How to Decorate a Scandinavian-Inspired Room

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Do you consider yourself a minimalist? Is functional and simple decor more your style? Do you like white walls and wide open spaces? The Scandinavian style may be for you.

The Scandinavian style emerged in the 1950s in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality. The styles characteristics are similar to Mid-Century Modern which was popularized by 1950s television programs in the US. Scandinavian design incorporates the use of form-pressed wood, plastics, anodized or enameled aluminum and pressed steel.

If you think IKEA when someone says “Scandinavian decor,” that’s just the marketing. While IKEA is the one of the best know brands for a modern Scandinavian look, it is just one of many.

The Look

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The Scandinavian look is clean with it’s white or light gray walls. Some may call it “sterile,” but if you incorporate this style with warmer mediums you will have an inviting combination.

The designer of the above room has done just that. Yes, the room has white walls, a white rug and white back splash tile. But notice the warmth coming from the wood tones. The pop of “red” in the chairs adds the owner’s personality and the use of plants placed around the room and porch give life to the space.

Designer Tip – Take note of the few pieces of black decor used to anchor these rooms. Every designer knows this trick – all room needs a touch of black in the design or it’s not complete.


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Every piece in this room is meticulously placed for function. No fuss here!

Pop of Color

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Pops of color break up the endless sea of white and gray to make for a more interesting environment.

“One does want a hint of color.” ~ Nathan Lane

Warmth of Wood

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The large wooden doors are the focus of this room. The sofa fabric mimics the wood tone for a cohesive look. To add more personality to this space, add a fun rug and swap out the art for more vivid colors.

Bold Pattern

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When color is used in Scandinavian designs, they can be found in bold prints in draperies, throw pillows and area rugs.

Subtle Color on the Walls

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If you love the Scandinavian style but need to be surrounded by color, consider a light blue, light green or light yellow. The wash of color on the walls gives this room a cozier feel, while keeping true to its Scandinavian roots.

Shop the Scandinavian look:

  • IKEA is a Swedish company know for it’s ready-to-assemble, low-cost minimalist furnishings. If possible, visit IKEA in person. It is worth the trip, but be sure to wear your walking shoes. Use the store locator to find one near you.

  • Room & Board specializes in Mid-Century Modern furniture.

  • Scandinavian Design Center  – Everything you could ever need complete the Scandinavian style in your home.

  • Finnish Design Shop  – Tableware, decor, storage and outdoor products.

  • Pinterest – Get inspired with decorating tips from the Pinterest community.