Scandinavian design first came into prominence in the 1950s with its sleek, clean lines and minimalistic nature. Over the years, the style has stayed pretty consistent, leveraging a black and white color scheme with aesthetically pleasing furniture.
Recently, though, the Scandinavian design style has taken a slight shift. No longer strictly black and white, the color palette has evolved into earthy hues that inspire coziness and warmth. The only constant between the old and new styles is the continued focus on simple lines and functionality.
We’re loving the look and feel of this design trend as we see it creeping back into your summer home decor to create that warm ambiance we are all looking for these days that exudes calm and peace.
Take a look at our favorite Scandinavian design trends below and get ideas for how to update your home with this look this summer:
Our Favorite Scandinavian Design Trends
Neutral and Earthy Color Palettes
Gone are the days of old school black and white color palettes. Scandinavian design now includes welcoming neutral colors like champagne, beige, grey, and off-white. These shades are great for walls, furniture, and large accent pieces. This leaves lots of creative room for you to leverage pops of color in rugs, blankets, and other decor. Just be sure to add color in moderation to a room with Scandinavian style as you want to carefully plan and create a curated look that ensures the color does not dominate the room – keep it simple as we say in the home staging business.
Scandinavian pops of color typically come in shades like sage, blue, blush, and indigo. They bring about feelings of coziness, relaxation, and warmth. They’re also natural, earthy colors, which is important because Scandinavian culture values spending time outdoors amongst nature.
Blue is a relatively new Scandinavian hue, however, fits nicely with the warm earth vibes. And as it turns out, classic blue is the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year which is said to inspire confidence, consistency, and wellness.
De-cluttering is Key
When you think of Scandinavian design, think of the phrase “less is more”. This mentality will help you achieve the full Scandinavian look.
European homes are different from US homes in that suburban American homes typically offer more square footage and storage space. This can lead to homes being overrun by items we may not really need, leading to clutter.
With a Scandinavian design, clutter is a no-no. Things like blankets, kids toys, and books should all have ‘homes’ where you can put them away or store them when not in use. A way to maximize your storage space is to buy furniture that can double as storage space. Examples include:
- A bench that can be used as seating and stores blankets inside
- A bed frame that also has drawers underneath the bed
- A storage ottoman
- A headboard that offers shelving
The less is more mentality also applies to design and color. Using muted hues and designs, it will be easier for you to achieve this look.
Note: This is different from minimalism. While both minimalism and Scandinavian design ban clutter, there are major differences in fabrics, color palettes, and materials used.
Fabrics and Rugs are Keeping It Cozy & Comfortable
In Scandinavia, winters can be harsh and cold. This forces people to not only spend more time indoors during the winter months but decorate using cozy materials as well.
To keep your feet warm, consider laying down fuzzy sheepskin rugs. You can also place chunky cable knit blankets along your couch or bottom of your bed. These items not only look comfy cozy but will be nice to cuddle up with when it’s cold outside.
The great thing about leveraging cozy blankets and rugs is that you’re able to inject some texture into your rooms. They also allow you to include prints and pops of color, which can easily be switched out when you feel it’s time.
Plants and Greenery is Everywhere
Plants are good to have in your home for multiple reasons. They bring life, color, and brightness to your space. And when it comes to Scandinavian design, plants and greenery are everywhere.
Nature is a huge inspiration to Scandinavians, so home decor typically includes plants in every room of the house. Think greenery by your bed, on window skills in the kitchen, and on a desk in your office.
What kind of plants should you use? It might depend on how much sunlight enters your home, but you have plenty of options to inject some leafy (or not-so leafy) greens in your home:
- Rubber plants
- Golden pathos
- Snake plants
- ZZ plant
If you’re not a fan of plants (or are not the best green thumb), you can buy fake plants or flowers to mimic the look and feel of real plants. You can also use Scandinavian inspired pots (like simple all-white pots) to house your new greenery and complete the look.
Natural Materials and Efficiency are Desirable Elements
Another important piece to Scandinavian design is the use of natural materials. Whether it’s furniture, linens, or cookware, these items are typically made from organic materials that are readily available in Europe. For example, rugs could consist of cotton, sheepskin, or wool.
Furniture, like chairs and couches, could be made of furniture and leather. The main types of wood used are oak, teak, and pine, which are then stained or polished. When choosing furniture for your space, you also want to think about how it works in the space. Is the furniture multi-functional in that does it offer a second function, like storing blankets or toys? We mentioned some options earlier in the post too, but really thinking about its efficiency in your space will help your space align with this trend.