Scandinavian style
Interior design

Cozy minimalism, or Scandinavian style – characteristics and interior design ideas

Scandinavian style has been successfully hosted in Polish interiors for many years. Interior decorators appreciate it for its warmth and minimalism, which are easy to fit into virtually any home. As the name suggests, this style came to us from the North. What are the characteristics of the Scandinavian style?

Scandinavian style – what are its characteristics?

Many people have heard of Scandinavian style, but are not always quite sure what it is characterized by. Will it work well in modern homes and apartments, or is it better preserved for interiors in old townhouses, stylish cafes or old-school pubs? Over the past few years, the Scandinavian style has undergone several metamorphoses and thus developed from it the styles of Gustavian, folk, new Nordic or Scandi chic.

So as you can see, despite the fact that Scandinavian style is considered minimalist and straightforward, thanks to its many variations practically everyone will find elements in it created directly for themselves. The basic Scandinavian style is based on colors and materials as close to natural as possible. The interiors decorated in the “northern” style are dominated by white, gray, black. In turn, the dominant material is wood often combined with metal.

These elements make Scandinavian-style interiors look minimalist, are very harmonious, and invite light inside. Thanks to the predominance of white and gray walls all rooms appear larger. On the other hand, the additions of black make the interior more sublime and elegant. Bright colors do not appear in this style by accident – they are intended to brighten interiors which can sometimes lack natural sunlight.

History of Scandinavian style

The main base for this style is white. It is best to combine with the white of the walls bright floor, ceiling, and window woodwork. It’s also a good idea to keep the furniture in this tone. Although it may seem that white will create a feeling of coldness in the room, you should not be afraid of it. Properly “tamed” and warmed by accessories will create a cozy, bright interior, in which everyone will feel very good. In other varieties of Scandinavian style appear, in turn, slightly different details:

  • Gustavian style – it is characterized by the use of furniture and elements native to the time of Swedish King Gustav III. Also used are various textures and elements of Provence or taken from the shabby chic style.
  • folk style – there is an admixture of colorful elements made by hand, such as braided scarves or rugs.
  • new nordic – there are whitewashed floors and furniture with the addition of colorful elements, such as pillows placed on cream, white or gray sofas.
  • scandi chic – one of the latest offshoots of Scandinavian style. It appears elements of gold (especially rose gold), brass and glass.

History of Scandinavian style

Scandinavian style originated from the northerners’ love of nature and simplicity. Countries such as Sweden and Norway are associated with order, straightforwardness, minimalism, but also coolness, which Scandinavian style effectively levels. Scandinavian style was developed almost 90 years ago, as it was born in the 1930s in Denmark.

The full bloom of Scandinavian style is estimated to be in 1954-57, when it was presented in the United States. Scandinavian style from the beginning was intended to be accessible to everyone. There was a search for some universal principles that would work in many Scandinavian homes – so they relied, for example, on fairly expensive furniture that was mass-produced.

Pioneers of the Scandinavian style were Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton and Hans J. Wegner. Their works were guided by simplicity, minimalism, durability, reliability and perfect composition with natural materials and colors. It was to be a style that corresponds with nature, promoting a simple, modest life filled with respect for the surrounding world and nature.

Colors in Scandinavian style

The dominant colors in Scandinavian style are white, gray, cream and black. In its various variations, admixtures of yellow, bottle green, rose gold, powder pink, mint and blue are used. Light colors make rooms appear larger. In addition, white makes the interior appear clean, neat and elegant.

Not only the walls should be white. Light-colored panels, often whitewashed, are used on the floor. You can also paint the floor white or light gray. For floor finishes, the most common is high, white moldings. Wood in cooler tones may also appear.

Furniture is most often simple in form which uses open spaces or glazing. Bright walls and floors are sometimes worth breaking with intense colors, such as accessories in black – Scandinavian interiors do not have to be boring at all!They will not be a solution for everyone, but they will certainly be loved by people who like closeness to nature and take pleasure in daily household rituals.

Colors in Scandinavian style

What accessories for Scandinavian-style interiors?

