9 Characteristics Of Scandinavian Minimalist Interior Design

minimalist living spaceScandinavian interior design is without a doubt a beautiful style of minimalist style décor.

Given that northern Europeans are often frugal in nature it makes sense why Scandinavian design is often minimalist in nature.

Untimely this interior design style is largely an outcome of the environment of these countries. After all, in the relatively cold climates of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, people often put emphasis on living frugally and simply as sort of a survival mechanism. For these countries inhabitants, spending excessively to the point where funds are dangerously low to heat living space and purchase necessities through the coldest months of the year is dangerous. In turn, living below your means is a necessity.

What does this mean for interior design? Well, it appears that minimalist Scandinavian design reflects this state of frugality, but in one of the most artistic and aesthetically pleasing ways possible.

Here you can discover some of the key characteristics of Scandinavian minimalist interior design. 

Good lighting

lights string

Scandinavian design puts a big emphasis on incorporating both natural light and artificial light to bring warmth and clarity to your living space.

Given that large unrestricted windows in open living spaces are a staple of Scandi style, the natural light, of course,e follows naturally. Blinds and shades are fine but filling your living space with tons of unrestricted natural light from large windows is good practice.

Of course, other lighting solutions are also encouraged as well. Candles, in particular, are a unique lighting solution to Scandinavian countries that create a warm ambiance for your living space. Electric lighting solutions with light amber shades of light is another excellent way to achieve this effect.

Graphic patterns

pillow and chair

Basic graphic patterns are a great way to add an element of modern decoration to your living area. These patterns don’t need to be overly complicated either. A simple zig zag design across some drapes or a carpet can really bring your space to life.

You don’t need to overdo it with the graphic patterns either. Given that these designs are usually found on a pillow here or a curtain there, nice little accents such as these are all you need to bring some artistic character to your room.

Neutral colors


Because of the minimalist nature of Scandinavian design, bright or intense color schemes are not typically popular. Instead, Scandinavian design often features neutral colors such as gray, beige, white, black and faded shades of other colors.

It is also important to note that Scandinavians also prefer extremely light shades of color as well. Due to the dark winters of the Scandinavian countries, colors on the light side are much more practical to illuminate the living space as much as possible. In turn, white is one of the most featured colors in many Scandinavian living spaces.

Incorporating plants


Although incorporating natural elements, in general, is always recommended for Scandinavian design, potted plants are a great way to achieve an authentically natural look to your living space.

It doesn’t take too many potted plants to achieve this effect either. A stone vase with a small shrub on the counter or a plant of larger size in the corner of the living room will do.

It can help to select particularly low maintenance plants such as snakeroot since plants like these can add a decorative touch without being too much of a hassle to deal with. Of course, using contemporary style plant pots is also important as well. 

Cozy but not cluttered

cozy couch

One essential feature of Scandinavian style living spaces is the “comfy” element. This is understandable given that the design style developed in an area of freezing cold temperatures.

In turn, Scandinavian interior design often involves various sheepskins, knitwear, and leather to create a cozy impression.

One of the easiest ways to give off a nice cozy Scandinavian feel to your home is to make good use of candles. Not only will they make your house smell great but they also give off a warm vibe to your living area.

Keep in mind that although Scandinavian design is often considered “cozy” it still is minimalist in nature. In other words, a few sheepskin rugs here and there is find but you don’t need to go overboard hanging animal pelts over every piece of furniture.

Quirky design elements

desk and photos

One unique feature of Scandinavian interior design is the use of artistic or quirky decoration.

For instance, an abstract sculpture on a coffee table and be a subtle yet intriguing way to add character to your living room.

Modern paintings with decorative graphic design are another way to spice up your living space with unique decoration.

However, you don’t necessarily need to have decorations to add this design aspect to your living space. Artistically designed modern furniture can do just the trick as well.

Eco friendly materials and energy efficiency

eco friendly

Scandinavian countries, for the most part, are big on going green. In turn, energy efficiency is a major part of Scandinavian interior design. Many of these homes are design to use as little energy as possible and many Scandinavians also take the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

This means that practices such as using as much natural light as possible and using candlelight as well to save energy are common. Using wood fireplaces to save on heating as well is a staple of Scandinavian living. Of course, candles and fireplaces both help to achieve the authentic cozy feeling.

Light flooring

scandinavian floors

One particularly unique feature of Scandinavian interior design is light-toned flooring. Using bleached colored wood as well as light tile are both common ways in which Scandinavians can achieve this effect.

In the darkest months of the winter, a light colored floor can make a world of difference in the lighting of your living space as the Scandinavians have discovered.

Natural elements


Scandinavian design often features furniture made from natural building materials. For instance, stone and wood are commonly used for furniture.

Keep in mind, however, that although natural materials are often utilized, the design of the furniture is still often modern. Picture IKEA style furniture for instance.

Interestingly enough, modern style furniture with natural elements can create a simultaneously contemporary and cozy feel to your living space.

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