Scandinavian home style and decor, definition and description, elements of taste and style, minimalist, streamlined, functional, neutral and soft pastel color palette, natural materials like wood and stone, let in more natural and ambient light, importance of texture in neutral color scheme, best items to try Scandinavian design yourself
Table of Contents
- Scandinavian-Style Homes (Exteriors)
- 1. “Chalet du Bois Flotté” Residence by atelier BOOM TOWN
- 2. Scandinavian-Inspired Home with Unique Design Features
- 3. Imposing Švedų House by Aketuri Architektai
- 4. Startling Fjallhuset Mountain Home by pS Arkitektur
- 5. Bright and Brilliant Blue Hills House by la SHED Architecture
- 6. Hatley House by Pelletier de Fontenay and François Abbott
- 7. Powder Snow by Luc Plante architecture + design
- 8. Minimalist Home with Cathedral Beam Ceilings and Large Sliding Doors
- 9. Bohemian, Fresh, and Sun-Drenched Coastal Oasis
- Scandinavian-Style Interior Examples (by Room)
- Scandinavian-Style Landscaping
- What is Scandinavian Style?
- Interior Style Features
- Exterior Style Features
- Furniture Style
- Styles That Mix Well With It
- Brief Historic Overview
- Why It Looks Great
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing the Scandinavian style architecture.
1. “Chalet du Bois Flotté” Residence by atelier BOOM TOWN
This is a serene view of a Scandinavian-Style L-shaped house against a white background of snow landscape and blue skies that perfectly contrasts the black walls and black Gable roofs. Despite the contrast, this house appreciates the surrounding beauty with massive glass windows.
The simple lines of the Gable roofs and black walls allows you to appreciate the frozen wonderful surrounding the house. This threads the fine line between isolation and integration with the natural elements with a sense of peaceful living Swedish parquet floor.
This Scandinavian-Style home has a tall three-story structure with balconies on the second and third levels illuminated by warm yellow light. This aesthetic breaks the blocky face of Gable roofs and white walls with a sense of warm welcome.
This is a Scandinavian-Style interior of a great room containing the dining area, living room and an office at the end all a single white ceiling paired with hardwood flooring. The bright walls, windows and glass doors give this already large room a sense of being bigger.
3. Imposing Švedų House by Aketuri Architektai
This is Scandinavian-Style house is a wonderful marriage of traditional elements and modern aesthetic. There are three sections of the house connected by a wood-floor exterior that leads to a grassy lawn. Each of the gray-walled sections is complemented by wide windows and glass doors that reflect the cloudy skies.
The Gable light gray roof has a thin chimney that reaches for the cloudy skies. This is perfectly paired with dark gray walls that are almost charcoal in darkness. This makes the modern house stand out against the colorful field of plants surrounding it.
4. Startling Fjallhuset Mountain Home by pS Arkitektur
This Scandinavian-Style home presents with dark wooden walls that stand in contrast with the surrounding frozen tundra. It represents a warm embrace that is welcoming and hospitable from the surrounding harsh weather.
This charming dark house in the middle of a frozen tundra has Gable roofing paired with small square windows for a modern effect. It is a beacon of rest and reprieve from the tundra but at the same time incorporates the beauty of its surroundings to the welcome it gives you.
5. Bright and Brilliant Blue Hills House by la SHED Architecture
The straight lines and modern elements of this Scandinavian-Style house contrast with the feather-like bare branches of the forest surrounding it. The flat roof and abundant glass windows give this home a modern comfort in the middle of isolation.
This is the facade of a Scandinavian-Style home that seems like a comfortable nest in the middle of a winter wonderland filled with naked dancing trees. The snowy landscape attempts to overwhelm but the beige walls of this flat-roofed home prevail.
This is a Scandinavian-Style interior with a great room of white walls paired with massive glass windows that give you a sense of being one with the natural elements outside. This great room contains the dining area, kitchen and living room in a huge embrace of white ceiling and light gray flooring.
