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47 Ideas From Interior Stylists To Bring Scandinavian Design To Your Home

Kinfolk pia ulin design photo
Photo @ Pia Ulin

Timeless, humanistic and captivating, the Nordic way of design with it’s identity stemming from nature.

It’s functionality and modernistic appeal.

anna furbacken apartment scandinavian design grey white
Design @ Anna Furbacken

A design that’s refined and accessible for any home.

See exactly how you can bring the Scandi look to your living space in detail.

What textures to choose from, what colors you should go with or how you could utilize space; with the ideas and examples from the Scandinavian designers themselves.

Scandinavian Design

History and Philosophy

Scandinavian design traditionally began in 1897 at the Stockholm Exhibition of Arts and Industries. One of the earliest pioneers of the design was the Finnish architect and designer, Alvar Aalto. His earlier work was based around Nordic Classicism and Functionalism.

The Stockholm exhibition in 1930 is regarded as one of the catalysts for the breakthrough of functionalism. Alvars’ style in this era became more about organic forms, natural materials and modernism.

Sweden and Denmark were said to be the most productive in the field of design earlier, but Norway did join the movement later on with works of very fine quality: glass, ceramics, china, furniture, textiles, lamps and silver work.

stockholm exhibition 1930 Nordiska museet erik holman 1
Interior at the Stockholm Exhibition, 1930. Photographer: Erik Holmén. Source reference: Nordiska museet, NMA. 0031302

After the 1930’s the design became more humanistic. Attempting to meet the needs of the person and with a close connection to nature.

The exhibition tour “Design in Scandinavia” contributed heavily to the popularity throughout the United States, Canada and Europe in the 1950’s. As well as the Nordic “Lunning” prize furthering development.

lvar Aalto exhibition department store Nordiska Kompaniet NK Stockholm, Sweden, 1954
Alvar Aalto exhibition department store Nordiska Kompaniet NK Stockholm, Sweden, 1954.

After WW2 people’s views in Western Europe leaned towards the democratic, and with that came the idealogy that the items should be accessible and affordable for everyone, not just the wealthy.

In the post-war period existed a scarcity in building materials. So they needed lower-cost materials that could be mass produced. Aluminium, steel, plastic and wood came to the forefront.

Arne Jacobsen's Swan Sofa and chair, SAS Royal Hotel, 1958.
Arne Jacobsen’s Swan Sofa and chair, SAS Royal Hotel, 1958.

From thereon various styles and trends emerged, such as the perceived lack of personality of mass production and the subsequent handcraftsmanship, or the futuristic shapes, “Op Art” and vibrant colors of Verner Panton.

verpan mirror sculptures verner panton
Verpan mirror sculptures, Verner Panton.

Today institutions exist in each of the five Nordic countries, keeping Scandinavian design alive and inline with it’s original concepts.

Each country and stylist have their own influences and take on design, see examples below in detail from today’s Scandinavian designers on what makes their style unique.

Want to dig in to it’s history further? check out these resources:

The Story Of Scandinavian Design: Combining Function and Aesthetics

Design, 1950–75

What it’s defined by?

Anna Furbacken Scandinavian design white grey
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Inspired by nature, the Nordic climate and way of living. The long cold winters and short supply of daylight required brighter walls and floors, warmer textiles, and less clutter for maximum flow of light.

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It focuses on functional items in the interior.

lene ronfeldt design yellow chair white walls
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

Clean lines and simplified designs that have a direct applicable use like furniture, lighting, textiles, dishes, silverware and cooking utensils.

One of the goals was also to enjoy the domestic environment and make it as comfortable as possible.

Rådmansgatan Annaleena scandinavian home comfort beanbag sheepskin
Design @ Annaleena

The style aimed to make designs affordable with easily accessible natural materials made to last.

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white ivory sheepskin bean bag side

Sheepskin Bean Bag

new zealand sheepskin cushion taupe

Sheepskin Cushion

Ideas From The Scandinavian Designers

Living Room

Anna Furbacken Scandinavian living room 3
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Using black furniture and artwork here creates the clean, highly contrasting lines that makes each piece stand out from the rest of the room.

Lighter grays and browns featuring in between for a detailed and layered effect.

Anna Furbacken Scandinavian living room 1
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Try an eclectic style, adding a dark stained vintage sofa here also adds some masculinity and boldness to a largely white base.

If you have a lot of artwork or pictures, group them on the wall, collage style. Using vertical lines here to hang them. Looks sleek and tidy.

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Anna Furbacken Scandinavian living room 2
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Spice up the room with deep orange color combinations for accessories. It doesn’t have to be monochrome everywhere.

Annaleena living room scandinavian design
Design @ Annaleena

The Swedish interior stylist, Annaleena, here opts for fewer details; no complex patterns or clutter but plenty of coziness added from the sofa and it’s accessories.

verkaranta_olohuone Riikka Siusluoto
Design @ Riikka Siusluoto

Mirrors situated near windows for extra light distribution in a room.

