Scandinavian Design in Interiors

How to Create a Scandinavian Style Home

Scandinavian design, influenced by the physical characteristics of the northern lands where it originated, is often thought of as cool and somewhat austere. In truth, it can be just the opposite, warm and inviting, relying on homey materials and favorite things.

It is, however, contemporary and dramatic enough to stand on its own merits. Scandinavian design can also complement and highlight other styles. It is simple and functional, strong and attractive — much like the people of those beautiful regions that spawned it. Scandinavian design features gentle contours and organic shapes, and often features a mix of engineered and natural materials to create harmony. Bentwood forms and laminated surfaces evolved with the technology of the time, and added to the options available for architectural and furniture design during the Scandinavian heyday, the late 1930s through the mid-70s. Artists experimented not only with form, but with texture and new materials. Finnish ceramicists, Danish furniture designers and American architects joined forces to give birth to a new era of aesthetic expression. It continues today.

Tables, chairs and cabinets constructed of natural wood blend beautifully with synthetics. They may sport oiled or painted surfaces, but they are apt to be simple, functional and linear. There is also a playfulness born of Scandinavian tradition; dashes of bold color and humorous details are not uncommon. Think of the whimsical Swedish Dala horses so beloved by both children and adults, and Norwegian rosemaling that is colorful, geometric and as traditional as can be.

If you’re looking for Scandinavian Decor, Buyer Select has a curated selection of gorgeous items perfect for creating a Scandinavian style home. [View the Collection]

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Gorgeous Scandinavian Design Interior

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Scandinavian Kitchen Design

With it’s beautiful exposed beams, highly polished concrete floor and rough plastered white walls,  this Copenhagen kitchen designed by Line Dahy Ernst and Thomas Høedholts is a great example of Scandinavian design done well.
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Scandinavian Interior Design

This Scandinavian style living room has an elegant and clean design, incorporating the perfect balance between white walls and furniture with pattern and textural elements.
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Scandinavian Decorating Ideas

The elements in this Scandinavian living room mix well together combining homespun textiles, graphic throw pillows, framed art, a modern floor lamp and a wide array of plants.
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Scandinavian Bedroom Design

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Influences on Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian design owes its origin to the modernism movement of a mid-20th-century world that was determined to shed the influences of an excessively embellished past. It was emboldened by the Bauhaus movement, and became an iconic expression of “revolt.” The architecture and interiors of those times were influenced by new technology, by the space race, and by a reaction against Victorian tradition. “Enough,” said designers.

A movement was born that is still celebrated today — trendy and sought-after design that is still relevant. Get this look for your own home by browsing our curated collections. It is spare and “honest” in spirit, rustic and refined at the same time, with fluid lines and populist appeal. Proportion and balance are all-important, in individual pieces and in the way an entire room comes together. Scandinavian design melds curves, circles and linear geometry in unique ways. It is a hallmark of the style, along with the juxtaposition of smooth and rough, soft and hard, shiny and worn, light and dark, old and new — as a way to create an edgy effect and graphic impact.

Contemporary interiors benefit from the Scandinavian ethos because it does not require strict adherence to a formula style. It allow homeowners infinite variety, but holds to some simple precepts. It is, perhaps, the underlying simplicity of the design style that keeps it fresh and appealing.

Prevailing Interior colors are apt to be pale: White and black, shades of grey, and carefully selected accents that add interest but do not disrupt. Scandinavian interiors do not shout or “make statements.” Instead, they wrap inhabitants in style, offering tranquility and a sense that “all is right with the world.”

Scandinavian design is easy to live with, whether you opt for its soft, romantic, rumpled personality, or embrace its opposite face, linear and hard-edge, with few soft, natural touches.

Scandinavian Rustic Kitchen

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Scandinavian Bathroom Design

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Nordic Living Room

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Scandinavian Bedroom

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Scandinavian Style Living Room

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Scandinavian Design Master Bedroom

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Scandinavian Interior Design Ideas

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The New Look of Scandinavian Design

Whatever elements you pick from the basket of Scandinavian design, they are likely to mix easily with others. Hang a simple copper globe as a stunning chandelier, then ground the look with lots of light shining through bare windows, a pale wood or bamboo floor and soft grey painted walls. Set simple white leather sofas on a clear blue area rug in a sparsely accessorized room. Or fill the walls with graphic black and white art, but add a pair of lounge chairs in burnished saddle tan leather.
Pair simple, sculptural dining chairs with a white or black-painted dining table, or group simple wood chairs around a classic round Saarinen tulip table. Add a tanned leather pouf for an exotic touch in a black and white living room. Place a painted wood spindle-back chair or loveseat at the foot of a bed dressed in creamy white linens. Place a treasured painted antique chest in front of a chrome-leg modern sectional.

Scandinavian design celebrates the unexpected: Black and white stripes are attention getting, but use their graphic contrast in small doses, for accent value as simple mattress-ticking curtains, a single accent pillow, the contrast of black and white matting on framed art. Homespun textiles, knitted throws, fur rugs, leather and chrome, copper and black iron, soft and hard, shiny and weathered, rustic and modern, worn stone and artistic glass, antique and high-tech. It all works.

It’s all a part of the Scandinavian penchant for bringing mismatched and disparate elements together to create a cohesive and eminently livable whole.

Scandinavian Kitchen Design

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Nordic Dining Room Design

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Scandinavian Dining Room Ideas

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Chair & Sheepskin Throw

Hanging Rattan Chair & Sheepskin Throw
Inspired by a Scandinavian design from the 60s, the sculptural frame of this hanging hand made rattan chair is created from bent rattan with a scooped seat that cradles you as you float. The chair hangs by a heavy-duty loop and rope, so it’s super sturdy. Add a pillow for a pop of color and cushion. The sheepskin throw makes a space feel Scandinavian, rustic and elevated all at once. Made in Iceland of soft, fluffy wool, it also cozies up a room in no time flat – not to mention keeps you warm on cooler nights.
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Riviera Chair & Sheepskin Throw

Riviera Chair & Sheepskin Throw
This classic 1930s European bistro chair, reinterpreted, works well in a Scandinavian interior. Handcrafted of lightweight rattan and woven plastic seats, this design is fabulously family-friendly and great for the kitchen or the patio. (Just remember to store it indoors when the rains come.) For added versatility, a slight variation in how the colors are woven make the entire Riviera Collection prime for mixing and matching – pair different silhouettes for a fun and lively look.
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Use Color Sparingly in Modern Interiors

Color, too, can be welcome in Scandinavian design, but it usually appears in small doses in today’s interiors. Saturated blue and white is a staple for dinnerware, and for some textiles, but the days of overly vibrant Marrimekko prints have waned, although the firm and its products are still “fashion forward.” However, clear colors are often a welcome treat in a monochromatic room. Bright yellow, a dash of paprika, a touch of green in living plants — all are welcome.

If you look at Scandinavian design as a continuing evolution of traditional materials and sensibilities, you have the basis for creating a distinctly personal look for your own interiors. A deft way to achieve the subdued balance that noted Scandinavian interior design evokes is to studiously remove elements — one at a time — until what is left seems perfectly curated. Then your room is ready to stand alone with minimal distraction.

Nordic peoples honor the past, respect tradition and live with the things they love. But they tend to focus not on things, but on feelings and perceptions. That’s the inherent beauty that is embodied by Scandinavian design. It leads to a simple life. And life lived simply is life lived well.

Blue in Scandinavian Design
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