Minimalism is the leitmotif of Scandinavian style, so accessories can’t be too many. However, it is common in Scandinavian style interiors to find gray curtains and floral wallpaper. Most common among the accessories are blankets, plaids, rugs and bedspreads in muted colors. These can be accessories made of twine, plaid or according to your own idea. The increasingly popular macrame will also fit this style. Accessories such as pillows and bedspreads usually have geometric stitching on them.

Also, walls inScandinavian style are not empty. There are various paintings, clocks, mirrors in simple, single-color frames. The same goes for paintings, which usually depict geometric patterns or elements of flora and fauna. You just need to remember to keep frames with a simple, minimalist shape, which is why we most often meet thin, black picture frames. Scandinavian style is also well suited to wooden and wicker accessories, such as tables, chests, woven baskets, for example, for laundry. The interior can also be enlivened by green plants, such as wingflower or monstera.

For whom Scandinavian style will work best?

Scandinavian style will work well for people who like bright, spacious rooms. It’s also a very good solution if you treat your home as your asylum and care primarily about comfortable rest. Scandinavian style is based on colors and materials that can be found naturally in nature, so they are definitely interiors recommended for people who like to spend time outdoors,for example. while taking walks or picking mushrooms.

A Scandinavian-style home will certainly include a lot of glazing, which will appeal to anyone who likes lots of light and the ability to open up the living room or dining room to the garden or terrace. This style is sure to appeal to families who do not collect things and do not like collecting unnecessary trinkets. The minimalist style assumes that you should buy things that are primarily practical, durable and simple, which will certainly not appeal to people who like glamor, crystal chandeliers and other shiny things. Scandinavian style is characterized by modesty and a practical approach to life – usually similar to its lovers.

Scandinavian style will work best

Scandinavian style advantages and disadvantages

It’s hard to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of Scandinavian style, because it’s not easy to discuss different tastes, but like any style this one also has strengths and weaknesses. Certainly the advantage of this style will be open spaces and bright colors, which make even a small apartment can gain additional meters. A house or apartment in this style can be finished and decorated quite quickly. In this style you will not find suspended ceilings or colored LED lights, so renovating rooms in Scandinavian style will be relatively quick, easy and cheap.

Some people, however, will find that this style is too simple and white walls will not create a pleasant, homey atmosphere. Some people also think that rooms dominated by white and gray are simply sad and…. boring! So a lot depends on the accessories used. Sometimes it is also believed that keeping clean rooms in Scandinavian style is very difficult – dirt can quickly appear on white furniture or sofas. However, Scandinavian style, despite the lack of ornamentation, can appeal, and additions in intense colors can add more life and joy to the room.

Scandinavian style furniture

Wood top, metal bed, gray curtains -these elements should all be found in interiors in Scandinavian style. The kitchen open to the living room should be simple, with cabinets preferably without handles or with those that are unobtrusive. The cabinets should be built-in so you can’t see what’s inside. Scandinavian-style furniture can be very expensive, especially if made entirely of solid wood.

Among the furniture created with simplicity and minimalism in mind, there are some real gems. These include armchairs and sofas on high legs, as well as simple tables, benches and coffee tables with a wooden top. It’s best if the grain is visible on the wooden furniture, testifying to the naturalness of the material used.

More and more popular are also furniture made of pallets which you can design and paint yourself. Especially on terraces or balconies you can set up seats, or tables from pallets. All Scandinavian furniture should be bright, stand on high legs, and have simple shapes and uncomplicated body.

What kind of lighting with Scandinavian style?

Lighting is a very important part of any room. It should not only be decorative, but also serve a number of functions. It is best to plan the lighting already at the stage of designing the room. Scandinavian style prefers simple standing lamps, bedside and desk lamps and pendant lighting. Usually you won’t find sconces in it. Scandinavian lamps give a lot of light, but they should be very discreet at the same time.

Particularly in the kitchen there should be plenty of points of light to facilitate daily food preparation. It is popular to place low pendant lamps above the table to illuminate it for dining. Ceiling lamps should be small, with finishes consistent with the overall Scandinavian style color scheme. It is good to use point lighting. Lamps with a bulb surrounded by a metal structure, for example, in the form of a cube, will also do quite well.

