The minimalist’s dream.
Instagram’s favorite interior design style.
Soon to be your reality.
It looks easy in the images, why do so many people manage to get it wrong?
Where did Scandinavian Design Originate?
Scandinavian design originated in the 1930s as part of the minimalist movement.
The name Scandinavian Design was given to a design show that traveled throughout America in the mid-fifties with a goal to encourage an alternative style of living.
Design was only one part of a collection of philosophies within Scandinavian design urging for harmony with the environment.
For instance, furniture must last eons without the need for substitutes.
The lifestyle that Scandinavian design emphasized was a minimalist approach which is identified in the furniture too.
Clean lines and simplicity without ornamentation.
Designs are inspired by nature and the land that the materials originate from coupled with exceptional build quality make Scandinavian design style compelling to decor enthusiasts who are just starting out through to the most experienced.
Here at Rooms Solutions, we specialize in helping people conquer their first decor project.
We’re always asked about the features of the Scandinavian style and how they’re used throughout homes.
Never ones to disappoint, we’ve listed them here…
Features of Scandinavian Design
As you’ll see, homes in the Scandinavian style rely on lots of different textures as well as contrasts in colors and muted tones.
All of which results in a modern feel that avoids the clinical feel that many minimalist designs suffer from.
It’s ideal if you’re just starting out and what to make your place to really live in because it’s simple and you don’t have to worry about clashing pieces of furniture or decor.
What’s the first feature?
How to Hygge Your Home
You’ll come across the term hygge as you read more and more about Scandinavian designs.
Take a look at the official definition below…
How can you create cozy?
First off, turn those overhead lights right down, it’s time to create mood lighting.
Light needs to be layered from different areas of the room to construct the calm and relaxing atmosphere that you deserve after a long day at work and getting caught in the rain.
Beware: overhead lighting will overpower the layering effect, it’s the antithesis of cozy.
Multiple lamps positioned in various locations are perfect for producing this dynamic outcome – the shadows are equally as important.
Some people enjoy adding low-intensity colored bulbs to accent the room which is especially valuable in the bedroom or kitchen as accent lighting.
It’s recommended with all interior design styles to purchase dimmers so you’re in complete control.
The next thing you can do is buy some thick knitted blankets to wrap yourself in and create a hygge corner.
What else makes you feel warm on the inside?
It doesn’t have to just be interior related…
If you have a favorite book to read then place it nearby for easy reading.
Natural Light in Scandinavian Homes
Yes, let there be light.
It’s time you stripped everything back, let the sun burst through the windows and kick-start that much needed Vitamin D production.
Scandinavian designs emphasize natural light wherever possible, you may even be tempted to remove everything from your window sills.
Maybe, but the details matter.
If the home or apartment you live in isn’t lucky enough to receive a lot of natural light then this might not be the design style that complements your home.
There are ways around this though…
Let’s start with your understanding of color in Scandinavian design, shall we?
What are Scandinavian colors?
The colors throughout your home will be shades of whites, grays and other neutral tones.
Light colors, as these are, help to make a small room feel much larger than it is which helps if you don’t have a lot of natural light entering through your windows.
Once this base layer of neutral color has been established, including a soft white for the baseboards, you can begin to include darker hues in your textiles, accessories and other furnishings like pillows and throw blankets.
These darker or more adventurous colors are often oceanic blues, mid-tone pinks and forest greens.
Minimalist Scandinavian Interior Design
You’ve seen us talk about Scandinavian homes as being the minimalist’s dream but what does that actually mean?
In this case, think of it as keeping every room simple, clean and only having the most essential items.
If you’re someone that self-identifies as messy and loves hoarding then you’re going to struggle keeping the balance here.
Think you’ve got what it takes?
Make sure you don’t have any items that are overly decorative or ornate.
Here’s another trick…
You’ll win at this style if you buy furniture with multi-functions.
What do we mean by that?
A bench could double up as a storage container and hide away those muddy shoes.
Talking of mud.
Indoor Plants in Scandinavian Homes
Plants are another way to include color and texture to your home.
