With its use of a minimalist color palette, natural materials and simple shapes, Scandinavian style is both stylish and easy to live with. It typically takes a white color scheme (great for maximizing light in a northern climate) and punctuates this with strong gray and black accents for pace and contrast. This backdrop may also be layered with rustic elements, such as warm wood and animal hides, and given a metropolitan edge with some classic Danish design. If you want to replicate Scandi style at home, or simply borrow a few elements, read on for tips on how it’s done.
Pick a pale floor. Although dark wood flooring is sometimes used in Scandi homes, the default choice is something paler. Try painting original floorboards white. This will create a crisp finish with a rustic edge that is pure Scandinavian. It will also help boost light levels for a really bright, energizing space.
Alternatively, look for flooring in a naturally pale wood, such as light oak, or choose boards that have been washed or treated for a bleached effect.
Scandinavia has produced some of the 20th century’s most influential and popular furniture designers. Pieces by the likes of Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen became instant classics and still look relevant today.
Often, a single piece will make a strong Scandi statement. Here, a Grand Prix chair by Jacobsen stands out beautifully against a simple white backdrop.
The Wishbone chair by Wegner is a beautiful example of Scandinavian style. Its sinuous form and elegant simplicity make it a Danish design classic, and it looks at home in most decors and rooms.
Seek a hide—or go faux. Animal hides and skins bring a touch of the fir forest inside and help warm up a monochromatic scheme. Use them as rugs or throws to introduce a pinch of Scandi style and soften up even the most contemporary, minimalist space.
If real animal hides don’t appeal, reference the idea by using fake fur instead. It makes a gorgeously soft, tactile throw for a bed and will instantly knock the austere edges off an all-white bedroom.
Hang a pendant light. Scandinavian homes rely on great lighting to cozy up monochromatic decor and boost light levels during the long, dark days of winter. Pendant lights are a great favorite, creating warm areas of light at eye level that help make a space feel intimate.
Here, a single pendant hung over a dining table produces a warm pool of light on the table. It’s a useful way to define areas within an open-plan space and pick out the welcoming dining area.
Pendant lights work beautifully over tables, partly because that position means there is less chance of you banging your head on them. Don’t restrict the idea to dining tables, though. This Scandi home uses a pendant over the coffee table in the living room as well.