As the name suggests, Scandinavian interior design style originated in the Nordic countries of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Greenland in the late 19th Century. This style was born out of the intense Scandinavian winters that demanded efficiency and a sense of warmth to drive away the seasonal gloominess.
From its humble roots back then, Scandinavian style has been refined to become a preeminent, international interior design style today. Scandinavian design is arguably one of the easiest styles to pull off owing to its simplistic, minimalist philosophy. Yet, it calls for discipline to avoid clutter and an eye for practicality.
As far as Scandinavian is concerned, quality supersedes quantity, and parsimony is intertwined with sophistication. No wonder many of its enthusiasts are consumed by the modesty and ingeniousness of this style.
Living rooms are essentially the heart of any home, and more so when it is drenched in Nordic goodness. Today we put the Scandinavian living room in its rightful place under the spotlight.
We want to share 10 captivating and easy-to-implement Scandinavian living room design ideas:
One of the key features of Scandinavian design is the maximization of natural light—a rare commodity in Nordic countries. Since there could be as little as seven daylight hours in these Nordic countries, the Scandinavian living room is all about allowing as much natural light as possible. It aims to bring outside nature indoors through natural lighting.
Thus, translucent window treatment is deployed to the strategically placed windows to ensure natural light illuminates into the living room. Think about placing a mid century modern bench next to your window area. Additionally, you can utilize the unique lamps designed by Paul Henningsen, such as the Artichoke lamp, to supplement natural light and accentuate your design.
Scandinavian furniture is distinctively clean in form with rounded edges. There is a wide array of timeless and iconic furniture that you can pick from. Designed by celebrated gurus such as Arne Jacobsen, Charles Eames, and Noguchi, these iconic pieces are worth investing in.
It may seem like an expensive commitment, but you’ll soon realize it well worth your wallet. A mid century modern sofa will easily serve as a focal point. Then you can build the rest of the room around your sofa.
In the dining room, keep the furniture simple. Mid century chairs like the Eames Molded plywood dining chair and a floating storage buffet will enrich your space while remaining minimalist.
As with any neutral style, greenery in the form of natural plants is always a welcome addition. Indoor plants are especially suited for a Scandinavian living room. Thanks to photosynthesis, plants improve the quality of air in your interior. They thus serve both an aesthetic and functional role in your living room. Boston fern, Aloe or English ivy are some of the plants you can go for. Remember to plan well and place them strategically in an appropriate vase.
The beauty of going Nordic in your living room is not only cutting down on excessive décor, but you’ll open the doors to an unlimited world of exciting yet elegant accents laced with bursts of colorful hues.
Keeping in mind the simplicity of this style, use colors in small bursts or bright hues—as in a gallery style. These small colorful accents will instantly steal the show.
Remember color is always kept to a bare minimum, especially when it comes to the backdrop. Generally, the walls will be painted white. You can break this seeming monotony by introducing colorful art. True, it is seldom found in a Scandinavian living room. But to get it right, introduce them in graphic multiples. Keep the arrangement fairly conventional and neat.
You can also think of adding sculptural art pieces to your living room. And remember, candles are the hallmark of a Scandinavian living room. Let these come with simple brass candleholders. These accessories will go a long way to making the space organic, vivid, and stylish.
Scandinavian design appreciates nature in your living room. There always has to be an element of nature. One of the most basic of these elements is natural wood. It goes without saying that the tree is considered “sacred” in Scandinavian countries.
From the wooden floor to the sofas and chair, you will always find nature in a Scandinavian living room. Consider artistically combining wood with other elements such as soft materials, white colors, and clean forms to create a uniquely bright and relaxed atmosphere typical of the Scandinavian design.
Scandinavian design is reputable for its simple, clean-lined furniture and minimalist color schemes, especially the neutral shades of white and grey. Such a setup could easily run the risk of feeling cold and uninviting. So how can you spruce up your space?
You can add some shades of specific colors that complement these neutrals. For instance, you can have a yellow custard pillowcase or a navy-blue swan loveseat by Arne Jacobsen.
Or else you could include a striking wall hanging and a cozy mix of textures—the sheepskin throw and kilim rug—to add warmth into your living room to make it feel welcoming.
The idea is to spice your living room with cozy accents and sleek modern furniture to add variety while remaining minimalist.
One of the hallmarks of Scandinavian living room design is the use of high contrasts. This can be achieved by playing with color. For instance, the skillful blend of white and black elements creates a dramatic Scandinavian living room.
On the other hand, specific elements can be used to highlight this contrast. Modern furniture, for example, can be placed to contrast with the ornate architectural details of historic interiors.
When it comes to Scandinavian floors, wood is the most common material. Carpet never quite took off with this style. So in keeping with the tradition, opt for wooden floors in your living room such as warm pine.
However, this doesn’t mean that you are not limited. Tiles in neutral or earthy, stony colors could serve you as well. And for larger living rooms, you could choose to add a Scandinavian design area rug to add flair and warmth.
Finally, you could combine the traditional Scandinavian style with other renowned international styles to create a superbly unique living room. A brilliant idea is to fuse with mid century modern style. Here’s why: both of these two styles borrow heavily from one another and therefore can be combined effortlessly.
For instance, you can introduce mid century modern furniture, such as the Eileen Gray’s Bibendum chair, in a Scandinavian living room to give it a fun little twist. Another idea of fusion is drawing some inspiration from the amazing Isamu Noguchi designs and craft your version of Far East–Scandinavian combo.
So there you have it: 10 Scandinavian living room design ideas that you can adopt in your space. The philosophy of Scandinavian design is the careful combination of simple elements to achieve a natural balance. Its distinctive use of natural elements, sleek furniture, and light colors to create pleasing and inviting living rooms are unique to Scandinavian.
With a masterful blend of textures, contrasts and soft hues, Scandinavian design is unique in its restraint in décor flamboyance yet delivers a warm, cozy, and inviting space.
Undoubtedly, Scandinavian design is one among the most elegant and aesthetically pleasing styles you can incorporate into your living room.