionality.
Made of wood mostly, but also of plastic, metal and glass, furniture items have solid and strong structure, made to serve and last.
Soft furniture is unquestionably comfortable and features upholstery of natural materials such as cotton, linen, suede, and leather, in natural, neutral colors and, occasionally, pastel tones like light blue, mint or powder pink.
Functionality is paramount. Almost every item in the room is needed for some particular purpose and performs a particular function. Chairs, coffee tables and armchairs often “surprise” with unexpected structures allowing their arrangement in various configurations to better serve the available floor area.
Scandinavian furniture is also characterized by noticeable geometry. Compass legs, for example, are a popular design element applied in chairs, tables, and sideboards, something that has become a hallmark feature of Scandinavian-style furniture.
Finally, because the Scandinavian interior is intended to provide emotional comfort, it’s not unusual to mix old and new furniture items, in order to achieve the desired warm, snuggly contentment of being at home.
Décor. The emphasis in Scandinavian designs is on minimal simplicity, which avoids excessive decoration. Items of strictly decorative purpose are therefore scarce in Nordic homes, and would usually be limited to a couple of live plants in ceramic pots, often hanging in intricately knitted macramé-s, family photos wall gallery compositions displayed in black and white frames, or a few modern prints, mostly in monochromatic or duo-tone color renderings. Stained glass vases, bottles and bowls would occasionally appear on open shelves and side tables, accompanied by scented candles (and lots of those!). And in most cases, windows are left ‘bare’, with no curtains, drapes or shades, to let in as much light from outside, as possible. Everything is kept minimal and simple.
This said, Scandinavian interiors don’t lack any bit of aesthetic elegance! The charming light and airy look, typical for the Scandinavian homes and loved universally, is created through rather functional than purely decorative elements.
Natural fabrics and soft textures play an essential role in creating the cozy Nordic-style décor. Furniture and floors are richly “dressed” with soft sheepskins, furs, wool, or mohair throws, in colors within the traditional for the Scandinavian interiors neutral palette of wool-white, light gray and beige. The soft comfort of the upholstered sofas and beds is complemented by a delightful lot of cushions and throw pillows in vibrant patterns and stronger, contrasting colors, and by soft and warm, chunky knit blankets to snuggle under in cold winter days and nights. Rugs, featuring distinct botanical or geometric patterns against white background, add yet another styling layer.
Lighting fixtures in Scandinavian interiors are works of art by themselves, stunning with unique minimalist, contemporary and, often, futuristic designs.
And while each of these items is there with a particular functional purpose, it also serves as an attractive accessory in the overall décor framework.
Emphasizing a move to simplicity, Scandinavian interior design style is picture perfect, as you will see in our curated collection of houses and apartments. Bringing minimalist efficiency and warm personality into a home, these designs and spaces are guaranteed to help you create big impressions through even the subtlest of moves.