Welcome to the world of Scandinavian-inspired home design, where simplicity meets functionality and timeless style reigns supreme. Whether you’ve been a long-time resident of Rochester, NY, craving a fresh look, or you’re moving into a small apartment in Orlando, FL, the Scandinavian home design style is here to simplify, declutter, and breathe new life into your space.
In this Redfin article, we’ve gathered expert tips and insights to guide you on your journey to creating a Scandinavian-inspired home. Get ready to embrace the principles of Lagom, connect with nature, and embark on a journey of minimalism, functionality, and timeless style. Let’s dive into the art of Scandinavian design and unlock the secrets to achieving a bright, airy, and harmonious living environment.
1. The first steps to designing Scandinavian home
The first step to achieving this look is scaling back and decluttering. Get rid of knick-knacks and start with a fresh palette. Paint the walls white, replace dark hardwood floors with white oak floorboards, and begin layering in quality furniture pieces. I personally enjoy mixing old with new,” instructs Popix Designs.
“Picture a new cloud sofa paired with a pair of vintage Hans Wegner armchairs, reupholstered in a light striped linen fabric. Add a cream-colored wool rug, a leather ottoman, and a simple oak coffee table, and you have the organic ingredients for a Scandinavian living room.”
2. Remember: Scandinavian design is a lifestyle choice
“It’s important to remember that Scandinavian design extends beyond mere aesthetics – it represents a way of life. It fosters comfort, conviviality, and above all, a profound connection with nature,” says LA LUMIERE.
“To embrace Scandinavian design, prioritize harmony in your home. Blend natural materials to create a warm and soothing atmosphere. Embrace simplicity, functionality, and brightness. Use soft lighting, clean-lined furniture, and curated greenery to bring the minimalist Nordic spirit to life.”
3. Find a balance between personal expression and simplicity
“While many appreciate and admire the simplicity and functionality that defines Scandinavian design, to some, it may appear cold or even intimidating. If a subdued color palette doesn’t resonate with you, you can add a playful pop of color through textiles, artwork, accessories, and furniture accents. Just remember, the key is to strike a balance,” recommends Uniek Living. “
“The combination of rising housing costs, urbanization, and increased awareness of the environmental impact of larger homes has resulted in smaller living spaces becoming more prevalent in the US. Scandinavian design is perfectly suited for these spaces. Its minimalist approach helps create an open and airy feel, giving the illusion of a larger space.”
4. Use nature as a guiding principle in your journey to achieving Nordic style
“Choose a few, long-lasting objects that bring you joy as your guiding principle. For me, art and nature serve as the most significant influences, resulting in sculptural yet functional furniture and lights crafted from natural and renewable materials,” suggests Motarasu.
5. Swap mass-produced furniture for Mid-Century artisanal pieces
“Contemporary Scandinavian-inspired furniture is extremely popular and mass-produced. Break free from a cookie-cutter look by including one or two real mid-century period pieces or furniture from boutique artisans that speak to your interests,” suggests Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search.
6. Scandinavian designs can be found from high-end brands and affordable options
“Explore Scandinavian-branded products like Ferm Living, MENU, and Bloomingville, as well as local and affordable options like IKEA, Wayfair, or H&M Home,” recommends Simple Design Life. “You might be surprised to find Scandinavian-styled goods in unexpected stores like Walmart, Lowe’s, or Fred Meyer.”
7. Simple, easy ways to start incorporating Nordic style in every room
“Lightly stained wood, a boucle accent chair, textured pottery, and a couple of green plants are among my favorite elements for creating a bright and airy space,” says Design to Build. “However, my absolute favorite aspect of Scandinavian design is the incorporation of greenery. I firmly believe that every room benefits from a touch of green, which can be easily achieved by introducing a houseplant or two. Not only do plants add visual interest, but they also infuse life and inspiration into a space, making it feel cozy and inviting.”
8. Embrace natural material in your Scandinavian home design
“When people are trying to emulate a Scandi look in their homes, they usually focus on clean lines and minimalism,” says Steve Vickers, co-founder of Routes North Travel Guide.
“But the choice of materials is also very important. By embracing natural materials like pine and birch, and shunning artificial alternatives, you can quickly create calm spaces that look, feel, and even smell distinctly Scandinavian.”
9. Lagom elegance: Embracing Scandinavian design with intentional cozy accents
“Scandinavian design can be incorporated into your home in various ways, either as the main aesthetic or in combination with eclectic styles. A key term I use to describe Scandinavian design is ‘intentional,’ as it involves thoughtful consideration of furniture, product function, and style,” shares Olson House.
“One simple way to bring Scandinavian design into your home is by combining items such as furniture pieces with natural finishes and clean lines. Complement these with cozy and playful accents like fluffy blankets, unique pillows, artwork, and accessories, placed with the Swedish concept of ‘lagom,’ meaning ‘just enough.’
