Why Every Interior Designer Is Obsessed With Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian Design Why Every Interior Designer Is Obsessed With Scandinavian Design

If you’ve ever considered redecorating your house, chances are you’ve come across Scandinavian Design. Now, before you start conjuring up ideas of plywood flat-pack furniture, Scandinavian design goes far beyond what you’ll find at your local IKEA.

Scandinavian design isn’t a new concept. In fact, it has been around since the 1930s. However, Scandinavian design has been gaining popularity in Western countries in recent years, with Interior Design experts praising it for its simplicity and functionality.

In fact, there are so many reasons why designers and amateurs alike have fallen in love with the Scandinavian style of interior design!

So, what is Scandinavian design and why is everyone so obsessed with it? Let’s take a look at the different elements of this design concept, and why they work so well in any home!

Where Did Scandinavian Design Originate?

As the name suggests, the Scandinavian design movement originated in the Scandinavian region of Europe. This area, also known as the ‘nordic’ region, consists of the countries Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The style was based on the styles that are featured heavily in the average Scandinavian home. The climate in these Nordic countries is very different from what you’d find anywhere else in the world.

Scandinavian countries are both cold and temperate with an average temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (or 6 degrees Celcius), and this is reflected in their design choices. The Scandinavian interior design incorporates a feeling of warmth, relaxation, and comfort to counteract the cold and sometimes harsh climate.

Scandi winters are no joke, and neither are their design ideas!

What Exactly Is Scandinavian Design?

Scandinavian design consists of a few very unique and very important elements. When combined correctly, the end result is a visually relaxing and functional living space.

The most basic things to consider when coming up with a Scandi design are color, materials, lines, and light. Essentially, you want to balance a functional and minimalist room with a feeling of comfort.

So, which elements are essential when it comes to producing a Scandinavian interior?

Light color palette

One of the most important parts of Scandinavian design is getting the color palette right. If your color palette has a ‘Scandi’ influence, it will help tie the rest of the room together.

Scandinavian houses use lighter, muted color palettes to create a feeling of cleanliness. Because the winters in this part of the world are often very long, the lighter colors help to brighten up the home.

Keeping the colors of your home light and neutral will also create cohesion between each room. This can make your house feel more like one, large, united space, instead of multiple rooms under the same roof.

Another major benefit of a lighter color scheme is the relaxation you’ll feel. The human brain prefers patterns that it can easily identify, so having your whole house painted all in neutral colors will make you feel calmer.

Light, neutral color schemes never go out of fashion, so if you do it right, you’ll never have to change it!

Photo Credit: Instagram @nziarko_

Natural Wood

Wood is an important element in Scandinavian design. Using wood on the floors and walls helps bring a more natural feel to your home, and has a positive effect on your emotions.

However, you can’t just use any type of wood if you want a Scandinavian house. In keeping with our light color scheme, only lighter woods should be used.

Woods such as beech and pine are common in Scandinavian design, as they are light, neutral, and muted. Ash is becoming an increasingly popular choice as well, and in recent years, bamboo has been growing in popularity. You can even combine wood types to create the perfect look for your home.

These light woods can make a small space feel larger, and contribute to the overall calm and relaxing vibe you’ve created with your paint choices.

Because wood is so prominent in Scandinavian design, you should avoid using wall-to-wall carpets. However, if you can’t live without the feeling of a soft carpet under your feet, consider laying down some Scandinavian inspired rugs.

Clean Lines

Scandinavian living is all about clean, uninterrupted lines. There’s no need for unnecessary decorative accents in Scandi design, as they don’t contribute anything to the functionality of the space.

This is probably the most important element of Scandinavian design. Strong, solid, uninterrupted lines allow your mind to focus on the simple decorative accents of the room instead of the walls.

Scandinavian furniture also follows this rule. The lines of tables, chairs, couches, and even bedside tables are clean, solid, and have minimal decoration. Furniture design should not be overlooked, as overly ornate pieces of furniture can throw off your entire design!

Natural Light

Because it rains a lot in Scandinavian countries, lighting is key. Allowing natural light into the home helps create a light, bright, and relaxed atmosphere in your living spaces.

The easiest way to ensure you’re getting abundant natural light is to limit window treatments such as curtains and blinds. If you’re building a new home or renovating your existing home, consider using large, wide, windows in your home.

Skylights are also a common feature in Scandinavian interiors, as they allow the light from above to enter your living space. Some homes in Scandinavian countries are sandwiched between others, so windows aren’t available. In cases like this, skylights are the perfect solution.

If you don’t have much natural sunlight available where you live, ensuring you use proper lighting in your home is crucial. Using light bulbs with warmer tones will replicate sunlight, which is much less harsh than bulbs with blue lights.

Using pendant lamps in the bedroom and communal living areas of your home is also common in Scandinavian design. Because these lights hang lower, they aren’t so direct, which can be helpful for headache and migraine sufferers.