The light should be bright and white, certainly not yellow so as not to introduce unnecessary disharmony. In the bedroom, you can bet on slightly lowered pendant lamps, such as paper, wicker or metal. The standing lamp in the living room can serve both a decorative and practical function by illuminating, for example. armchair where you read books.

lighting with Scandinavian style

Scandinavian style interior design ideas


Scandinavian style bedroom is a place where the main role is played by King Size bed, so it will be good if the bedroom is fairly spacious. It is also very good if the room has a lot of windows – however, if the amount of incoming light is limited, it is a good idea to provide light as close to the natural one as possible.

The bedroom should have a wooden or metal bed on high legs. The headrest in a Scandinavian bed can be wooden or upholstered. Upholstery of gray, turquoise or blue will stand out very nicely against the light wall. Imposed on the bed are cushions, plaids and blankets which, seemingly left there carelessly, create a distinctive whole.

Side of the bed it is worth setting a bedside table, on which you can put medicines, set an alarm clock or a small plant on it. To add intimacy and more warmth to the bedroom, you can put a small carpet on the floor, and cover the windows with gray curtains. In a Scandinavian-style bedroom, a TV or other RTV equipment is unnecessary. The bedroom is primarily to be a place of rest and allow you to find daily harmony.


Kitchen in Scandinavian style is usually white with wooden accessories. Here you need to consider not only the colors of cabinets and appliances, but also the tiles you choose for the floor and wall sections between cabinets. Both kitchens with and without an island are designed.

The kitchen should be, above all, practical. It is important to design space for a large number of cabinets so that everything can be buried in them. Any items left on the countertop should be cleaned up. Full cabinets without openings should dominate those with empty space or glass. It is worth installing under the top line of cabinets LED lighting which can be activated in the evening to give the interior a unique atmosphere.

Home appliance manufacturers are increasingly offering appliances for which white color is not a typical color: for example, induction cookers or ovens. Such equipment blends better with white cabinets. The kitchen can be either open to the living room or closed. In turn, curtains are not hung in the windows, they should remain empty.

Walls are best finished with light-colored tiles and painted white. Tiles can be rectangular in shape, as well as consist of larger pieces. It is worth betting on a wooden countertop in a natural wood color, so that it stands out from the cabinets and other elements.

Scandinavian style in the kitchen

The living room

The Scandinavian style living room is a place where the whole family can spend time. It should be large enough for everyone to find a comfortable place in it. In the living room, the main place should be a sofa, complete with armchairs and a coffee table or bench on high legs. Next to the seats there can also be wicker poufs in which you can hide something inside or leave a newspaper on them, for example.

The living room furniture can be made of birch, pine and ash. It is worth looking for older furnishings made of the best quality wood, which may be lying in the basement, garage or attic of multi-generational houses. They don’t even need to be subjected to complicated renovation. A slightly shabby, but refreshed bedside table or coffee table (for example, polished with sandpaper) will fit perfectly into a Scandinavian-style living room.


Scandinavian style bathroom is an interior that is also dominated by minimalism. This style is the perfect solution for small rooms. Bright colors will add space even to a very small bathroom. For contrast, a wall lined with bright or white tiles, for example, can be juxtaposed with a black and white floor to give the interior some character. The bathtub or toilet can be built in with tiles imitating wood.

Because of the high humidity in bathrooms, it is worth betting on very good quality finishing materials and forgo natural wood which can swell in contact with water. A Scandinavian-style bathroom can have both a shower and a bathtub. However, in order to be able to relax better, many people opt for a bathtub, where you can relax and take long hot baths.

The bathroom should also include white fixtures. It is better to bet on ornamental glass than to cover it up with blinds or shutters. It is also worth introducing into the bathroom elements made of string, linen or wool. A bathroom decorated in this way will be the quintessence of Scandinavian style.

Interior decorator with 6 years of experience. She loves Scandinavian and Boho style. She loves to spend her evenings on the couch, under a blanket, reading a book with her cat Theodore.