5 tips for incorporating Scandinavian design in your home

These days, with incredibly easy access to so many amazing resources online, you don’t need to be a professional interior designer to give your home a different look. Interior design elements from countries and cultures around the world are quickly making their way into homes on the other side of the world. One of the popular styles now is Scandinavian design, and it’s easy to take home.

Minimalist style designed living room interior scene in sunny weather.  (3d render)

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What is Scandinavian design?

Scandinavian design, sometimes referred to as “Nordic design”, is simple and minimalist, using useful elements that have significant functionality. Scandinavian design entered the scene in the early 1900s. In the middle of the century, it spread to the rest of the Nordic region. More than 50 years later, Scandinavian interior design has spread around the world, offering people the opportunity to turn their home into a relaxing oasis that diminishes consumerism and prioritizes design elements that have a purpose.

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Scandinavian design is especially useful for people who live in smaller spaces, like a studio or an apartment. However, the Scandinavian design can be used in any home, no matter the size. And, some people may choose to make just one room in their home with Scandinavian design, rather than the entire house. It’s up to you!

Square Li is a creative professional based in New York City with experience in the fields of interior design, photography, and graphic design.

She says Scandinavian interior design boils down to the essentials and helps you eliminate “added visual noise” from your space.

“You include what you need, and functionality takes a high priority over what may just look good but may not serve a purpose in your space,” says Cuadrado. “Approaching the space not only with an eye for what is aesthetically pleasing, but also with the intention of solving problems, is a great way to create a well-balanced space.”

The goal of Scandinavian design is to help house dwellers improve their daily life and not be overwhelmed by strong colors and clutter. It helps people to use every inch of their home, without filling it with “stuff.” There are many directions one can take with Scandinavian design to fulfill its characteristics, but with its own twist.

Interior of a Scandinavian style attic bedroom.

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What are the rules of Scandinavian design?

So how exactly does the Scandanivan interior design work? Let’s look at the following categories of Scandinavian design.

Turning on

A room or home that embodies Scandinavian design uses natural light as much as possible to create light and airy spaces that appear larger and more open.


Scandinavian design includes soft colors and hues, typically in a monochrome profile. Think gray, white, black, and tan.

Piece of furniture

Scandinavian design furniture elements should be practical, functional and simple. Don’t consider anything too bold and too loud. Choose something with a modern design that is sleek, with linear shapes, smooth curves, and tapered legs. Wood pieces are great for Scandinavian design.


Although minimalism is key, feel free to add decoration to your Scandinavian design. Artwork that uses wood or simple drawings, small houseplants, thick knitted blankets, and soft rugs all relate to the Scandinavian aesthetic.


Add accents of blues, darker grays, soft pinks, etc. All rooms should feel “clear”. Wood pieces can also help add unique touches to the room.

Interior of a cozy Scandinavian style office space.

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5 tips for incorporating Scandinavian design into your home

  1. Add a modern sofa or chair with sharp wooden legs.

One of the main characteristics of Scandinavian design is “the sofa”. You will spend a lot of time on the couch (or in a comfortable chair) reading and presenting a company. In a Scandinavian living room, prioritize comfortable yet simple seating that creates a sense of togetherness and hygiene.

How to achieve this look:

  1. Incorporate functional tables.

Scandinavian design demands functionality and minimizes clutter. With the right tables, you can store or stack everyday items while adding a purposeful accent to the room.

How to achieve this look:

  1. Stock up on comfy blankets for extra comfort.

Scandinavian countries are colder than most, which means that design is not complete without the right cozy blanket. You can always buy thick yarn to knit the blanket yourself, or you can buy the perfect blanket!

How to achieve this look:

  1. Use inspiring artwork and décor to emphasize your “Scandinavian style.”

Choosing a piece of art for a home that incorporates Scandinavian design can be one of the most exciting parts, but it can also be challenging. The artwork should be simple, with shades of white, gray, tan, and / or blank, lots of white space, and some hints of Scandinavian folk art.

How to achieve this look:

  1. Find ambient lighting to relax

Although Scandinavian design calls for bright, open spaces with plenty of natural light, the winter months can mean limited daylight hours. You will need some lamps to light things up when it gets dark.

How to achieve this look:

Two indoor ferns hang over the dining table

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The bottom line

In Scandinavian interior design, follow the tried and true motto of “less is more!” Use stylish and modern items that are functional and choose items that fill you with a sense of calm and relaxation. Incorporating Scandinavian design into your home has a set of simple rules to follow, to which you can apply your own twist to create the environment you want for yourself and your guests.

Frequent questions

What are the elements of Scandinavian design?

The elements of Scandinavian design are monochromatic colors, bright and airy spaces with plenty of natural light, warm wooden accents and furniture that prioritizes comfort and functionality.

What does the Scandinavian style look like?

The Scandinavian style is modern and elegant, but also very functional. Makes the person feel comfortable and calm, limiting visual clutter and noise.

What are Scandinavian colors?

A Scandinavian design color palette uses monochromatic neutrals: grays, whites, blacks, and tans. It also incorporates slightly bolder accents.

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