6. Hatley House by Pelletier de Fontenay and François Abbott
This Scandinavian-Style house has three identical sections with Gable roofs and wooden slat walls paired with wide glass doors. These three sections look like three brothers huddling close to each other in hopes of fighting the cold snow surrounding them.
This is the facade of a Scandinavian-Style home with a high Gable roof paired with a small chimney on one side. The walls have a peculiar wooden slat design that offers an intricacy that contrasts the surrounding monotone of the white snowy scenery.
7. Powder Snow by Luc Plante architecture + design
This Scandinavian-Style home has a proud slab of stone wall rising up with the tall trees. This wall earthen wall supports the rest of the modern house’s flat roofing, immense glass walls and a balcony on the side with a set of stairs leading to the snowy landscape.
The accumulated snow accents the flat roofs of this Scandinavian-Style home. Its earthy palette contrasts with the white winter scenery surrounding the house. It offers a warm welcome from the cold and yet basks in its beauty with wide glass walls.
8. Minimalist Home with Cathedral Beam Ceilings and Large Sliding Doors
This is a front view of a Scandinavian-Style house on an inclined landscape of tall trees and shrubs that offer a nice foreground to the modern beauty of the simple house and its white walls. This is paired with a dark garage door and dark main door.
This is a charming backyard with a carpet of well-manicured grass perfect for outdoor parties, maybe a lovely intimate picnic or just an afternoon of playing on the grass. This is the view seen from the inside through the glass windows and wide glass doors.
9. Bohemian, Fresh, and Sun-Drenched Coastal Oasis
This is a charming and simple Scandinavian-Style home with a bay window in front with a roof that matches the clay tiles of the roofing. The ledge running around the house follows the lay of the bay windows with a row of various plants to accent the white walls.
This is a spacious and bright interior complemented by a high cathedral ceiling with an exposed wooden beam. The white walls make this great room shine brighter to contrast the abundance of elements filling the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
The following are photo examples of Scandinavian-Style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Scandinavian-Style photo galleries for each room.
This Scandinavian-Style living room has a white tray ceiling paired with hardwood flooring that is topped with a rustic area rug. This rustic theme is augmented by the wooden elements on the entryway, tall windows, and chairs. This makes the dark wooden elegant fireplace stand out.
The kitchen island of this Scandinavian-Style kitchen has wooden built-in cabinets that match with the immense structure housing the cooking area on one wall. These wooden elements blend in with the hardwood flooring and contrast the white ceiling.
This is an intimate Scandinavian-Style dining room that has a small circular table surrounded by four white modern chairs. It shares the great room with the living room that is warmed up by an elegant fireplace topped with a peculiar wall-mounted artwork.
This is a bright and comfortable Scandinavian-Style bedroom with a pair of tall windows flanking the head of the traditional bed. There is a dark iron fireplace on the side built into the white wall with stoneworks and has a colorful abstract painted mounted above it.
This Scandinavian-style bathroom has a simple white floor paired with white walls and a white ceiling. The shower area is separated from the rest of the bathroom with a glass wall. The stand-out elements are the wooden built-in drawers of the vanity area and the wall-mounted artwork above the toilet.
This entry hall has a simple Scandinavian-style design with a hardwood flooring separated from the white walls by wooden moldings that match the wooden railings and steps of the staircase leading to the second floor. This area is illuminated by a white modern pendant light.
The furniture that you find in this style is definitely going to be unique. Though it’s not designed to necessarily be eye-catching it will be at the same time. That’s because a lot of the pieces have a unique style simply through an accident. This is mainly because the most efficient and effective method for doing what they are meant to do is entirely different from what most would consider standard. The pieces like chairs and tables, however, will generally be very standard in style and very basic at the same time. This helps make sure they fit into any home.
The fine carpet of grass in this Scandinavian-Style landscape is topped with matching sofas that have comfortable thick cushions. This area is flanked by white walls that have creeping foliage on it for accent. There is also an outdoor dining area near the far edge with rustic armchairs surrounding a dining table.