For instance, I have combined a design project featuring a stunning collection of Middle Eastern rugs and antiques from world travels with clean, modern wooden furniture from Finland, complemented by soft and cheerful wall paint, minimalist window treatments, carefully placed modern accents, and fresh lighting. The result is a balanced, bright, and cozy home.”
10. Have a few accent pieces that break out from muted colors
“From our experience, being minimalist doesn’t mean being boring. Rather than settling for an empty room, evoke a feeling of home with one or two accent pieces that tell a symbolic story of identity or place,” recommends Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search.
11. Designs that foster a closer connection with nature
“We carefully consider the limited 75 square feet of space in our campervans to create inviting, open, and cozy environments for our guests. This carefully curated design approach can serve as inspiration for creating inviting, simplistic, and cozy environments in a Scandinavian inspired home,” shares Noma Camper Van Rentals.
“For example, for our Adventure Van we specifically opted for a Scandinavian style to enhance this vision and foster a closer connection with nature. Seamless poplar ceilings lend a natural and elongated feel to the space, while extensive lighting, birch countertops, and hickory floors contribute to a sense of openness. Natural green cabinet paint seamlessly blends with the surrounding landscape, and black hexagon shower tiles, paired with crisp white grout lines, establish a refreshing atmosphere and provide much-needed contrast.”
Courtesy of Noma Camper Van Rentals
12. Unique ways to add texture while still maintaining simplicity
“Scandinavian interiors are all about textures. Keep them subtle and monotone, or seek a pop of color to draw the eye. Quilts and rugs look amazing hung on the wall and will absorb sound, making for a tranquil space,” recommends Well Made.
“A successful Scandinavian interior is all about visual simplicity, but that doesn’t have to mean boring. Simple, clean lines should intersect with textures. Overlap items and create depth. Display some photos, books, or even vinyl. It’s a hallmark of a well-curated home.”
13. Natural light: The essence of Scandinavian design
“Maximize natural light in your space to embody the Scandinavian philosophy,” states interior designer and architect Julio Arco from Bark and Chase. “Let in as much daylight as possible with large windows and strategically place mirrors to multiply this light. Blend natural materials and textures, such as wood and wool, to add warmth and depth against the simplicity of the design.”
“Achieving Scandinavian design isn’t merely about aesthetics but fostering a sense of tranquility and connection with nature. Let natural light be your guide, let simplicity dictate your choices, and let the charm of minimalism and functionality take center stage in your living space.”
14. Furniture and materials that add warmth into your design
“Embrace the beauty of clean lines, simplicity, and minimal ornamentation when selecting furniture. By using a calming neutral color palette of whites, grays, and light wood tones, you can establish a serene ambiance that welcomes tranquility into your home,” recommends Stockhomed.
“To infuse warmth and coziness, don’t forget to incorporate natural materials like wood, leather, and wool, and be adventurous by combining different textures to add depth and visual interest.
Imagine the magic of natural materials like wood, leather, wool, and linen coming together, blending intricate details with a touch of simplicity.”
15. Look for opportunities to include natural wood and plants in your space
“I love Scandinavian home decor styles because they bring in minimalism and functionality without losing the beauty of decorating,” shares City Girl Meets Farm Boy. “You can create a simple open shelf in any space that brings in wood elements, combined with kitchen items that are used on a daily basis. Add some greenery to the space for color and texture. Neutral colors such as white, cream, black, gray, and blue work so well in a space that is trying to achieve this style.”
16. Play with color, texture, and materials
“Natural materials play a crucial role in Scandinavian design. Light-colored woods like oak and ash for furniture, flooring, and accents create a warm and inviting atmosphere. These materials are often left untreated or finished with a soap or an oil to highlight their natural beauty. You can also include natural materials such as linen, wool, jute, or leather,” suggests Prevalent Projects.
“Start with a neutral color palette as the foundation of your design. Whites, grays, and muted tones dominate the aesthetic, creating a sense of calmness. These subdued hues serve as a backdrop for occasional pops of color, often seen in accent pieces or artwork, which bring a touch of vibrancy to the overall composition. Don’t be afraid to bring in darker pieces as well, they might serve to anchor the room.
Add layers and textures to create a warm and pleasing atmosphere. Use soft rugs, plush throws, and pillows made from natural materials and interesting weaves. We love to add Moroccan Rugs as a pop of color in the space.
Incorporate various lighting sources to create a warm ambiance. Use pendant lights, floor lamps, and table lamps strategically to illuminate different areas of the room. Opt for warm or neutral light bulbs. Maximize natural light by keeping windows unobstructed and using light-colored window coverings.
Display a few carefully selected accessories that add character and personality to your space. Add pops of color. Use organic forms and avoid excessive ornamentation. Keep your space clutter free.”