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Tips for achieving Scandinavian-style interior design in your home

4th February 2022 Print

“Clean, simple, and most of all functional,” is how interior designer Maija Rasila describes Scandinavian decor to Livingetc, adding: “Scandinavian design is hardly ever based only on aesthetic matters, instead it’s the function that leads the design process.” 

So, while Scandinavian-style interior design certainly incorporates elements of minimalism, it’s ultimately in a serene rather than severe way. If you want to visually streamline your home without leaving it looking like a dentist’s waiting room, here are several ways Nordic interiors could inspire you…

Wood you believe it? Well, you should 

“The basic element that defines the whole Scandinavian style is unquestionably wood,” Rasila declares, clarifying: “Used especially in light colourways such as oak, birch and pine, it is an essential part of the Scandinavian interiors and design process.” 

If you’ve stepped foot in an actual Scandinavian home, you have probably seen native wood used for bare floors and clean-lined furniture, with the colour of these features complementing neutral and bright walls in the property.

Don’t be afraid to bring organic touches to your home 

Scandinavian design is “also strongly inspired by other elements from Nordic nature: calming earthy tones and materials such as linen, wool and stone. It’s all about the genuine materials and discreet aesthetics,” Rasila further explains. 

So, you should consider bringing elements of the outside into your home as its increasingly Scandinavian interiors take shape. Perhaps you could add a few houseplants or stone ornaments to certain rooms?

Choose between black or white – or maybe combine both 

One good case in point could be when giving your property a stove – which, even if you don’t practically need it to keep the building comfortably warm, can certainly make a home look more welcoming. 

Interior stylist Sophie Warren-Smith explains in a Real Homes piece: “Black stoves look fab, of course, but white or cream ones really embrace the Scandi look.” Similarly, you can choose between black or white for wall shelf brackets ordered in this Nordic style.

Reduce your knickknacks to the cosy essentials  

“If we think of the Scandinavian interior in a classic sense I think that simplicity is key – surrounding yourself with well thought through items,” designer Nina Bruun tells Livingetc. Hence, you should be selective about exactly what you put on display in your home – and discard or at least tidy away the rest.

“A typical Scandinavian interior is airy and light, however, wooden floors and furniture, soft colours and rough textures make sure the atmosphere stays warm and cosy,” Rasila notes.

Keep the colours of your interiors restrained  

Rasila calls the colour palette for Scandi interiors “light and soft – simple white walls are accompanied with muted tones of mud, sand and pale grey.”

What colours you should choose for a particular room can, however, depend on where that room is in the house. Generally, rooms facing to the north or east suit relatively warm shades like cream and pale pink, while west- or south-facing rooms are able to accommodate both these and cooler hues, like blue and grey.