This is the time of year when Scandi living rooms, indeed only Scandi interiors in general, come into their own. We know the term hygge is used so much these days, but really the concept is so delicious that it’s no surprise that this Scandi word for cozy/warming/welcoming/healthy/content/all the things you want feel in winter remained. And nowhere is hygge easier to achieve than in your living room.
“Scandinavian interior design focuses on creating a space that feels like our own personal sanctuary. It means strengthening our connection with nature; considering things like maximizing natural light, adding greenery and plants, using natural materials, and calming color schemes. says Catharina Björkman, Scandi lifestyle expert at Contura.
What a dream. And there’s plenty more where that came from as we’ve rounded up all of our favorite living room ideas and designer tips to help you achieve the ever-trendy Scandinavian style.
How to style a Scandi living room?
There are two ways to style a Scandi living room – the very cozy, very textual, very Nordic look and then there is the clean lines, the minimalist approach. But they both have a lot in common and you can easily switch between the two and mix them too.
Some key elements of Scandi living rooms, whatever version of Scandi design you are looking for – “White, white, white – focus on light neutral colors for a clean look”. says the Danish brand team day house. ‘Less is more. More open space and less clutter are key to achieving the calm Scandi feel. And incorporate natural materials such as wood, linen and sheepskin – and don’t forget houseplants! Mix the old with the new and combine different materials and textures like rattan, wood or concrete.’
1. Declutter your space
A key element of Scandinavian design is minimalism. Everything in a room has to earn its place and there is no room for rooms that are all form and function. So before you start styling your living room, declutter and purge the room of anything that doesn’t serve a clear purpose.
“The main elements to creating a Scandi-style space are to stick to clean lines and eliminate clutter.” explains Lotta Lundaas, founder of Nordic interiors. “Functional storage is key to this minimalist look. You rarely see bulky furniture in a Scandinavian home; the size of the furniture must be adapted to the dimensions of the room and leave enough free space to allow the furniture and the people to breathe.
And to keep that space clean and clear, you’ll need to make sure your living room storage is up to snuff. Go for a mix of open and closed storage – living room shelving will allow you to create beautiful displays and bring character to the room, and closed storage will allow you to hide away that unsightly, but sadly essential clutter.
2. Get your living room well lit
Given that Scandis spend so much of the winter in darkness, it’s no wonder that many of their interior design concepts are obsessed with light, whether natural or artificial. The consensus with living room lighting is that the more light and the more lighting options, the better, so you can adjust the mood of the room accordingly.
‘Start by making the most of the natural light in your home – keep window decoration to a minimum to let in as much sunlight as possible. And remember that it is rare for a natural space to be completely light or completely dark; natural light has depth and texture. Catherine explains.
‘Recreate this in your home by incorporating a range of lighting options to illuminate different areas of the space, as opposed to one or two towering overhead lights which may seem too stark. Create pools of light using picture lights, pendant lights and dimmers, as well as functional and stylish table lamps and table lamps, light strings and candles.
3. Strip bare wood floors
Although interior design trends may suggest that living room rugs are back in fashion, you won’t find them in Scandi interiors. As Catharina explains, “wooden floors are another essential part of Swedish interior design. You rarely see carpeting in the main living areas. Pale colored woods like pine or birch help reflect the light or you can also paint the floorboards white as this will make the space appear larger than it is. To add comfort, add texture and a pop of color with a soft wool or cotton rug for a stylish and functional option.
4. Don’t be afraid of color
A light, neutral color palette is synonymous with Scandi living rooms, however, don’t be put off by a few bolder tones. Choose living room colors that add warmth and coziness to the space – deep pinks, terracottas and even yellows will all look at home in Scandi decor.
“Scandinavian interiors can be bright and cheerful, as well as clean and understated.” says Patrick O’Donnell of Farrow & Ball. “India Yellow offers a deep richness and warmth to a living room – creating an empathetic backdrop for beautifully chosen images and furnishings that are deceptively controlled – especially with a soft white like Strong White.”
“Rather than reaching for cool grays for your ‘classic’ look, consider more earthy tones to create a sophisticated Scandi living room environment, like Trousers with a stylish green-tinted neutral white wall. Going for more brown and earthy tones will create a softer, softer color family.
5. Layer Textures
If you’re looking for the one thing that will give your living room that Scandi feel, it’s texture. Texture, texture, texture. The more, the better. Scandi spaces may be limited in color, but they more than make up for it by layering different materials and tactile finishes to create spaces that are just as interesting as those filled with color.
“Scandinavian design is all about texture – layering soft materials over hard woods. This creates a plush feel in an otherwise sparse space. The trick is to keep these materials in a neutral palette. white sheepskin, beige cashmere throws and gray wool sofas will help you do just that, suggests our editor, Pip Rich.
6. Mix and Match Wood Tones
And another tip for adding interest to a neutral color palette is to choose different wood tones and finishes when choosing your living room furniture. You won’t have to go around with all the greys, creams and whites, but wood can add depth and that all-important texture to a room.
“Go for solid colors on your main pieces of furniture, and to make the classic Scandinavian color palette more interesting and lighter, I recommend adding different nature-inspired textures.” Lotta suggests. “I think natural wood, dark walnut or teak and light oak will be the focus of our interior design in 2022. Finally, adding multiple light fixtures in each room is another essential element that allows you to move the light sources throughout the day and the seasons.’
7. Invest in a wood stove
Oh sure, what Scandi living room would be complete without a wood burning stove? There’s just something about a wood-burning stove that feels so…Nordic. Sure, gas fireplaces provide more instant heat, but nothing beats piling up in the wood and lighting the flames yourself. Additionally, wood-burning stoves are by far the most efficient fireplace idea, heating a room faster and more efficiently than an open fire.
“The final element in creating that rustic Scandinavian feel is embracing the primal comfort of fire – a wood burning stove is a must in any Scandinavian home as there is no better way to relax than to curl up in in front of a crackling fire. Catherine explains. Okay.
8. Bring the outdoors inside
The whole concept of hygge might be based on hiding indoors under a layer of blankets, but going outdoors is also an integral part of Scandinavian culture. So it’s no surprise that a key element of Scandi interior design is bringing the outdoors in.
“Bringing the outdoors inside is another essential part of creating that rustic Scandinavian feel in a home. Opt for lush, trailing tops, such as Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) or String-of-pearls. Not only are they easy to grow and maintain, but both have air-purifying qualities. Growing herbs indoors is another great way to make a space more rustic – rosemary and basil will add a pleasant, subtle scent to your home and will no doubt prove useful for cooking as well. explains Catharina Björkman.