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Is the widespread ‘Scandinavian style’ on magazines, high street shops and social media a true representation of how the Scandinavians live today? Are the stark white, uncluttered, monochromatic scheme with some well placed functional furniture and natural elements all its about Scandinavian style? Let's find out.

Modern, clean aesthetic open plan living and kitchen
Image credit: Swedish Design Museum

Hello, if you are new here, welcome to my blog. My name's Monica, an Interior Designer and owner of The Pallet House with a great passion for anything related with home. Today, as mentioned above, I will talk about the Scandi style and if this widespread way of living is the really way Scandinavians live in their countries.

During the Mid Century Modern period (MCM) many Scandinavian designers and architects like Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen made “Danish modern” an internationally popular style, according to John Pile (A History of Interior Design). That was the era when the Scandinavian style started to get out of the Nordic countries and spread around the world. Although they share some similarities the Scandinavian style favour more bright and airy spaces than the MCM.

Scandinavian style is focused on clean, simple lines, minimalism and functionality without losing the beauty of home decoration.

What makes the Scandinavian style so aesthetically pleasing is the lack of clutter. You won’t find any superfluous items hanging around the room and every item will have its own place and purpose. Keeping decor items to its essentiality and creating storage solutions that will keep clutter at bay are the main elements of Scandi design.

The whole style brings a sense of calm and relaxation into the space with the natural touch of the outdoors that brings warmth and comfort. In Scandinavian homes you will find wood flooring and light wood furniture complemented by live plants to emphasise the Scandinavians’s love for the outdoors.

The colour scheme rely heavily on very light neutral tones with plenty of whites and pops of warm tan and black, but this minimal style doesn’t have to be devoid of colour though, you can enhance the scheme with blush pink and light greyish-blue. Keeping the overall space monochromatic and adding the colours in accent pieces to play around with the whole scheme.

The description above is what we will find in most magazines, blogs, online shops and websites when they talk about the Scandinavian style. But let us compare with the images from the Swedish Design Museum, where they have a current curated online collection of home designs in Sweden.

Looking at the images above, this living room has clean and simple lines on furniture, accessories and the glass door to the play room. Decor items are displayed beautifully and they are kept to standard amount, not so minimalistic as one would image. The colour scheme is soft and relaxing, but not stark white everywhere. The play room has the toys accessible but at the same time they are not a distracting mess. In general its aesthetically pleasing, clutter free, with a relaxing mood with a soft colour scheme. Scandinavian spot on.

Because winter in the Scandinavian countries are so harsh the importance of creating a cozy and warm atmosphere in their dwelling is paramount. The use of chunky knit blankets, cozy rugs, faux fur and inviting texture create the warm Scandi design so well known. In short Scandinavian design is a minimalist individual with a warm soul, because it brings comfort, relax your body and mind without the clutter and makes you feel happier.

All images above are from the Swedish Design Museum, from real homes in the Scandinavian countries. They are a true representation of the current Interior Design trends on those countries. And as you can see, it's not just about being minimalistic, devoid of colours and the cool feel of the colour scheme, but a combination of elegance, home feel, clutter control and a relax calm atmosphere around the house that bring in happiness and comfort.

Are you trying to create the Scandinavian style in your home but you feel the space is cold and uninviting? Do you feel is devoid of style and character? Or maybe your are struggling to keep the clutter in control. Don't despair, follow a few steps to add a warm feel and how to control the clutter without being a totally organiser freak.


Dining room with pops of yellow and black
Credit: Wix
Add some pop of colour to your monochrome scheme, you can use soft and/or muted tones like blush pink, blue/grey, yellow, and top it up with some accent in black.

My favourite colours from Lick Pro


Neutral scheme with cotton rugs
Credit: Wix
If you have wood flooring, layer it with some soft cozy rugs, that will create warm to the touch and to the atmosphere of the space.


Wool blankets on a bench
Credit: Adam Curtis

Bring in some wool knit blankets for you sofa, bed or chair. These are great as decorative elements with texture and also to wrap yourself on a chilli evening.


Modern chair with a sheepskin on top
Credit: Unsplash

A sheepskin rug (faux or real) that you can throw on your chair is also a great texture element that will bring warm and coziness. You can use on a desk chair to add some extra comfort and softness, or to a dining chair to soften the hard surface.


Big large fidle leaf fig
Credit : Beards & Daisies

Live plants are essential in the Scandinavian style, but if you feel that you won't be able to take care of them, a faux plant will just do the trick. The idea is to bring the green inside to create that natural feel.


Shelving organization
Credit: Wix

Last but not least, conquer the clutter with style. Follow the advice of Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin from The Home Edit (Netflix series and their book) and you will be able to get a grip of the clutter in a beautiful stylish way.

I hope these steps can help you to achieve the Scandinavian look in your home in an achievable way, but you feel the need of some help, even if it's just a virtual consultation, please get in touch or book your slot online We also have eDesign Pack for Interior design projects.

Some products I feature in this post has been independently selected by myself as my favourites. If you make a purchase using the links included, I may earn commission.

Thank you for supporting my small business.

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