Long before Ikea became a household name, Sweden, Denmark and Norway were celebrated for their home decor prowess. Pared-back simplicity, understated elegance, and light, bright interiors define Scandinavian style, and it continues to capture our hearts all around the world. Here are 13 local twists on the classic decorating style of Nordic countries, interpreted by homeowners from many points of the globe.
1. Sweden. Scandinavian style is characterized by the use of pale washes of color or white on walls and floors, a reaction to long, dark winters with few hours of daylight. Minimal ornamentation is key, while wood and other natural materials enliven the space and bring rich textures into the mix. In this Swedish house, the designer achieved a clean, minimalist look that’s also warm and homey.
2. Denmark. This Danish home is dramatically different, establishing contrast with dark charcoal furnishings and cabinets against the traditional pale-toned palette. Combined with rustic wooden walls, a sleek white ceiling and a staircase that’s hard-edged and textural, this is an oh-so-interesting twist on typical Scandi style.
3. Spain. In the heat of Spain, this interior embraces Scandinavian cool wholeheartedly by keeping the color palette pared back. The cowhide rug and wooden feature wall are the star attractions in this room. Both add rich texture and layers of interest. Although Nordic color palettes are almost always natural, the layering of texture is at the heart of successful Scandi style.
Blue Tea Kitchens
4. Australia. This modern Australian version of Scandinavian style enthusiastically embraces light wood as well as white floor and wall surfaces. The practical floor tiles, well suited to Australia’s climate, are a cool interpretation of the typical Scandi painted or natural wooden floors. The popular Wishbone chairs by Danish architect Hans J. Wegner have been in continuous production since 1950.
Studio Joa Herrenknecht
5. Germany. The furnishings here are soft and comfortable, and the dusky rose accent is right on point with Scandinavian style. Finnish architect Eero Saarinen designed the groundbreaking Womb chair for American furniture company Knoll in the late 1940s, an early Nordic crossover. This room cleverly balances restrained but thoughtful accessories. Although this can be difficult to achieve, it is one of the elements that makes Scandinavian style so restful, livable and appealing.
6. Italy. The vibrant colors captured in these Eames chairs are not normally present in Scandinavian style, but the light wooden floors and white walls channel the look beautifully. Color is increasingly a feature of a new Nordic style style emanating from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Architecture for London
7. United Kingdom. Classic soft greens and grays define the Scandi palette. In this white London kitchen, the colors have more oomph than expected, but the dining table and chairs feature the angled tapered-leg style that is classic Scandinavian. The stripped-back wooden floorboards add an important textural element, which brings the room to life.
8. United States. The white wooden floors and furniture along with the bare windows provide a fresh, neutral background for the other elements of this room. Restrained decor creates a calming and cohesive look, with sharp color accents from nature, an important element of successful Scandinavian design.
9. France. Painting the ceiling beams white in this historical Parisian apartment lifts and brightens the room while creating a uniform look that’s calming and restful. Paired with the soft grays loved by Scandinavians, this interior is the perfect balance of minimalism and coziness. The inviting linen sofa and shaggy textured rug (use smaller sheepskins for a quick take on this look) are signature.
Louise de Miranda
10. The Netherlands. The owner of this Dutch apartment mixed sheepskins and fresh, printed cushions with pale wooden floors, and revamped a table and bench seat with found boards to add texture and rusticity to an otherwise minimal scheme.
11. Canada. The famous Panton chair by Verner Panton is another Danish design masterpiece that sets the tone for Scandinavian style in this Toronto kitchen. The sheepskin draped over this S-shaped plastic chair is a classic inviting touch, while taupe kitchen cabinets mimic the whitewashed wood seen in typical Scandinavian interiors.
12. New Zealand. The recognizable light fixtures of New Zealand designer David Trubridge, featured in this home on the Karikari Peninsula, capture Scandinavian style in all its essence. This is a coastal twist, enhanced by the natural sunlight pouring in.
Free Space Intent
13. Singapore. What better way to warm up this white apartment than with accents of gentled-hued wood? There’s nothing matchy-matchy about this space — the chairs follow the Scandinavian theme without being part of a set, and even the cabinetry is asymmetrical. Adding a surprise element in the form of bare-bulb pendants hung at varying heights and in bold orange and black gives this Scandi-style home personality all its own.