It’s no secret that I love Scandinavian style. Ever since our month-long road trip through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway in 2014, I’ve been obsessed with the light and minimalist style that is found so often in nordic homes. The use of muted colours, clean lines, and natural materials is perfect for a small home like ours to keep things airy and uncluttered. Below I’ve listed the top 10 tips for adding Scandinavian style to your own home.
[ 1 ] Light Wood Floors
Floor-to-floor carpeting just isn’t a thing in Scandinavian design. Hardwood floors, preferably light, are found everywhere but the bathroom. If you’ve got darker wood floors, you can lighten them up (without breaking the bank) by sanding them down and re-oiling them with a white floor oil. Rikke from That Nordic Feeling has a great tutorial on her blog. It’s a lengthy process (not sure I’d have the patience for it) but her floors are, far and away, my favourite wood floors that I’ve come across. Another option is white-washing. Mix water with paint in whatever concentration you like, depending on the look you’re going for. The more water you add, the more the underlying wood colour will show through.
[ 2 ] White Walls
Another pretty universal feature of Scandinavian interior design is white walls. White walls lend themselves well to the general minimalist look that is so popular in Scandinavian design, and they make for a great canvas on which to add a wall collage, some open wall shelving, or to make a statement wall lamp pop out. They also brighten up the space and allow as much natural light to fill your home, which is something the Scandinavians are very conscious about during the long, dark winter months.
[ 3 ] Neutral Colours
Neutrals are your friend. The main colours you’ll see in Scandinavian interiors are white, beige, light grey, and pale pastels, especially dusty pinks. Stick with only one or two statement colour(s) and leave the rest monochromatic.
[ 4 ] Mix-and-Match Natural Materials
Add texture by combined various natural materials within your home. Don’t be afraid to mix different woods, but keep them pale for the most part (mid-century modern teak being the exception). Add some wicker, rattan, seagrass, hemp, (faux) leather, brass, copper, and so on and so forth. And don’t forget to add a little bit of greenery, whether it’s a small potted plant or a few stems thrown into a glass jar.
[ 5 ] Lighting
Nordic countries have long, dark winter months so it comes as no surprise that they use a lot of light in their homes. Scandinavians favour hanging lamps (pendants, lightbulbs) over ceiling spotlights and like to scatter various lamps and candles around the room to help diffuse the light.
[ 6 ] Textiles
Play with textures. Mix-and-match different textiles, the more the merrier. A thick wool throw, linen pillows, (faux) sheepskin draped over the sofa, or a Moroccan trellis area rug are all popular options.
[ 7 ] Mid-Century Modern Furniture
Mid-century modern designs are found everywhere in Scandinavian homes. Arne Jacobsen, Charles and Ray Eames, Hans Wegner, and George Nelson are some of the famous mid-century designers whose pieces fit perfectly into modern, nordic interiors. If designer pieces are out of your budget, Ikea has a great collection of mid-century modern inspired pieces, including their Stockholm series as well as the Ekenäset and Kläppa armchairs, to name a few. (Although the latter two unfortunately aren’t available in North America.)
[ 8 ] Simplicity
Keep accessories to a minimum! Think clean, minimalist here. When in doubt, less is always better. Don’t be afraid to keep an entire wall bare!
[ 9 ] Grey Sofa
If there is one piece of furniture almost guaranteed to be found in Scandinavian homes, it’s the grey sofa. One of the most popular budget-friendly grey sofas is the Ikea Karlstad. Swap out the legs for round tapered ones to give it a little something extra.
[ 10 ] Open, minimalist kitchen
Scandinavians love an all-white open-concept kitchen. Use only lower cabinets and add some open shelving to store all your pretty things. For your countertop, skip the marble and go with wood, concrete, stainless steel, or pure white quartz for a truly minimalist look.