In the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark where winters are long and dark, people have come up with clever ways of maximizing light all year round. Light, refreshing hues, stream-lined furnishings and a marked absence of clutter characterizes Scandinavian style. Lighter tones help to combat the darkness since the sun goes down very early. Coziness, especially during the winter, is pertinent to this style. Scandinavian interiors make reference to landscapes which are rich in lakes, forests, rivers and mountains. There are many lessons that we can learn from Scandinavia to have stylish interiors and an upbeat lifestyle that lets the outdoors in.
#1 Bring in the light
Scandinavian homes are typically bright and cheery, with the main goal of drawing in and sustaining as much natural light into the space as possible. To increase the reflection of light throughout the interior, soft washes of color on the floors and walls, sheer curtains, mirrors and glass accents are applied. If you want to follow the Scandinavian example, get rid of heavy curtains and any decor items sitting on window ledges. If you do not like the option of sheer curtains for privacy concerns or to block out the light at night, wooden shutters can be used. This will also help to keep your home better insulated, more energy efficient and stave off the chill coming through the windows from the cold winter nights.
#2 Decorate with natural materials
The interior design of homes in Scandinavia draw upon inspiration from nature, with the application of natural finishes on wood furniture and tidy stacks of firewood adjacent to efficient stoves. Wood is used for for flooring and wall treatments, furnishings and accessories. When wood has been treated, it is generally minimal to show the natural beauty and texture of the material, either using a neutral oil or a whitewash. Other popular Scandinavian textures includes natural textiles of linen, hemp and cotton, leather, plastic and metal. Fur is also commonly used due to the cold climate, draped on chairs and wrapped on sofas, fur pelt throws and used as bedspreads.
#3 Color — it’s all about white
Scandinavian homes generally show off a lot of white, with walls, ceilings and even flooring painted in white tones or neutral hues. With their enduring cold winters and the sun barely rising in the sky, white interiors and expansive windows can cheer up even the tiniest of spaces. White also helps to expand a space and make it feel bright and airy. Wallpaper is occasionally used, but usually as an accent wall. Furnishings and textiles are also in neutral hues of beige, ivory, taupe, black and gray. Bright accents are applied in accessories and wall art to energize the space.
#4 Keep organized in small spaces
Part of the Scandinavian design aesthetic is keeping things organized and stream-lined. Even the smallest of spaces try to squeeze in extra storage in the most unlikely of places. If you find yourself with the dilemma of have a tiny alcove behind the stairs or a sloped ceiling or even a tiny attic space, you can install built-in cabinetry, or shelving units to house extra clutter. Consider creating a functional nook with a wall-mounted organizer with small cubbies to store items.
#5 Simple living spaces
Many Scandinavian homes follow a general guideline of keeping knickknacks to a minimum to keep the home clutter free and main furnishings are either white in a light neutral hue so they can switch up their accents with the seasons. During the long winter months, bring out some extra candles, cable knit throws and even some beautiful fairy lights.
#6 Clutter free living
Keep your home organized with shelving units to keep clutter at bay. Shelving can store bins and attractive boxes to hold your belongings. Having good storage is the key to creating a Scandinavian interior that is spacious and airy. Built-in furnishings will keep things out of the way. This will keep your home tidy, easier to clean and create a less stressful environment. Only display items that you enjoy seeing in your home, ones that create positive energy.
#7 Immerse your home with nature
Despite the fact that winters are long and cold, spending time outdoors is a Scandinavian lifestyle. Fresh air and exercise promotes a healthy way of life and well-being. Bringing nature into the home helps to continue this healthy lifestyle, purifying the air and bringing more life into your house. There is something about bringing live pieces of nature inside that just radiates a healthy energy throughout the room. Spending time outdoors can give you inspiration, and you can even gather things to decorate your home, the Scandinavian’s love DIY!
This Scandinavian bed surrounds itself with plenty of natural light and elements of nature as well as a cozy stove to keep you warm and toasty in the cool winter nights.
#8 Plan for a dining space for entertaining guests
Entertaining and socializing is a large part of the Scandinavia culture. Design your home to equip a decent-sized dining table and chairs for entertaining. Even in small homes, the kitchen is used for entertaining, with longer islands with bar stools or built-in banquettes, window seats and small dining spaces for at least four. Spending time with friends and family, cooking a delightful meal and stimulating conversation is the perfect recipe for enhancing your mood.
#9 Bring in some fresh air
Homes in Scandinavia have large windows and doors that can be opened in good weather to bring in fresh air and nature. Blur the boundaries between indoors and out in your own home with sliding glass doors that can be opened in the warmer months. Fresh air helps to improve one’s health and sense of well-being.
Blurring the lines between indoors and out, nature plays a key role in this stunning bedroom. The layers in this incredible mattress from Hästens include flax, wool and cotton, as well as horsehair, which has been not only cleaned but permed. Horsehair is a key material in this mattress, which is made up of hollow tubes, nature’s air-conditioner. If you consider that you sweat one liter a night, all of that stays in the bed, unless the bed can breathe.
#10 Decorate with wall decor
Pops of color on the walls help to break up the endless sea of white and gray to create a more interesting living environment. Decorating with contemporary black and white photography is very popular. Other trendy options are contemporary posters, paintings and even stickers. However, try not to over-decorate your walls, as hallmarks of Scandinavian style are concise and minimalistic decor.
Photo Sources: 1. KK Living, 2. Iben & Niels Ahlberg, 3. Rum Hemma, 4. Dinesen, 5. Pinterest, 6. Stilinspiration, 7. Alvhem, 8. Style at Home, 9. Alvhem, 10. Avenue Lifestyle, 11. – 12. Sköna Hem, 13. Chez Larsson, 14. Michelle Halford, 15. Don Wong Photo, 16. Hästens, 17. ROM 123, 18. Style at Home, 19. Dinesen, 20. ESNY, 21. Hästens, 22. Alvhem, 23. Estilos Deco, Boliga