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7 Elements and Basics of Scandinavian Decor

7 Elements and Basics of Scandinavian Decor

What's one of the most popular trends in interior design this year? Scandinavian decor has a uniquely pleasing aesthetic marked by minimalism, neutrals, and simple, streamlined forms.

When you hear "Scandinavian Decor," the first thing that might come to mind is the extremely popular Swedish furniture store Ikea...

But I'm here to tell you that there's more to Scandinavian design than just the big blue building! Though Ikea's furniture and decorations are a great representation of Scandinavian decor, there's much more to it. I'm here to tell you why it's so beautiful and so popular!

But first, a little background! "Scandinavia" is the name for a region in Northeastern Europe which includes Norway, Sweden, Finland Denmark, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

These Nordic countries excel at innovation, design, and fashion. Scandinavian decor is, at its heart, a combination of function and styleScandinavian furniture and design are meant to be no-fuss, but that doesn't mean there's no beauty! In fact, Scandinavian furniture is some of the most beautiful and unique you'll find in the market today. Function lends itself to form, combining to create a streamlined, simple look that is decidedly Scandinavian.

One of the premier features of this style is simplicity in lines and formslike the tree pattern above. The fabric designer uses simple lines to give the impression of shape and texture. At first glance, you can see that they're trees, but when you look a bit closer, you can see their brilliant simplicity!

Simple lines create a clean, neutral, open style!

7 Elements of Scandinavian Decor

1. White Walls with Pops of Color

If you google "Scandinavian design," the first thing you'll notice is the dominance of white walls.

Scandinavian designers are all about light and bright, making white the perfect color choice. If you think white is boring and can't be vibrant, I'm here to prove you wrong! White is clean, minimal, and beautifully simple.

But that doesn't mean that Scandinavians avoid color! They skillfully use color in bright pops, rather than overtaking a room with it.

2. Form and Function

It's easy to spot Scandinavian furniture pieces because of their beautiful shapes and simple lines. The chairs below are designed to be sat in, not to be pawns of interior design.Comfort and function are most important to Scandinavians.

The beautiful chairs above are designed to be comfortable, to easily slide under a table, and to be the perfect height for sitting. What results from the necessity of function? Simple lines, artful form, beautiful furniture!

3. Organic Patterns

The art and textiles of Scandinavian design are recognizable for their botanical and organic features. Scandinavian design often features many different colors, and simple plant forms, as you'll see below.

Other key components include simple lines and designs, like the lined plants below.

Also, designs sometimes feature characters! The art of Scandinavian decor is doodle-y, whimsical, and fun.

When I was a child, I had a blanket from Ikea similar to the one below and I could stare at the characters for hours! I believe they were a frog prince and princess, and I would love looking through to find the pictures, it was like a game of I Spy! 

The interesting patterns of Scandinavian art are probably my favorite part of the design style. I just love how the textiles can make a room so quirky and fun!

4. Natural Materials

Along with seeking function, Nordic designers search for natural materials like wood, wool, felted wool, cotton, and fur.

Cowhide rugs and Oriental Rugs are particularly popular because of their natural materials. At Rug Knots, our rugs are made with 100% New Zealand wool, and are hand-knotted to perfection! We use all-natural vegetable dyes that won't run.

The coral rug above is a beautiful way to bring a pop of color to the natural wood floor.

5. Open Spaces

Along with their simple color schemes, Scandinavian designers choose not to clutter up their spaces with too much furniture. Scandinavian interiors are often open, adding to the minimalist, clean feel that white walls create.

Walking into a Scandinavian home is like taking a breath of fresh air, looking outside into a bright landscape, and floating in the clouds!

6. Low-Hanging Lights

Another one of my favorite features of Nordic design are the long-hanging lights that seem to be popular. These lights come in various styles, though they are always simple.

Sometimes several lights hang low together, but I prefer the look of the singular light.

This is a simple yet bold design choice!

7. Fireplaces

Because it gets so cold in Scandinavian countries, fireplaces are a must. But these fireplaces are anything but boring or traditional. Scandinavian fireplaces are pieces of art in themselves, like a sculpture.

The fireplace above is a bit of a simpler wood-burning stove, but it's still warm, cozy, and inviting!

The fireplace above looks like it belongs in a hobbit house! I love the built-in compartment for stacks of wood and the simplicity of the structure! I can imagine this fireplace outdoors, in medieval times... or in my own house!

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Valerie Thomas - July 15, 2019

I absolutely love scandinavian design I have been working on my own living space choosing simple pieces to create a peaceful place

malak - April 17, 2019

great and helpful, thank you!

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