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7 Elements and Basics of Scandinavian Decor

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It's time for another Design Profile!

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 style. Scandinavian 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.

Scandinavian decor

One of the premier features of this style is simplicity in lines and forms, like 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!

design 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.

Beautiful soft grey walls and muted furnishings with a pop of colour in the ottoman. Rustic white dresser and black and white wall gallery. This room is heaven! Johanna Bradford Kristin Lagerqvist:

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.

living room


As you can see above, this beautiful white room is balanced with the bright orange chair! I love pops of color in interior design and Scandinavian designers are the biggest pros I know!

chic black sofa
The room above is so simple, but so effectively stylish. The white walls create a simple and bright space, and the addition of simple furniture in bold colors encompasses the Scandinavian look. The simple color scheme of red and navy blue gives the room that minimalist feel which continues with the form of the furniture, but I'll talk about furniture below...

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.

Nordic designers believe that all furniture should be beautiful AND comfortable!

* Luxurious interior design ideas perfect for your projects. #interiors #design #homedecor

 Scandinavian Stool

Comfort and function are most important to Scandinavians.

After function comes form:

Hans Wegner Cow Horn Chairs

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.

orange you lucky!: Scandinavian Bloom . . .:

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

Image of Scandinavian Fabric - Plant Pots:

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! 

bed spread

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.

Scandinavian design, oriental rug, coral rug, coral and blue oriental rug

Cowhide rugs and Oriental Rugs are particularly popular because of their natural materials. At RugKnots, 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.

minimal style

Natural woods and white woods are a popular material in Scandinavian interiors, like the beautiful natural wood floor and coffee table above. Natural wood brings the outdoors in, which is a great quality of the Nordic appeal!

Scandinavian design colour scheme

How beautiful are the white-stained floors above? Along with white walls, these white wood floors create a beautiful canvas for design.

natural materials and texture Scandinavian design

Above, you can see all of the natural materials that Scandinavians love, from the leather slippers, to the wool shag throw, to the cotton pillows, and to the wood floors!

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.

open spaces

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

Scandanavian home | Light & bright living room | Natural style | Modern Home Interiors | Contemporary Decor Design #inspiration #nakedstyle:

How delightful is the room above? The openness of the room is only furthered by the huge windows, making the room feel like it's outside!

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.

A home for a mid-week touch of calm (via ):

This is a simple yet bold design choice!

Dani and Dave's Scandinavian Minimalist Home — House Tour | Apartment Therapy:

I love the graphic chandelier above! What a unique way to add interest to an otherwise simple room!

Scandinavians have a real nack for styling their homes casually. In general, there is minimal accessorizing, but when there are accessories they are placed in the perfect spot. Art is leaned instead of hung, books are stacked on the floor, and gallery walls accumulate organically.:

Rather than a bedside lamp, a low-hanging light is a cute way to make your room feel taller!

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!

large fireplace

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!

 Thanks for reading! Tune in for weekly design profiles, color inspiration, and interior decorating tips! 


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7 elements of Scandinavian decor


1 comment

  • great and helpful, thank you!

    malak on

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