Updated: Aug 24, 2022
Minimalism, simplicity, and functionality. These are the characteristics of the ever-popular Scandinavian design, which never seems to go out of style in interior design.
Using a mix of natural materials, textures, soft hues and minimal furniture, the Scandinavian interior design is favoured for its warm and inviting homely atmosphere.
Want to create that Nordic look for your house but not sure how? Our interior designers from IN-EXPAT have shared these 10 tips on how to incorporate those Scandinavian vibes into your house (featuring our Ryokan Modern project)!
1. Introduce some natural light
Most Scandinavian houses tend to enjoy as little as seven hours of daylight in a day. It’s no wonder that Scandinavian interior design principles revolves around the use of this temporary luxury. Natural lighting not only to help produce a cosy and inviting feeling but it is also less intense than artificial lighting. We recommend keeping any windows sheer and translucent to let in as much light as possible. And if you cannot withstand the intense tropical sunlight, then opt for modern lighting fixtures such as wall sconces and pendant lamps instead. You can also install curtains made up of light fabrics such as linen and sheer to reduce excess heat while still allowing light in.
2. Think light, muted colours (with a pop of colour!)
Because winters tend to be long and dark in Northern Europe, Scandinavian designs are often cloaked in a bright neutral colour palette. Think hues of white, grey and beige which create a clean and soothing effect to the space. These bright colours also help to create the illusion of a larger space as they help to reflect more light.
In a typical Scandinavian space, the walls are kept white to direct attention towards furniture and art. Any bold colours introduced to the space are restricted in the form of loosely incorporated accents.
3. Clean lines and forms
The use of simple and clean lines creates the impression of shape and texture through a “less is more” design philosophy.
You will not find a lot of ornate or excessive detailing found in Scandinavian homes. Modern, clean lined, solid pieces are much more common, and are a defining feature of the Scandinavian design style which focuses on functionality.
4. Minimalism over Maximalism
Scandinavian homes were traditionally very small which did not allow for excessive amounts of stuff. And as houses became larger, this idea of an owning only the essentials remained an important aspect of Scandinavian design.
Spaces are well-used and any décor and furniture are kept to a minimum to avoid any unnecessary clutter. The Scandinavian design relies on a few featured pieces to tie a complete design together. This minimalist practice helps to keep spaces looking clean and visually calming for occupants
5. Natural materials
Search for Scandinavian homes on Pinterest and you will notice that most Nordic architects’ designs boast the use of natural materials such as wool, cotton and wood.
Whether it’s on the floor, on the walls, used to make furniture or toys, it’s undeniable that Scandinavian design features a lot of untreated wood. The wood helps to provide a textured visual contrast against the otherwise minimal style of the rest of the interior.
6. Add some Hygge with Cozy textiles
Hygge is a Danish word that roughly means cozy togetherness. Given the cold Nordic climate, it is no surprise that the Scandinavian interior design features a ton of blankets or pillows in their home decor.
To increase hygge, opt for warm textures and natural materials such as wool and cotton also add a layer of texture into the space. If you wish to use textiles as decoration, make sure that they double as both a functional and stylish provider of warmth.
Try to create oases of comfort, such a solitary armed chair for the occasional reading sessions. You should add personal touches that make you happy.
7. Emphasise on Visual Contrasts
Clashing contrasts are the hallmark of Scandinavian interior design.
In this case, contrast can apply to a wide range of design elements (not just colours). Examples include mixing old pieces and new pieces, abstract and natural, straight and curvy lines. To heighten the Nordic feel, look for elements to contrast against your furniture and ornate pieces.