The Basics of Scandinavian Style and How to Pull It Off

The Basics of Scandinavian Style and How to Pull It Off

You may not have noticed, but the Scandinavian design style is literally everywhere. From your favourite design blogs to the background of the influencers you follow, and in the maze-like showrooms of IKEA.

You may have already come across this style before and thought to yourself, “what does the Scandinavian aesthetic really mean?”

Well, for starters, bright or neutral whites, muted colours, hints of wood and other natural elements are the hallmarks of Scandinavian design. This perfect blend of colours and textures is what makes this style so appealing and so timeless.

This style is also popular for its warm and minimalist nature. It captures a sense of calm that makes you just want to curl up and relax after a long day at work.

If you desperately need to update your space to make it feel cosier and more inviting, Scandi could be the right style for you. In this piece, we’re going to help pull it off in your humble abode.

But first, here’s a little refresher.


A brief history of the style

As you may already know, Scandi is characterised by clean, natural light, warm, cosy, and minimalist spaces. And it has a lot to do with the climate and the natural environment in Scandinavia where the style hails from.

In Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, winter seasons can be extremely unforgiving. That’s why most homes are purposely designed to feel warm and cosy as much as possible.

This is achieved by bringing in more natural light and bouncing it off throughout the house by keeping a light and natural colour palette in the space.

Also, Scandinavians love the outdoors when the weather is a little kind. This deep affection for nature is reflected in this style as well.

It’s no wonder why bare wood, indoor plants, and natural textures like wool and cotton are must-have elements if you’re going for this theme.

While there are no exact details of when and where the design movement actually started, the term “Scandinavian design” was first coined around the 1950s when it was introduced and made rounds in Canada and the USA. 

Then it only took off from there.

Nowadays, the Scandinavian design is the go-to style by homeowners who want a minimalistic and elegantly pleasing aesthetic for their homes.


Scandi vs minimalism, what’s the difference?

With both styles hating on clutter, it’s easy to get lost in translation and assume that they’re synonymous with each other.

While it’s true that Scandinavian design also uses a minimalistic approach, there’s still a whole world of difference between Scandi and minimalism.

Scandinavian design is deeply rooted in functionality and simplicity. However, it doesn’t require you to throw away all your material possessions and strip your lifestyle down to a limited number of essentials only.

You still get to keep some of the stuff you hold dear as long as they can provide value to the space.

Minimalism, on the other hand, is more of a philosophical and spiritual approach to design.

Inspired by the Japanese Zen ideology, the goal of minimalism is to create simple and almost empty spaces. Being free of unwanted clutter is seen as a resistance to bigger issues like materialism and consumerism. But that’s for another day.

Both styles certainly have similarities and differences. It will all just come down to your preferences and what works for your space.


Is Scandinavian design for you?

Just like most design styles, the Scandinavian aesthetic is not for everybody. Although it’s fairly easy to pull off, the last thing you want to do is to give it a try and then end up not liking it in the long run.

Scandi is not for you if…

- You love bright, loud colours that pop

- Dark and moody spaces are your thing

- You collect antique stuff with lots of ornaments, detailed work, and traditional designs

If these things best describe you, then going Scandi should be the last thing on your list. But if not, this style is definitely worth the try!

With that said, read on and learn how you can transform your crib into a clean, warm, and comfy abode with a Scandinavian aesthetic! 


5 Design tips to Pull-off a Scandinavian Home

Open up the space

We’ve mentioned this a couple of times but for good reason - Scandinavian design style is all about brightness and warmth.

Whether you live in a winter country where natural light is rare or you dwell in a relatively small apartment where the sun is blocked off by towering buildings, maximising every ray of light that comes into your home is the best thing you can do.

That’s why you should never block off your windows with thick and heavy drapes. Instead, hang very light curtains, or better yet, don’t cover up your windows at all!

Opening up your home will certainly make your space airier, therefore, more inviting.   

As complementary to natural light, using floor lamps, table lamps, and other kinds of artificial lighting, is a great way to brighten up your home, too.

And don’t forget to hang a wall mirror! It will also help illuminate your room naturally. They can add a unique character to your space as well.


Take advantage of the fireplace

If you have a fireplace in your home or apartment, lucky you! So don’t let it go to waste, collecting dust. 

A fireplace will literally make your home feel warm, especially during the winter and we’re not talking about only functional fireplaces – non-functional fireplaces still bring a sense of warmth to any space. Not to mention, a fireplace fits right into the Scandinavian aesthetic as well!

Make the fireplace the focal point of your living room, so much so that, every time you see it, it makes you want to curl up on the sofa by the fire all day.

If you don’t have a fireplace, you’re not going to be left out here, you can use candles instead. While they’re not as big, they’re just as functional and elegant looking – creating warm, soft light.


Use a light and neutral colour palette

The Scandinavian colour palette isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It uses a lot of neutral whites, creams, beiges, wood, and muted colours. Even if you’re a big fan of colour, a light colour palette can be an excellent starting point for decorating any home.

A lighter colour palette just helps in scattering natural light throughout the space. Remember, the Scandi style prioritises function over form.

A light, neutral colour palette can also make a space feel larger as well.


Layer in natural elements

Scandinavians have a unique relationship with nature. And you can see that in the way they design their homes.

With Scandi style, one of the most important steps to do is to bring the outdoors in. Which is also one of the trademarks of the design.

Use a lot of light or bright wood for your flooring, furniture, and other accessories. For textiles like rugs and cushions, you should opt for natural ones like wool, cotton, sheepskin, linen, and others.

Incorporating these natural elements will certainly freshen up your home and make it even more welcoming.

You can also bring out your inner plant parent and organize your indoor plants in stylish ladder shelves to liven up your space!


Opt for clean and modern furniture

Scandinavian furniture is all about simplicity, modern appeal, and functionality. So, when buying furniture, forget ornaments and detailed carvings. Look out for pieces with clean, sleek lines and simple shapes.

You can’t go wrong with a wooden media cabinet that’s elegantly sleek and built with dedicated shelves to house all your media and entertainment tech.

Also, a wooden home office desk with clean lines, soft angles, and multiple pull-out drawers is a great furniture choice as well and very conducive to working. With minimal distractions on your desk you will power through your work!

Another great way to embrace the Scandinavian philosophy is by using eco-friendly and sustainable furniture whenever possible.

Your bedroom, for example, will certainly look more aesthetically pleasing and calming if you incorporate a sustainable queen bed and a bedside table that are both made with recycled wood.

Not only will your room look gorgeous and peaceful, but you’ll also lessen your environmental footprint.

Check out more of our stylish and eco-friendly Scandinavian inspired furniture from our Karpenter Collection!


Create a warm and clean Scandi style home with SLH Australia

Going Scandi doesn’t have to be that hard. It’s one of the easiest design styles to pull off. Especially if you’ve got even a general idea of what you’re doing, and you know where to get the best Scandinavian furniture.

Here at SLH Australia, we offer some of the best Scandinavian inspired furniture in town. When done justice, our furniture sets will certainly evoke the sense of warmth and calmness that you’ve been looking for in your home.

You can shop our luxury furniture online or visit our showroom in Sydney so you can see up close and personal what it’s like to have a Scandinavian-style home!