Scandi style 101: how to embrace Scandinavian decor in your home
Are you looking to create a timeless Scandi style home? Here's everything you need to know about the iconic decor scheme
When it comes to décor, there is perhaps nothing more timeless than Scandi style. While most interior trends have dipped in and out of fashion over time, the clean yet cosy feel of Scandinavian design always looks fresh.
Characterised by its use of clean lines, light-reflecting colours and comforting natural textures, Scandi style strikes a perfect balance between minimalism and cosiness, functionality and beauty. It champions creating spaces that allow your mind to feel calm - something we all crave - and also has the advantage of being accessible to all budgets, thanks to the fact that it requires very little cash to starting creating the look in your own home.
We could chat for hours about our love of this iconic décor style, but why not take a look yourself? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about Scandi style, plus how to achieve an authentic Scandinavian look in your own home.
What is Scandi style?
Put simply, Scandi style - sometimes called Nordic style - is a type of décor originating in Scandinavia, the region encompassing Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
Finland and Iceland are not part of Scandinavia, although they do belong to the wider Nordic region, and many designers would argue that their influences can be easily identified in modern day Scandi design.
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Characterised by its minimalist lines, bright neutral tones that reflect light and a noticeable lack of clutter, it favours open, airy spaces and incorporates elements of nature to create a scheme that feels calming, tranquil and functional.
Scandi furniture has similar shapes to mid-century modern designs, but differs in that it favours the paler woods native to the region, such as birch. The classic Scandi home is uncluttered and simple, it also aims to bring about feelings of hygge –cosiness, comfort and wellness – and has a strong focus on sustainability and quality over throwaway culture.
During the cold, winter months, Scandinavian countries have very limited hours of natural daylight. In the depths of winter, for instance, Stockholm will have as little as five and a half hours of sunlight, so every element of a Scandinavian home is designed to maximise the feeling of light.
When you’re picking your own Scandi-inspired colour palette, remember: a traditional Scandinavian home will feel comforting and cosy, but open and airy at the same time. To achieve an authentic look, combine layers of light but snug soft furnishings with white or off-white walls, light or whitewashed wooden floors and light-coloured furniture.
It’s worth noting that Scandinavian spaces tend to be monochromatic too, meaning they span a range of white, grey and black. Opt for a backdrop of calming white, with natural wood furnishings and darker accents for a slick, coherent look.
That doesn't mean you are limited to a monochrome palette - just remember that Scandi style is heavily inspired by nature and inject a little colour with warm brown woods, earth-toned accessories, and houseplants.
Scandi style lighting
If there’s one thing a Scandi style home can’t be without, it’s lighting. While Scandinavian homes will often have light reflecting colours from floor to ceiling, additional sources of light are key to achieving that snug sense of hygge.
Although great overhead lighting is essential, an authentic Scandi home will often see at least many different light sources present in each room due to low levels of natural light.
If you want to achieve a Scandi-inspired lighting scheme in your own home, opt for warm white lights and think outside the box when it comes to light placement. Use lamps to create inviting pools of light in reading nooks, add LED strips to the bottom of cabinets and style fairy lights along shelves to fill your home with a comforting golden glow.
Scandi style living room
Scandi decor is ideal for a living room, and certainly easier to style than in a kitchen or bathroom. Thanks to its uncomplicated but comforting look, it’s the perfect option to create a living space that's both functional and calming.
To introduce a Scandi look into your own living room, first create an open and airy base by using light, neutral colours on the walls and flooring. If you want to add extra texture and depth, check out our guide to colourwashing a wall.
As budget allows, add squishy sofas, wooden chairs and uncomplicated coffee tables, and accessorise with simple, stripped back decorative elements like lamps and vases – soft black accessories work particularly well, in moderation.
Add plenty of natural touches, such as plants, natural grasses, branches, and stacks of wood, and if you can, try to keep windows as clear as possible. If you do want some type of window covering, light, flowing voile curtains will let as much light through as possible. Add neutral rugs and throws for extra warmth, and don’t forget plenty of storage solutions, hidden or otherwise, to minimise clutter.
Finish the look with some monochrome artwork and add a few more light sources for good measure – you can’t go wrong with twinkling fairy lights.
Scandi style bedroom
The typical Scandi style bedroom combines light reflecting neutral tones and unfussy furniture to create a peaceful space that’s perfect for winding down.
As with any other room, the key to creating the perfect Scandinavian bedroom is sticking to clean lines and a limited colour palette. Different tones of white work well, as do neutrals, but if you wish, you can add in a dash of soft colour sparingly with soft pastel accessories.
If you’re lucky enough to have real wooden flooring in your home, keep this bare or add a lick of off white chalk paint. If not, check out affordable alternatives like wood effect laminate or vinyl can work really well, or use large, light rugs to brighten up the space.
Next, opt for simply designed but practical furniture that won’t overwhelm your space. A basic pine bedframe can act as a base base for lots of cosy blankets, throws and bedding layers, but ottoman beds are also great from a storage perspective.
Rustic accents, such as distressed wood benches, look great at the end of a Scandi style bed, and faux fur rugs can add a snug feel. Accessorise with lamps and fairy lights to give your space a welcoming glow.
Scandi style ideas
In need of some more Scandi style inspiration? Check out our favourite Scandinavian decor ideas in the gallery below!
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Looking for more home inspiration? Have a browse through our style guides to find the right decor look for you!
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.