What is Scandinavian design?

You probably have heard about the “Scandinavian style” before in terms of home design and decor. But do you know what exactly it stands for? Do you know where it comes from and what are the typical characteristics of a gorgeous Scandinavian design?

I personally love this simple, calm and toned-down type of design for a house, especially during Winter. I do like different styles depending on my mood, but this particular design never seems to disappoint. This is the perfect interior decoration for people with busy lives, who would need a little bubble of relaxation and positive energy.

As you can easily guess, the “Scandinavian style” comes from the… Scandinavian countries! (What a surprise, right?) These countries include Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Finland. As the winter was very long in these countries and the day very short in consequence, Scandinavian people had the genius idea to bring the brightness inside the homes to compensate with the dark, depressing and cold winters outside. We all need our dose of sunshine and brightness to feel happy and full of energy. By being deprived of these, they came up with the idea to recreate this warmth and brightness inside by creating a home design inspired by nature, woodland and local materials. The main goal was to have their homes being an escape and offering them the emotional warmth they couldn’t get outdoor in winter.

What is Scandinavian design?

Now, let me talk you through the characteristics of a “Scandinavian style” so you can create your own little Scandinavian home and feel all warm and fuzzy inside! (Might be the effect of having a hot chocolate in front of the fireplace though… Maybe try that as well!)

Muted Colours

The use of white would be unlimited in this type of design. However, any light or pastel colours can be introduced just as smoothly. For instance, having white walls, but introducing pastel accessories like pillows on the sofas, table sets, etc. Muted colours would help bring some brightness inside the room and is, therefore, an important characteristic of this style.

Use of wood

As mentioned before, the Scandinavian style is heavily inspired by nature, so the wood material has a strong place within the design. From the furniture (tables, shelving units or bookcases), to the visible wood beam of the house, this material is very present in Scandinavian houses. The same way, wall-to-wall carpet is avoided and replaced with wood flooring.

Maximize the natural light

As the Scandinavian design was made to bring a little brightness in the houses by comparison to the dark winters outside, I let you imagine how natural daylight was treasured. This is why you’ll want to maximize the natural light in your house to achieve such a design. Think floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights, to let the daylight come in the house.

Scandinavian design bedroom
Scandinavian design bedroom with use of wood in different tones, a lot of natural daylight, plants and simplicity.

Multiple sources of light across the room

As per opposition to the darkness outside, Scandinavians used to have multiple sources of light across the room. This characteristic has been kept in the current home design, where different lights, lamps and lighting systems would be installed. Your goal is to keep the brightness inside by day, just like by night.

No clutter and simplicity

Everything in the Scandinavian design is about making the house a bubble of positive energy, happiness and brightness. As you can imagine, messy or busy spaces don’t have their place in this style, as it would tend to make people feel stressed, oppressed and pressured. Belongings will then be tidied up in boxes, bookcases, chest of drawers and other cupboards to avoid leaving any apparent mess. The same way, the decoration would be subtle, simple and slightly more discreet. In other words, no overthinking, just simplicity.

Clean lines

Another trait of the Scandinavian style is the clean lines you can identify in the space. You should see a lot of geometric shapes, straight lines, but also solid colours. Colours are usually used in blocks rather than in bright eccentric patterns. The patterns you can introduce would rather be nordic patterns featuring a lot of geometric forms and muted, pastel and light colours. This also implicated that houses won’t generally feature many ornaments on walls and ceiling, but will rather have apparent beams and simple white ceilings.

Scandinavian design bedroom
Scandinavian design with geometrical patterns, plants and a simple decor.

Cozy feeling and material

Coziness is also a key trait of this home design. Think snug blanket, fluffy pillows and comfy sofas, but also make the place as homy as possible. Nothing better than snuggling up on the sofa in front of the fireplace, so if you have the possibility to had a fireplace or an open fire, then go for it!


Last but not least, a design inspired by nature wouldn’t be complete without nature in it. So, the last touch is the adding of plants, greens and flowers indoors to bring nature in.

Scandinavian design
Scandinavian design with the use of wood, brightness, plants, simple decor, geometric shapes and clean lines

You have now all the ingredients to a typical Scandinavian style! Be ready to try this in your own home to achieve the perfect nordic home decor.
Have fun and let the creativity take over!

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