Guide to Scandinavian-Inspired Interior Design

Looking to bring a cosy and clean look to your home? Scandinavian-themed design might be what you need!

Scandinavian design is characterised by natural, minimalist style. Simplicity and clean lines are valued, as are uncluttered spaces free of unnecessary ornamentation.

From this you see that function is also a focus. Furniture and objects have to serve a purpose aside from being aesthetically pleasing. This leads to a preference for quality craftsmanship, where objects have to be as durable as they are attractive.

Finally, the Scandinavian theme invokes “hygge”. Pronounced “hoo-gah”, this Danish concept translates to cosiness and comfort, where spaces are designed to be warm and welcoming to promote contentment.

If you feel like trying out this approach to decoration, you’re on the right page. We’ll show you the foundations of a Scandinavian-inspired interior design scheme that will make your home feel like a cosy yet functional retreat!

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_Interior design of ethnic living room with modern commode

1. Neutral colors for Scandinavian style 

Scandinavian interiors often use a palette of neutral and light colors – think of hues like white, beige, and grey. The light shades create a clean backdrop for your furniture, and may also promote a calm and relaxing environment.

These colours also help to emphasise the sense of cleanliness and space Scandinavian style offers. Plus, they help to reflect light, which keeps spaces bright without being overwhelming.

We’ve actually seen many clients apply this to their living spaces using several of our neutral-coloured rugs. Many of them do so with our textured rugs, like the Grid rug from our Supertextures Collection

The point of doing this, of course, is to ensure that switching to a neutral colour scheme doesn’t render the rug lifeless. With a three-dimensional pattern, even a muted rug can offer visual interest – all while fitting into Scandinavian design.

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_Minimalist concept of dining room interior with wooden family table

2. Crafting Scandinavian Interior with Natural Materials

Scandinavian interior design also uses a lot of natural materials such as wood, wicker, and leather. These materials soften the clean, almost Spartan lines of the style and add warmth as well as texture.

For example, you’ll notice that Scandinavian furniture is usually made of natural timber and other natural materials like wool. The themes in their designs are also easy to identify: simplicity, minimalism, and restraint.

Generally, by the way, you’ll see classic Scandinavian furniture-makers preferring light woods like oak, pine, and spruce. That being said, it’s perfectly possible to use darker woods too – though it’s usually done sparingly!

In any case, wood furniture is generally good for helping you set a Nordic tone in your furnishings. Modern furniture is largely preferred, although you can also see some vintage pieces fitting quite well in something like a Scandinavian living room.

The latter tends to happen only if the pieces aren’t very ornate or highly carved pieces. That’s because Scandinavian design tends towards less embellishment, as we’ve already explained.

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_Beige wall. Minimalist home decor

3. Keep it simple for scandinavian living room

As we just said, Scandinavian interiors are known for their minimalism. As such, you want to keep your furniture and accessories simple to emulate it. 

It may be worth noting the difference between Scandinavian minimalism and minimalism as a general approach, by the way. Ultimately, the main difference between the two comes down to materials and impressions. 

The former prefers more natural and organic materials as well as textures. Think wood, woven fabrics and material, and so on.

By comparison, minimalism uses “harder”, inorganic materials more often. That means steel and chrome have more of a presence in it.

The difference may be due to “hygge”, which we explained earlier. With hygge, Scandinavian design still aims for a sense of comfort even as it pares down to the elements – and touches of nature and softness are often a source of comfort for us. 

Minimalist design has no such aim, and can thus go for less comforting materials like the ones we described earlier. This leads to it seeming colder as well as more sterile.

At any rate, you can achieve modern Scandinavian interior design if you avoid clutter and unnecessary decorations. Go for a clean but warm theme, and make the most of both your space and light by obstructing neither.

This cleanliness and its calming, open appeal is a big part of why Scandinavian design is so popular, actually. It clearly says there’s space for you to come in and make yourself at home – yet it never appears uninvitingly cold.

So, focus on putting together a space where you can go or move about without running into a tonne of obstacles. Doing this can actually get you started on a solid base for Scandinavian interior design.

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_View of tripod lamp in a cozy living room spending warm light

4. Lighting the way, Accentuating Coziness in Living space  

Lighting is essential to Scandinavian interior design. 

In the daytime, Scandinavian homes usually just rely on making the most of what natural light is available. But for the darker hours, you want to get warm, soft lighting that makes you feel cosy instead of spotlighted. 

A good tip when trying to achieve Scandinavian lighting is to break down large spaces into smaller ones through light. Creating zones with their own individual identities will help to increase the sense of generosity and variety in a room. 

Consider adding floor lamps or interesting hanging lights to your space if it’s still too shadowed, for example. Try to highlight the clean lines of the room without shining a stark spotlight on it.

This means you should focus on light sources providing diffuse, warm illumination. Look for ones that have dimmers or whose light is more of a glow than a blast of brightness.

Shades can do a lot to help here, especially if you’re mostly using floor and table lamps. Use ones with a neutral shade for best results, of course.

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_Stylish beige color bedroom with bed

5. Echo the core themes wherever possible

By this, we mean that you should try to consider the themes of Scandinavian style in every item, furnishing, or accessory you add to your home. It can do a lot to keep the look consistent, which is how you establish a style.

Think about the elements we’ve already mentioned: cleanliness of line, simplicity of shape, minimalism of embellishment, and clarity of function.

A good example here would be rugs. Scandinavian decor often uses them and you can do the same while considering all of the elements we listed.

For example, you could look at getting things like jute, wool, or even cotton rugs to add more natural-material textures to a room and echo other furnishings you already have that use those materials.

Or you could get a rug dominated by neutral colours like the ones we mentioned earlier, perhaps to lighten up the look of a room with dark wood flooring. This also helps the base match the rest of your Scandinavian furniture better.

You can even use a rug with a subtle pattern in inoffensive neutrals to make a room more interesting. By choosing rugs that aren’t overwhelming in either pattern or colour, you can retain the Scandinavian character of your decor without producing a flat room.

Rugmaker_Blog-Piece_Modern interior of open space with design

6. Incorporating Greenery into Your Scandinavian Living Space

Finally, don’t forget to bring a touch of nature to your space by adding some flora! Scandinavians love decorating with plants and flowers because they create a fresh and vibrant atmosphere, which is essential in Scandinavian inspired design.

This may be due to the dramatic differences between seasons in Nordic countries. The resurgence of flora during spring and summer is of great import in countries that see harsh winters – so greenery and the life it heralds is always prized. Nature inspired Nordic countries’ design preferences in this way!

You can start with something as simple as a vase on your dining table. If you want something even more utility-focused, try picking up some small potted herbs! Not only do they look great but they give you access to fresh herbs from your window sill.

You can also try picking up popular options like Ficus, Snake, Monstera, and Aloe Vera plants. All of them fit beautifully in Scandinavian interiors due to their intriguing leaf shapes and vivid green tones standing out against neutral backgrounds.

Let us help you complete your Scandinavian-design project!

The tips above should help you get started decorating in the Scandinavian style. If you’re looking for the finishing touch, consider what we said before about items like rugs echoing your core themes. We can even make custom ones for you!

At The Rug Maker, we’ve used our extensive experience to craft countless bespoke rugs that are not only locally designed but also locally developed. Through it all, we pay close attention to each client’s needs, from design to function.

If you’re interested in that, contact us. We can design and make your own custom rug for your first home with the perfect, Scandinavian-style look and feel, and we’ll even give you more decor tips along the way!