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon meandering through IKEA and found that you love not only the bargain prices but the sculpted shapes and artful design of the products, it’s a perspective shared by many other shoppers. If you (or your children) got wrapped up in the northerly setting and woodsy aesthetic of Frozen, you’re in good company.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the beautifully sparse and restrained interiors and pristine, utilitarian exteriors that characterize Scandinavian homes have been steadily gaining worldwide popularity.
The loose confederation of countries known as Scandinavian–Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, but under the heading of Nordic countries may also include Finland and Iceland–are situated quite a bit further north than many of us, so the homes that appeal to them most are the ones that provide a welcoming fortress of respite against the elements.
Outside, they should have a practical, minimalist feel, thoughtfully designed to keep out the cold and let in the light, and inside, comfortable fabrics and sculpted, well-chosen pieces should be the order of the day.
Interior Style Features
Braving the Nordic weather should come with its own reward once you’ve reached home. Scandinavian interior style centers around practicality, inviting relaxation and snuggling with warming, tasteful touches, and keeps clutter at bay.
- Let In the Light: Winters in higher-latitude northern countries tend to be scanty on the daylight hours, which can negatively affect mood, circadian rhythms, and the atmosphere of a home. Rooms brightened by natural light look open, spacious, and welcoming, while dark rooms appear smaller and closed-off. With this in mind, far-north architecture plays window placement to the best advantage and, when possible, goes for larger sizes.
- Neutral Hues: Keeping a clean, neutral, easy-on-the-eyes palette brings out the most in the natural light you have to work with. Warm beiges, blonds, and creams help to enlarge rooms even as they appear to let in light via reflection. Additionally, understated tones throughout the room that vary a bit but never too far give a tasteful and rich look.
- The Cozy Factor: If the home is thought of as a refuge, nothing can create a restful ambiance quite like soft, cozy layers that encourage relaxation. Throw blankets, ample bedding, and plushy accents should be functional–ready to recline on or wrap up in–instead of high-maintenance.
- Textures: We picture the Scandinavians in knits and insulated jackets because they serve their purpose well. Soft, pillowy fabrics you can sink into add warmth and provide a beautiful visual contrast within a monochromatic color scheme.
- A Few Well-Chosen Pieces: When the Nordic style became more and more popular throughout the twentieth century, the Danish word hygge sprang up in descriptions of it, which refers to the homey, cozy mood of a house arranged with clean lines and sparing, practical decor in mind. Clutter has actually been revealed to increase stress, so don’t feel the need to add more furniture once your needs are met in a few ergonomic pieces you love.
Exterior Style Features
Today’s homes in Nordic countries are preceded by structures that housed seafaring Vikings: rugged, hardy people resourceful enough to thrive in a harsh climate. The functionality and strength of Viking longhouses are echoed in the enduring use of wood and stone in buildings to this day. The passing centuries have given pristine straight lines and hard edges to architecture for a modern look that still pays homage to elements of the past. After all, if it worked for the Vikings…
- Wood and Stone: Durable, timeless, and beautiful, wood is easily obtained in the dense northern forests and appeals to home buyers the world over. People want to see a tough, built-to-last facade that can be relied upon to keep out the cold.
- Minimalist Lines: A clean design keeps rugged homes modern and fresh. Particularly after World War II, Scandinavian design broke with old-world traditions of ornate adornments in favor of finding beauty in the simple and practical.
- Blending With Nature: A neutral color palette of earth tones with natural materials allows a home to become a welcome fixture within a beautiful forest landscape instead of a garish interruption of it. Predecessors didn’t merely shiver and withstand the cold; they figured out how to thrive, celebrating the land and what it gave them. Wood-based houses in colors found in nature prove that you don’t have to look far from what the earth has already provided to find inspiration for the most beautiful structures.
- Black With Neutral Colors: Black absorbs light and thus holds in heat, which is a great reason for northern homes to employ it and use the sun’s heat. Black or dark coloring for an exterior can easily be combined with an earth tone or light neutral for a beautifully stark contrast.