They’ll liven the place up and, beware, once you start buying plants it’s going to become a habit that you won’t be able to kick.
There are worse things to spend your money on, aren’t there?
Some notable plants that are perfect for Scandinavian design include:
- Ficus elastica
- Ficus exotica
- Dracena Luxe
- Monstera deliciosa
Want to style your plants in a way that enhances your decor?
Read our article on how plants can be used to add a personal touch to your Scandinavian-styled home.
What Type of Wood is Used in Scandinavian Furniture?
Wood is by far the most popular and important material.
There are so many species, it can be confusing to know which you need to choose.
The furniture you have in your home is going to be smooth, sanded down like it’s an art form.
When buying your beds, sofa, tables and chairs, choose the following species:
The furniture is typically made of veneers, thin pieces of wood glued to a core.
Veneers get a bad rep but there are advantages such as being more resistant to the external environment like humidity.
What materials pair with these wood types?
Read on to find out…
Materials in Scandinavian Design
Look for natural materials.
Remember you’re going to combine them with the rest of your wood furniture.
These will be:
You’ll be able to find these no problem, have some fun with it.
Let’s talk more about the furniture, shall we?
Modern Scandinavian Furniture
There are two elements you need to look out for: simple designs and functionality.
No embellishment or intricate designs – traditional Scandinavian homes were small and space needed to be maximized.
Furniture functionality must emphasize freeing up space in your home, each room needs to be as airy and free as possible.
Looking stylish is a must.
Mid-century modern furniture pairs really well with Scandinavian design; they both focus on organic lines which flow to create extra space.
Most large items of furniture sit on hairpin legs, which allows the air to flow right under and light to bounce all around the room, making it feel larger especially when coupled with those light neutral paint colors we mentioned earlier.
What are Scandinavian rugs called?
There are any number of rug options available to you in modern Scandinavian design because of the minimalist base you’re working with.
This is a chance to add a pattern and a touch of color to a room.
Traditional Scandinavian rugs are called Rya rugs, they’re made of wool with a long pile 1-3 inches in length.
You may assume they also have muted color palettes but rya rugs are actually really bold designs, you definitely need to be confident to add one to your home!
What about non-Rya rugs?
The neutral color scheme throughout allows for a variety of styles and patterns:
- Faux sheepskin
- Persian rugs
- Traditional prints
Rugs are perfect for creating hygge.
Scandinavian Design Accessories
Accessories make a home feel more alive, more lived in.
These are the finishing touches to a room, be careful not to overdo it but, if you don’t have any accessories, the place can feel clinical and sterile rather than cozy and hygge.
Here are a few items you could include in your decor.
Mirrors are used a lot in the style as a way of emphasising even more light throughout the room.
The designs you can expect will, again, be clean lines and minimal ornamentation.
You might see a thin frame but that’s it.
It’s not just wall mirrors that light the dark corners of your home up, table mirrors or small mirrors to sit on countertops and window sills.
It doesn’t have to just be ceramic bowls, mugs and plates throughout your home.
Ceramic art will look great.
Having said that, a lot of ceramic tableware is crafted expertly and looks like artwork in its own right so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Candle holders are a gentle way to add soft colors to your living room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom.
Many are transparent glass bowls that hold the candle and emit a lovely hue but you’ll also see some classy candelabras with a modern feel to them.
Who Sells Scandinavian Furniture?
One of the hardest parts of designing a home for the first time is knowing which shops to buy the out-of-this-world pieces from.
No disrespect to Amazon, we promote their items from time-to-time but if you desire an Instagram-worthy house or apartment then you need to browse the stores that specialize in Scandinavian items.
It’d be a criminal offense not to include Ikea but then rest are brands that you don’t normally find unless you dig a bit deeper.
Your friends and family are going to have that decor that these brands sell and that makes them all the more special.
Choose some of the stores below to browse their collections (warning: you may never stop browsing!):
Did you find those useful?
We’re here to help you complete (as if there’s such a thing as finished) your first project in any way we can.