Comfortable Textiles

There’s nothing better than snuggling up with a warm blanket in front of a fireplace when it’s cold outside. Because it’s so cold in Scandinavian regions, cozy and comfortable textiles are extremely important.

When choosing blankets, rugs, cushions, and bedding for your Scandi interior, always choose natural materials. Warm textiles made from wool, cotton, fur, and linen are a staple in Scandinavian design.

When it comes to textiles, the more comfortable the better. Even if you’re not using these blankets or cushions, seeing textiles that look cozy automatically creates a sense of comfort.

In Nordic countries, this concept is called “Hygge” (hoo-ga). It means “well-being” in Danish and is more of a way of life than a design choice. Essentially, comfort is the key to happiness and relaxation, so it’s essential to remember this when designing a Scandinavian space.

Your textiles should match the rest of your house: neutral, muted, and light. However, many design experts agree that this is one area you can be lenient with. Adding a pop of color here and there is up to you, but its always safer to stick to neutral colors.


Scandinavian design is not only about the look, but it’s also about functionality. Ensuring your home is easy to live in is more important than how good it looks. To put it simply, your home should have both form and functionality, not just one or the other.

Designers have a saying: “form follows function”. Basically, you should always make the most of your space to make it as usable as possible before even considering how you’ll style it.

The first thing to consider is a functional layout. Your floorplan should be designed in a way that increases comfort and makes it easy to move around. For Scandi houses, your floorplan should be relatively open, with nothing obstructing your line of sight.

Another major element of functional Scandinavian design is storage. Storage is an essential part of functional design. In Scandinavian culture, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered room, so having somewhere to keep your knick-knacks is vital!

Simple decor

Any styling element in a Scandinavian home should add value to the room. This can be value added to the functionality of the room, like a nice basket for added storage. This can also be value added to the atmosphere of the room.

Scented candles are a simple piece of decor that can help make any room cozier. Each scent can evoke a different feeling, allowing you to change the scent to match the emotion of the room.

You can also find scented candles that look amazing too! As Scandinavian design favors a more minimal approach, even simple neutral candles in clear jars can look great in your space. For an added wow factor, consider using candles with a wooden wick, as they will smell like a fireplace as they burn.

Wall mirrors will help your space feel larger by reflecting the opposite side of a room. This can be especially helpful for smaller homes and rooms. Again, clean lines are important when choosing decor, so opt for a mirror with minimal decoration.

Plants are an excellent decor piece to include when designing a Scandinavian room. Indoor houseplants with lush, green foliage can help soften a room and bring nature back into your life.

The natural greens of most houseplants can also add some color to your home, without interfering with your design. Plus, as an added bonus, plants are amazing for your health.

The more plants you have, the cleaner your air will be. When choosing houseplants for your Scandi interior, go for plants with clean lines as well. The Bird of Paradise is a popular plant for Scandinavian decorating, as they are lush with clean, straight lines.

Another popular plant to consider is the Monstera, as it is large and goes with anything! The more natural items you can use in your decorating, the better!

Photo Credit: Instagram @decoramundo

So, why is Scandinavian Design so popular?

With the decluttering craze becoming more than a trend and more of a way of life, it’s easy to see why Scandinavian design is gaining in popularity.

In a world of clutter and constant noise, there’s something so wholesome about the minimalist Scandinavian design. In our daily lives, we are so busy and our minds are always working, so having a place to relax and unwind is amazing for our well-being.

It’s becoming more important than ever to be able to disconnect from the world and soak in a comforting atmosphere. Your home should be a place of comfort, relaxation, and coziness. Implementing the aspects of Scandi design can help turn your house into a hygge home!

Another reason why Scandinavian design is so popular is because of the timeless nature of its design. Since it’s creation, numerous design trends have come and gone, but Scandi has remained.

Due to its emphasis on balancing minimalism with warm, natural textures, Scandinavian design will remain comfortable and stylish well into the future. This means that you won’t look back in a few years and regret your design choices. You literally can’t go wrong with natural materials, warm light, and a clean airy feeling.


Scandinavian design is not only gorgeous to look at, but it’s also amazing to live in. Creating functional spaces with a relaxing atmosphere will ensure that Scandinavian design will never go out of fashion.

Although this style might not be for everyone, the elements of nature, light, and relaxation are appealing to most.

When it comes to designing any liveable home, function should always come before form. Scandi design takes this concept and embraces it, creating a balance of form and function not often seen in interior design.

As long as you’re including the elements we discussed, your home is going to look amazing for years to come!




Deborah Torres
Deborah Torres
I fell in love with home decor and interior design in the summer of 2015, when I joined an interior design company as intern. Little did I know then that a few years later, I would still be as passionate about interior design so I created this blog. Writing many posts to help others to achieve the design they like.
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