Scandinavian Minimalism Guide: 6 Tips for Decor, Furniture and Lighting

Scandinavian minimalism is an interior design that is characterized by simplicity, functionality, as well as comfort, and warmth. The interior in this style is always bright and filled with nature and natural materials.


Scandinavian Minimalism style characteristics

The style is characterized by:

  • simplicity
  • functionality and practicality
  • light colors: white, beige, milky, light gray, soft pink, light blue
  • an abundance of natural materials: wood, stone, leather, porcelain, weaving, natural fabrics
  • the presence of empty space
  • clear lines, geometric prints

The Scandinavian style originated in northern Europe in the scandinavian countries. Long winters and short daylight hours have inspired the inhabitants of these countries to create bright and open spaces to compensate for the lack of light. 

The Scandinavian-style interior has a lot of free space, functional and practical furniture, and an abundance of natural materials that evoke a feeling of simplicity, tranquility, comfort, and warmth.

Fireplace in the living room in a Scandinavian style

The Scandinavian design does not have a lot of extra ornate details. It's quite a minimalistic style. Laconic, geometric, solid objects are much more common and are a defining feature of the Scandinavian style in interior design.

Laconic furniture in the interior in the Scandinavian style

Traditionally, many scandinavian houses were very small and did not allow storage of an excessive amount of things in them. Although houses are now being built more spacious, the idea of ​​keeping the space clean and clutter-free remains an important aspect of Scandinavian design. 

The decor is kept to a minimum in Scandinavian design. Bare walls and empty spaces are not avoided.

White living room in Scandinavian Minimalism

Who suits Scandinavian Minimalism style?

The Scandinavian Minimalist style in the interior is for those who love a bright, functional interior with laconic furniture, an abundance of natural materials, geometric prints, and lively greenery. 

Due to the fact that in such an interior there is no unnecessary decor, and the furniture has simple geometric shapes, it is easy to maintain and clean. 

This style in the house is chosen by those who seek to live in comfort and harmony with themselves and nature, and not demonstrate their well-being and superiority. Perfect for people who prefer space, and appreciate the value of things in quality, not quantity.

Sofa in the interior in the Scandinavian style

What is the difference between the Scandinavian style vs Minimalism?

The Scandinavian style in interior design originated in northern Europe: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Minimalism originated in central Europe: Germany, and France. Some principles are taken from Japanese philosophy. 

Differences in geographical location and climate give rise to differences in the needs and desires of the inhabitants. So, in the interior in the Scandinavian style, we see the desire to maximize the preservation of sunlight and create a feeling of warmth and comfort. Light walls, wooden furniture, open fire (fireplace, candles), textured textiles, fur, and decor in the form of porcelain vases, figurines, candlesticks, wicker rugs and baskets will help with this. Minimalism offers to remove all unnecessary.

An example of an interior in the Scandinavian style
An example of an interior in the Scandinavian style
An example of an interior in the style of minimalism
An example of an interior in the style of minimalism

Also in the Scandinavian style, open shelves and racks with books or decor are often used. The style of minimalism involves closed storage systems.

Open shelving in the interior
Open shelving in the interior

Color palette

This style originated in the Scandinavian countries, where winters are long, dark and cold, and houses are small. To visually enlarge the room and make it light, the walls were painted white to reflect the sunlight.

Light scandi interior

Other light colors are also used, such as light grey, beige, dusty pink, or soft peach.

Interior in pink tones

An interesting alternative to white in wall decoration can also be mint color. It will add freshness to the interior. For the same purpose, you can use bleached blue, gray-blue, or greenish-gray.

Pale blue interior

The color combination will depend on the owner's personal preferences: lovers of a Minimalist Scandinavian style usually choose a monochrome palette to increase space and achieve a “clean look”.

To create contrast, you can add dark colors to furniture and textiles.

Dark furniture and textiles in a light interior


On the floor, on the walls, furniture, and children's toys — there is a lot of wood in the Scandinavian minimalist interior. In keeping with the light theme, light woods such as beech, ash, and pine are commonly used in Scandinavian design.