Light browns for an earthy vibe and cooler tones throughout create a calmer feel.

lene ronfeldt living space
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

Personality is a large part in what a designer will consider when choosing colors. Darker tones being considered more masculine, and purple hues can express a sense of spirituality or humanity.

lene ronfeldt living space greyscale
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

Curtains are rarely seen in Nordic homes. Keep window coverings light and fitting if needed. Blinds are great as you can keep privacy when necessary and maximize light by raising it.

casa helsinki joanna laajisto living room
Design @ Joanna Laajisto

Going with bright white walls as a base is a common theme, it will reflect light and make your space appear bigger than it is.

Elisabeth Heier living room 3
Design @ Elisabeth Heier

Instill peace and purify the mind by bringing in the deep blue of the oceans’ depths.

grey beige wall scandinavian design elisabeth heier
Design @ Elisabeth Heier

For the Norwegian interior designer Elisabeth Heier, the grey beige colored wall here is preferred due to it’s unique expression of color throughout the day in different lights.

Dining Room

dining room scandinavian nordic anna furbacken
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Swap out large and lumbering chairs and tables, choose furniture that’s leggy and just enough to function as needed. steel, or wood like teak or birch can be good replacements. With teak specifically being extremely popular in the past with Danish furniture designers such as Finn Juhl.

dining room scandinavian nordic anna furbacken 1
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Grouping plants and ceramics in one window can save space and livens the room up with some color. It’ll also make watering easier.

dining room scandinavian nordic anna furbacken 3
Design @ Anna Furbacken

The Swedish interior designer, Anna Furbacken, chooses to inject some French inspired curlier designs, with the chairs and mirror and washed out wooden floor. The deep blue rug adding some texture and a visual separation of the two spaces.

Rådmansgatan-2- annaleena dining room
Design @ Annaleena

dining room elisabeth heier bright white
Design @ Elisabeth Heier

Less is more. For a minimalist style, keep open spaces, simple designs and include only items that have a purpose or function in the room.

Aim to reduce clutter and increase function without sacrificing beauty.

casa-helsinki-08 dining room joanna laajisto
Design @ Joanna Laajisto

Build layers of comfort with textured accessories to create a cozier dining experience.

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White icelandic sheepskin rug one pelt

Icelandic Sheepskin

kreikkalainenpiirakka6 Riikka Siusluoto dining kitchen
Design @ Riikka Siusluoto


anna furbacken kitchen white design scandi
Design @ Anna Furbacken

annaleena scandi kitchen design
Design @ Annaleena

elisabeth heier kitchen design scandinavian
Design @ Elisabeth Heier

Kitchen counter tops typically are streamlined and white, although wood and metal bases are good choices too.

Keep it clutter-free with a few utensils, bowls, cutting boards and a plant or two.

lene ronfeldt kitchen scandinavian design
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

Patterned floor and rug bring extra intrigue to this kitchen, with wood and plants throughout, and efficiency of storage in cabinets and wall mounted shelves.

Open shelves are practical and useful for regularly used items allowing easier access.

A beautiful step away from the typical all-white look, with the lighter wood tones contrasting the darker ship grey theme.

casa-helsinki-09 joanna laajisto kitchen design scandinavian
Design @ Joanna Laajisto


anna furbacken Scandinavian design bedroom
Design @ Anna Furbacken

anna furbacken Scandinavian design bedroom 2
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Add warmth and interest to a section of the bedroom with corner lighting. Gold or copper adds an artistic look that refracts light.

anna furbacken Scandinavian design bedroom 3
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Splashes of blue can be a popular way of introducing some color. Representing the sea which is important in Scandinavia with it’s extensive seafaring history.

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anna furbacken Scandinavian design bedroom 4
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Rådmansgatan-8- annaleena bedroom design nordic
Design @ Annaleena

The cold harsh winters in Scandinavia make it paramount to keep yourself warm, especially at night.

You may not have the same need to a degree, but the function of the bed is to be as comfortable as possible and aid sleep. This is where you want to incorporate layers of textiles; cotton, wool, linens, throws etc.

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new zealand sheepskin cuahion rectangle ivory

Sheepskin Cushion

blue grey folded baby alpaca woven throw

Woven Throw

casa-helsinki-12 joanna laajisto bedroom style Scandinavian
Design @ Joanna Laajisto

lene ronfeldt bedroom style scandinavian
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

jkube8 riika siusluoto bedroom white scandinavian
Design @Riikka Siusluoto

Go for light and white beige-y tones for an airy relaxing feel to a bedroom.


anna furbacken office space design
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Bring the outside in with not only plants but animal print artwork or similar nature inspired motifs.

lene ronfeldt danish interior office design
Design @ Lene Ronfeldt

The importance of workplaces being clutter-free are two-fold, one for the design and for productivity. One way is to keep less used items higher up and out of the way on shelves.


anna furbacken interior design scandinavian
Design @ Anna Furbacken

Utilize the space you have with clever organization, try to keep unused items behind closed doors.

anna furbacken interior design scandinavian storage
Design @ Anna Furbacken

elisabeth heier hallway interior design scandi
Design @ Elisabeth Heier

Break up the monotony and establish some intrigue with patterns or textures on the floor and artwork in hallways.

hallway pia ulin minimal
Photo @ Pia Ulin


casa-helsinki bathroom interior scandinavian joanna laajisto
Design @ Joanna Laajisto

bathroom minimal pia ulin
Photo @ Pia Ulin

Add a decorators ladder if you don’t have an existing towel rack. In this way it is more practical, it can be moved, and fit in smaller spaces.

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