- Utilitarian: If you don’t want to jumble up the pristine lines that make your space seem clean and open like a breath of fresh air after a day’s work, you’ll want to make the things you do add to your space count and get the most out of them. Examples of Scandinavian room arrangements generally have a minimalist mood, yet still, achieve a homey look as opposed to seeming sparse. Perhaps the base of your coffee table or couch can be used as storage and unnecessary pieces could be pared down.
- Cozy: This is your living space, so your furniture should invite you to sink down into it instead of cause anxiety that too much use could ruin it. Fortunately, comfortable pieces built to last don’t have to be expensive. Opt for simple dining chairs of wood, metal, or plastic that are shaped for comfort. Invest in substantial layers for your bed reminiscent of your favorite sweaters that keep you toasty even in January.
- Sculpted: One reason it’s never boring to browse at IKEA is that you will always find functional products in interesting and unexpected shapes, whether it’s an artistically-curved chair or a chandelier that looks like a Dada exhibit piece. Adding a few well-placed items like these to a room introduces standout touches that draw the eye and add interest without bringing in clunky knick-knacks that don’t serve a purpose. The contrast of pairing sleek and modern furniture with chunky, nubby knits and fuzzy mohair throws will help round out space and keep it from feeling too curated. This kind of contrast creates a beautiful layering of styles and makes neutral colors rich and alluring.
Homy Casa set of 2 velvet and wood dining chairs
The simple design of these dining chairs doesn’t interrupt a modern, minimalist aesthetic even as the seat fabric says luxe and indulgent.
Beige linen cushion upholstered platform bed
Soft yet modern lines and tufted comfort in a go-with-everything beige make this bed perfect for a home dressed in natural hues, tasteful decor, and dreamy textures.
Industrial retro wall-mount iron pipe shelf
The industrial warehouse chic of these DIY shelves packs a lot of wow factor in an uncomplicated design. Mount the pipes from the floor or the ceiling.
Antique white 6-cube organizer
Store books, music, linens, or decorative items in 6 roomy cubes, each over one foot wide. The beautiful antique white finish brightens rooms and mixes with any color scheme.
Reversible winter white sherpa and velvet plush blanket
With fuzzy fleece on one side and a gleaming velvety print on the other, this comforter offers two textures and looks wrapped up in one cozy remedy for chilly weather.
- Wood: Traditionally, many homes in this region are made of wood. While sticking to tradition can seem dated, wood houses persist because they are beautiful and offer many practical benefits. Wood lends itself well to construction, is easy to insulate, lasts a long time, and can easily be sustainable. It is also cost-effective.
- Stone: Impenetrable and always gorgeous, stone formed the basis of many early Viking structures. While it can be pricey, the addition of stone makes for a striking presentation that pairs well with wood and other natural materials and lets a home blend into the wilds of the landscape.
- Concrete: Though it might seem cold and stark at first glance, concrete is beautifully minimalistic, sturdy, and unyielding. Its industrial look and grainy texture make for an attractive contrast with the sheen of windows, whether a generous sprinkling of small ones or several huge, dramatic panes. As far as shielding a family from the elements, it not only stands up against the weather but keeps out noise, drafts, and contaminants more efficiently than typical materials.
- Textures: Like paint on a canvas, seeing signs of the formation process behind a beautiful object makes it much more interesting, both visually and with the suggestion of creativity and workmanship. Corded knits, homespun wool, and fuzzy plush attract the eye and serve the very practical purpose of providing warmth even in cold climates.
- Contrast: The key to a tasteful home that looks clean, welcoming, and beautiful is to fill in bare space with homey comforts while staying away from gaudiness. Pairing contrasting colors effectively livens up a room while keeping it simple, artistic, and modern.
