The Scandinavian aesthetic is all the rage in home decor and fashion. The Scandinavian design movement emerged in the 20th century and includes the countries of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. Scandinavian style is characterized by pared-down style, functionality, warmth, clean lines, neutral colors, mid-century designs, understated elegance, and minimalism. While many of the looks feature modern pieces, it can also incorporate rustic, farmhouse, boho, and industrial elements. Recreate the effortlessly cool look in your space — indoors and out — with a few simple updates and on-trend pieces. Here are some easy tips and 10 ways to incorporate the elements of Scandinavian style at home.
1. Start with lighting.
In a place where it’s dark most of the year, lighting is crucial — even if it’s just utilizing the color white to stand out in a darker, more muted color palette. Try a traditional Danish artichoke lamp or pendant light for true throwback to the origins of Scandinavian style. A Scandinavian pendant light will help to define the style and looks great over a dining table or in your bedroom. These lights are similar to mid-century modern lighting and utilizes natural elements such as rope, wicker, or rattan.
2. Utilize clean lines.
Scandinavian style is minimalist by nature, so it only makes sense that form and function are key elements. Think practicality with in both design and usability. The look embraces modern and mid-century modern design by incorporating sleek silhouettes, rounded edges, angular designs, and a neutral color palette.
3. Use natural elements.
The Scandinavian aesthetic sticks to an often-muted color palette but by incorporating natural elements, you get touches of green and wood grain mixed in. Add some plants to bring color and life to your space as well as accents inspired by nature, such as raw wood, cement, rattan, and wicker. For Scandinavian outdoor furniture, try a woven conversation set or sofa.
4. Stick to a neutral color palette.
The most stunning part of Scandinavian style? The minimalist color scheme. If neutrals are your thing, you’ll love this aesthetic. Think grays, creams, white, black, and maybe a touch of blush pink of you’re feeling daring. You can also incorporate greens and blues — anything pairs with those neutral hues.
5. Try a mix of textures.
The look of handmade pieces is a large part of Scandinavian design. From wall hangings with fringe to decorative pillows and woven wicker chairs, you can never have too many different textiles. Frame your space with a woven area rug (yes, even if your space is carpeted). A light, woven area rug helps expand the space and invites more light.
6. Stick to simple decor.
Like other elements in Scandi style, decorative accents are kept simple and minimal. All you need to make a big impact with this look are some ceramic vases, geometric pillows, silk plants, and perhaps a lantern or two —all in a cohesive color palette. When it comes to wall art, don’t cover up those beautiful white or gray walls too much. Just a gallery wall or some large-scale pieces to perfectly emulate a Scandinavian space.
7. Think functional furniture & decor.
We love decor that looks pretty but when it’s style and substance? That’s a major Scandinavian style moment. Nordic-inspired coat racks, clothing racks, lamps, bins, baskets, and shelving serve so much more than just a utilitarian purpose — they also double as pieces of art for your space. Who knew you could love a coat rack so much?
8. Combine wood & metal.
If you don’t have wood flooring, fear not! You can still bring the wood look into chairs, tables, and more. Contrast the rustic vibe of wood with sleek, modern metal finishes. Copper, brass, gold, and silver add a shiny touch and goes along with that mixed textured look that makes a space feel more authentic and layered.
9. Warmth is key.
In Nordic looks, the more textures, the better — especially cozy textiles! Faux fur, knits, wool, mohair, soft cotton — it’s no wonder this cold climate country has such warm decor. The layers of textures make a space more interesting and organic, as well as cozy and inviting. The well-known hygge trend originates from the Danish word acknowledging warmth, charm, well-being, and memories. In addition to layering beds, add candles, make sure you have enough mugs for warm drinks, and plenty of pillows and blankets.
10. Embrace minimalism.
The ultimate Scandinavian style mantra: Less is more with an emphasis on space and light with a clean graphic look. A space free of clutter (easier said than done, we know), well-considered decor, natural wood, a fuss-free color palette, and clean lines with angular shapes will make your home look straight out of a Scandinavian design blog.