top of page

GET THE LOOK - What is Scandinavian Style?

***Original post 2021.***

Scandinavian Style falls under the category of Modern design, a word which is misused a lot when talking about design. To sort things out a little, let's talk first about what Modern means.

Modern and Contemporary are terms that are often used interchangeably, but really are very different. Contemporary Design refers to anything that is currently popular. Modernism was a design movement of the early to mid-20th century with a distinct style. Contemporary Design will evolve over time depending on the trends, but Modern Design will always remain the same. Find out more about Contemporary Style here.

Modern Design is simple and unadorned, with angular lines and geometric shapes. Furnishings tend to be low and vertical with no fussiness to them. There is a focus on polished and industrial materials such as metal, stone and glass as well as natural wood, fibers and leather. Windows are usually left bare or have simple, functional coverings and natural light is emphasized.

Now, let's talk about Scandinavian Style!

Scandinavian modern living room with neutral palette and natural wood finishes.

Okay, history lesson time...just a short one!

Scandinavian style was prevalent in Germany and Scandinavian countries in the 1950’s. It has never really lost its appeal. This is especially true in colder climates, because of the Scandinavian ideas of lagom combined with hygge. This roughly translates to simplicity and moderation combined with warmth and comfort. Scandi homes should feel bright, uncluttered and happy, but also warm and cozy. Scandinavian homes are centers of comfort and relaxation and should always include cozy throws, warm fires, unfussy linens, and gathering places for family and friends.

How to Get the Look - Key Elements

  1. FURNISHINGS - When designing in this style, furnishings and décor should be chosen with intention. Rooms should not be too spare, but they should not be cluttered either. Attention should be paid to craftsmanship. Furniture has simple, clean lines and function is key. If it's not functional it doesn't belong!

  2. LIGHTING - Maximizing natural light is important in Scandinavian Style homes which is why walls are usually pale colors. Artificial light should be adequate for long winter nights though, so don't overlook it. Lighting is clean and simple, often with architectural lines to it and may use natural materials like paper and wood.

  3. ACCESSORIES - These should be spare and functional as well. Throws and pillows to snuggle down in, pots and planters for indoor plants, candle holders for a little warm candlelight, and vases for flowers and greenery. Artwork frequently references nature and may be colorful.

  4. COLORS & PRINTS - Colors are light and airy and include hues found in nature. Strong pops of color can also seen here and there. Black and white create contrast and are used for graphic prints. Prints can be colorful and whimsical and often reference natural elements like plants, mountains and animals.

Now that you have the tools, start creating your own Scandinavian Modern refuge! Click on any of the products below to Shop the Look.

***Updated April 2024.  In the case that the same items were not available, similar items were chosen.***

Scandinavian Style

Not a fan of the options above? Here are some alternatives so you can make it your own! Click on any of the items to get a closer look.

Scandinavian Sofas & Chairs

Scandinavian Coffee & Side Tables

Scandinavian Lighting

Scandinavian Accessories

Scandinavian Rugs & Pillows

Websites to shop for more Scandinavian Style:

If you haven't yet, take my Design Style Quiz to see what your personal style is!

There's more Design Styles to come so keep checking back. Better yet, hit subscribe above to get email notifications when a new post comes out. Let me know what you think of these finds in the comments below!

This blog post may contain affiliate links. After clicking on a link, any purchase, at no additional charge to you, renders me a small percentage and helps to make this blog possible. Thank you.

If you would like to see more Interior Design Inspiration head over to my Portfolio for a little eye candy.

If you need more assistance pulling a look together for you space, you can read more about what I offer on my Services page.


bottom of page