Children's room in the Scandinavian style

In addition to wood, metal, glass, ceramics, stone, natural fabrics, leather, fur, and wickerwork are also used.

Natural materials in the interior

Walls in Scandinavian-style interiors are often covered with decorative plaster or simply painted. Wallpaper is rarely used, most often on an accent wall. The ceiling is usually just painted white, you can use drywall or a matte stretch ceiling. Complex plasterboard structures or stucco moldings are not used. Often in the interior in this style, you can see wooden beams on the ceiling. This gives character and zest to the interior.

An example of an interior with light wooden beams on the ceiling

Lighting. Which curtains suit the Scandinavian style in the interior?

The best decoration of a room in a Scandinavian minimalist style is large windows that are not covered by curtains. Occasionally they can be framed with translucent cotton fabric or tulle. Natural light is enhanced by any means.
Living room with large windows

Lightweight natural fabric curtains are ideal. Even if the window is small, such curtains framing the window from floor to ceiling, create the feeling of a large window covered on the sides. 

Interior with white curtains

Mirrors are an important element of Scandinavian decor and are cleverly placed to visually expand the space and reflect any available ambient light.

Mirror in the interior

Since it is cloudy and dark in the Scandinavian countries for most of the year, a large amount of artificial lighting is used.

In keeping with the Scandinavian style concept, electric lights also have simple lines and shapes to avoid visual clutter. You can use pendant lights for a kitchen island or over a dining table, floor lamp, or table lamp with a simple geometric design.

Hanging lamp and floor lamp above the dining table

Furniture in Scandinavian Minimalism

Scandinavian-style furniture is all about clean lines, organic shapes, and tall legs. It creates a feeling of spaciousness and airiness.

Sofa with high legs

In a modern interpretation of the Scandinavian style, you can often see a mix of vintage furniture and modern design furniture that harmoniously come together with a color combination or texture.

You may recognize some of the famous pieces of furniture that are often used in Scandinavian interiors, such as Charles Eames's famous plastic chair, Harry Bertoia's diamond chair, Tulip table and chair, Wishbone chair, Wegner chair, egg and ball chair, the famous Alvar Aalto's stool and other famous pieces of furniture from the early 20th century.

Scandinavian-style chairs

Of course, in the Scandinavian interior, wooden furniture is most often used to create warm and cozy interiors. Light wooden objects without unnecessary details are a must.

Dark wood chest of drawers

The bedroom is also filled with furniture made from natural materials. Most often these are light woods: beech, ash, and pine. Light woods are also often used on walls, cabinets, and decor.

Wooden bedroom furniture

Decor. What to hang on a wall in a Scandinavian-style interior?

Avid outdoor enthusiasts, Scandinavians believe in enjoying nature even while inside their homes. To make the space more interesting and bring some life, color and beauty into it, they often use live plants in the interior.

Use simple porcelain plant pots to stay in touch with the overall style of the interior, with clean lines and a minimalist look.

Flowerpots in the interior

In the cold Scandinavian climate, people use a lot of warming textiles in the interior: woolen blankets, fur skins, long pile rugs, and textile cushions. All these decorative elements create a feeling of warmth and comfort and also add if desired, colors and textures. You can use printed textiles with a simple geometric pattern. 

Pillows and Throws in a Scandinavian Interior

As already mentioned, Scandinavian interior design is characterized by simplicity. Therefore, the walls can be decorated with paintings in a minimalist style, posters, and photographs. Use in the interior candles in interesting designer candlesticks.

Candles and candlesticks
Scandinavian-style living room with posters on the walls

To avoid clutter on open shelves and racks, you can use textile, wicker, or leather-covered boxes and baskets for small items. They also serve as an interesting decoration that will support this somewhat eclectic style. 

How to get custom interior design on a budget?

Freelance design services are the best option if you are looking for quality work at an affordable price. Freelancers offer their services online and through platforms like fiverr. You can find interior designers as furniture buying assistants who will work with your budget and provide quality work.

Fiverr service example of designers