- Neutral Colors: Capturing the ambiance of freedom and refreshment you get from spending time outdoors and bringing it inside to your home is easier than you think. Take a cue from Nordic interior design and mimic the beauty of nature with warming amber and beige, restful grey, and bright, pure cream, with a few accents of muted floral tones. The impression these shades give is that a home’s materials could have come from nature, as opposed to busy, cheap-looking, manufactured things.
- Natural Light: People want to come in out of the cold to somewhere that’s open, airy, and fresh, so making the most of natural light boosts a home’s value and mood. The Scandinavian winter’s short days mean that windows need to be strategically placed, and fussy curtains and blinds only serve to detract from valuable sources of light. Windows tend to be left bare or have only minimal accents. Mirrors may also help spread natural light around an area.
Grey and white braided farmhouse table runner
Bring an eye-catching pattern in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the senses with this grey and white herringbone runner for your dining or coffee table. It measures 72 inches long and features fringed tassels on the ends.
Hand-carved wooden serving platter
Use this stunning wood serving dish for bread, appetizers, or just as a decor piece. The organic shape shows off the grain and knots in the wood.
Cylindrical wooden bedside table lamp
This chic light for your night table provides just enough glow for reading in a streamlined and inventive design. The medium shade of the wood blends in with any room.
Styles That Mix Well With It
One huge benefit of the simplicity and minimalism of the Scandinavian style is that it pairs well with everything. If you love global touches, the backdrop of gentle earthy shades and calming ivories make small accents of vibrant colors and patterns pop, allowing them to shine as special treasures picked up while globetrotting.
If you want to mix in some French country, wood is already right at home in the Scandinavian palette and cottage-friendly touches will blend in. Avant-garde and artsy additions easily fit with cool greys and neutral shades and will particularly boost the contrasting color factor.
Brief Historic Overview
As with many types of decor, Scandinavian style celebrates the beauty of its own climate even as it serves as a very functional response to it. People living in colder weather need a warm and comfortable place to curl up at the end of the day, furnished with streamlined, functional furniture and appliances in a color scheme inspired by nature.
The soft yet streamlined minimalism known as a Scandinavian style emerged in the early 1900s and steadily became popular, but really hit its stride after the two world wars. Its focus on simplicity and practicality was seductive to a world wanting to purge pre-war indulgence and excess. The glitz, glamour, and flash of Art Nouveau and Art Deco seemed out of place in a world reflecting on how to prevent atrocities of war in the future.
In response to social trends reflecting the rejection of aristocracy and class separation, a beautiful home no longer meant stocking pieces only the rich could afford. Contentment lay in well-made, quality pieces and trimming off the unnecessary, giving birth to the idea of hygge, a Danish term for serenity and satisfaction in the simple pleasures of one’s home.
Despite having their own challenges like long, dark winters, Nordic citizens needed only to look outside their doors to find beauty. They carried the nature-based colors, textures, materials, and peaceful state of mind indoors to create a refreshingly crisp and unfussy aesthetic.
With an enlightened focus on sustainability and green living coming near the end of the twentieth century, Scandinavian decor and design themes have seen a new resurgence of popularity, and IKEA’s thoughtful array of furniture, gadgets, and accent pieces–recognized worldwide–is just as much in demand now as ever before.
Why It Looks Great
Being at home should be all about tranquility and relaxation, our very own still point of the turning world. Leaving all the stress at work and really recharging in your own space is easy when ensconced in fleecy fabrics and a soothing natural palette.
Visitors to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark come back with stories of not only their own experience with the natural beauty of the forests, lakes, and fjords but also the appreciation for nature they noticed in the locals. It could be that they’re on to something: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden all ranked in the top 10 of the world’s happiest countries in 2019, despite fewer daily hours of sunlight being linked with depression.
Opting for a more natural look and feel for your space is one way of making your home a refuge, and paring down on unnecessary extras is another. If you need proof, browse through home decor catalogs or pictures of staged apartments and homes and you’ll find that the pros consider an overabundance of stuff a detriment. Delve into Scandinavian style and see what everyone’s talking about!