How to Get That Modern Scandinavian Appearance

I spent three weeks in Sweden and Denmark, where good design is woven into the DNA of this culture. However, while we may be familiar with the names of Scandinavian design, there is still the question of putting a space together. How do we achieve that hot but clean look? Here are a few pointers.

What you need to decorate just like a Scandinavian:

1. Wood. There isn’t any such thing as wall-to-wall rug in Sweden. Warmth comes from timber and area rugs, and shoes are not worn inside the home.

2. Lightlight and more light. We stayed in a home with 20 hours of daylight and not just one window treatment. There is not any such thing as too much light.

3. White walls. Bright white is the color of choice in Scandinavia (but do not worry, there is still a great deal of colour ).

4. Accent color. It is not as stern as all of that. In fact, Scandinavian design is lively and fun. Colorful rugs, artwork, furniture and flowers abound. The backdrop may be white, but color is everywhere.

5. A mixture of styles and eras. While Scandinavian design is well known for tidy, geometric lines, that doesn’t mean there is not space for an elaborate chandelier or a brassy Louis XVI seat in the mixture.

6. A fireplace. No Swedish home is complete without a fireplace or a stove.

Natural wood is ever present in contemporary Scandinavian design. Even upholstered furniture retains its wooden bones vulnerable. And timber always looks great with bright white.

LASC Studio

The sauna is a Swedish invention (even the Vikings took saunas), and also the look of unfinished wood paneling found in a sauna can be taken into the home too. It is clean and unfussy, however it provides texture and warmth.

Don F. Wong

Let the light glow. Modern Swedish and Danish design is quite much about linking with the outdoors, and the natives are absolute fiends for sunshine (likely because there is so little of it through the winters). Windows are big and uncovered.


Another light, bright Scandinavian home.

Jeanette Lunde

Perhaps it’s because it reflects the light also. Or perhaps it’s because it looks so fantastic with timber. Or perhaps it’s because it easily allows for an eclectic mixture of colors and patterns. Whatever the motives, white is the wall color of choice.

The Office of Charles de Lisle

White walls and hearth with warm wood accents and subtle color.

Jeanette Lunde

White is the best backdrop for a mixture of eras and styles. Oh, and these cowhide rugs are everywhere in Sweden.


Shade is a massive part of Scandinavian design, and it usually appears in accessories.

Fotograf Lisbet Spörndly

Wallpaper is yet another popular way to add color.

This chamber sort of brings it all together: bright pops of color in a light-filled white space, Eames chairs, an Ikea tablecloth, a stained glass window in the 19th century along with an elaborate crystal chandelier.

Mix it up. A contemporary red chair sits next to a fragile velvet and gold classic. The artwork is also a mixture: gold frames and landscapes with contemporary sketches and family photos.

Fotograf Lisbet Spörndly

The fireplace is the center of the home. This traditional Swedish tiled stove (kakelugnar) is so iconic and beautiful.

LASC Studio

A more contemporary woodstove surrounded by white, clean and light lines.

A classic in-wall fireplace surrounded by an eclectic mixture of modern and traditional components.

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