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the Scandinavian interior design in a room uses a Sled base steel chair, a steel table and a gray sofa on the wooden flooring

9 Key Characteristics that Create Scandinavian Interior Design

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For those who love simplicity in decoration, and feel confused when spending long time in a room with bold colors, and also believe that decorating with white color background gives their home a vibrant new look, Scandinavian interior design can bring all they want. If you are one of them, here you are in the right place.

The white color turns into a principle that portrays Scandinavian design because the winter in Scandinavia is so long and dark, so their interiors are typically painted white to help keep spaces bright. It can trigger a miracle!

If you want to refresh your home interior design using Scandinavian style, stay on track and bear with me. Here I’ll tell you about Scandinavian interior design, and also, 9 of the key characteristics that create Scandinavian design and make it one of the most popular styles out there.

a small living room with natural materials and simple patterns

What is Scandinavian interior design

It is a design style characterized by simplicity, minimalism, and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, which grew in the 1950s, in the five countries of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Scandinavian style homes are known for their simplicity, utility, and beauty. Designs often play with natural light—which is a hot commodity in Nordic countries. They have a pure, pared backed style that is centered around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship, and understated elegance.

a brown sofa in a small Scandinavian living room

Scandinavian interior design characteristics

There are main characteristics of any Scandi design that designers typically consider. You can figure them out below.

1. Simplicity in lines and forms

Designers use simple lines to give the impression of shape and texture in Scandi interior design because Simple lines create clean and neutral shapes and also make a functional decoration. Spending times in rooms with regular and simple interior design make you relaxed and help you improve your concentration.

a small dining room with several plants and a wooden table

2. Natural Materials

Most Nordic architects' designs are lined with natural materials such as wool, oak wood, felted wool, cotton, and ash wood. These materials are popular for flooring and furniture and provide a qualitative visual dynamic against the otherwise minimal style of the rest of the interior.

A wooden sofa with animal Print decorative cushions

3. Neutral colors and Warm Textiles

When it comes to creating a beautiful Scandi interior, it's about finding the right color and theme. Neutral colors are always best both in fashion and Scandinavian decor. Whites and greys are often interwoven, creating a clean and calming look, and they often used in Nordic interiors because of their simplicity.

Architects have also introduced other pop colors like dusty pinks and rich sea greens for added accents. Wood floors, preferably natural wood, are a distinct feature and often kept in the neutral color palette. Walls are usually kept white, allowing for furniture and art to be the focus.

It's not surprising that Scandinavian interior design is characterized by warm textures and natural materials like sheepskins, wool, or mohair throws. Not only do they make a feeling of coziness, but they also add another layer of texture to space.

A living room with wooden flooring, a fireplace and a sofa with warm-colored cushions

4. Natural light

As Scandinavians get around about 60 days where the night is 24 hours long. They spend a lot of time indoors during the long, dark winter nights, so it’s important for them to make the best use of the natural light they do have, and you can see this through their home interior design. You should try to Maximize Natural Lighting into your interior as much as possible.

Natural light must be also complemented by modern lighting. Scandinavians use modern lighting to light up their interiors due to their shorter daylight hours. The same principles of Scandinavian design apply to Scandinavian lighting fixtures. Most Scandinavian modern lighting features a simple, neutral white aesthetic and the same clean lines found in Scandinavian furniture and homewares. So nothing too extravagant like crystal chandeliers here!

Pendant lights are a proper choice. They are relatively inexpensive, come in a large variety of choices and has the flexibility to be used in many different settings. You can use them above kitchen islands, dining tables, staircases, hanging beside the bed, beside the mirror or above the bathtub, above the bedside tables and so on. Scandinavian Floor Lamps, Table Lamps, and wall lights are also proper items to Scandinavian lighting design.

A living room with wooden flooring, a dining table and a cozy L-shape sofa with colorful cushions

5. Fireplaces

Swedish Fireplaces are famous! Scandinavian fireplaces are pieces of art in themselves, like a sculpture. Weather gets so cold in Scandinavian countries, so fireplaces are a must. But they are not boring in this style. Check out some of inspiring Scandinavian fireplaces below.

A living room with wooden flooring, a fireplace, a dining table

A living room with wooden flooring, a fireplace, shelves on the wall

an uncluttered hallway room overlooking a rather busy Scandinavian dining room

6. Patterns

There is always elegance in simplicity. The patterns you'll find in Scandinavian designs are typically simple and symmetric. You see Animals and lined plants in traditional Scandinavian designs as their common themes. But Modern Scandinavian patterns usually have bold colored layout and graphics in light colored backgrounds.

A dominant unifying color for walls in a small scandi home

7. Plants

You, as a Scandinavian interior design fan, should bring nature indoors as much as possible. Indoor plants will do it, so don't be afraid to use them. Different plants will survive in your apartment, such as the fiddle leaf fig, and monstera deliciosa, snake plant, etc. it’s much more than aesthetic, plants' benefits are clear for all, increased humidity and purified air, etc. when you may not be keeping your windows open during a winter day, plants come to help you to have an interior with better air.

small living room with natural materials, simple patterns, several plants that give out a Scandinavian character to the house

8. Artwork

Try to create a gallery wall with minimal frame graphic and artwork. It is an excellent way to make a color scheme in a room. Choose art pieces that you love, with your favorite colors and themes and continue it by adding other elements in the same color group. Also, you can use Nordic art prints to capture the sense of Scandinavia to your home.

small living room with wooden flooring, a gallery wall, simple patterns

9. Furniture

The furniture in Scandinavian design is like an object of art, and it will last for a lifetime. Two tips are essential about details and design of Nordic furniture either in modern samples or antique samples: the necessity of having simple patterns in layout and high-quality materials which will always show-up in Scandinavian furniture designs. Another one is their furnishings; it should be through straight lines with minimal furnishing plan.

A room with two blue colored sofas, a soft white carpet on the ground, a Swedish Fireplace


Scandinavian interior design is known for its simplicity, utility, and beauty. Designers often play with natural light in this style—which is a hot commodity in Nordic countries. Clean lines, flawless craftsmanship, and understated elegance with a focus on simplicity, minimalism, and functionality, natural materials, Neutral colors and Warm Textiles, artwork, and white colored background are the features you can see in Nordic designs.

If you are looking for interior designers who will provide you with a first class service to enhance coziness and beauty in your home, get in touch with us at outsourceplan. Please leave a comment and let me know about your experiences of remodeling your home with scandi style.

Kate Silva
Author: Kate Silva
I studied civil engineering at university. I have worked as a civil engineer and urban designer in many consulting and engineering companies. After a few years, I surprisingly got interested in architecture and design. I write on architecture and design, too. I hope you will enjoy my articles and I would kindly regard if you share your ideas and comments about them.

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