How to Decorate Scandinavian Style Interiors

How to Decorate Scandinavian Style Interiors

Suzanne Anderson
9 minute read

The Scandinavian style is natural, textural, minimal, and uncluttered. 

Scandinavian interiors are chalky white to maximise light, and furniture choices are generally pale, bleached, time-worn, or painted, as is the flooring.

As a movement, Scandinavian design began in the early 20th century, mixing old and new styles from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Norway. 

Scandinavian homes were traditionally smaller in size, so the focus was on a less is more approach to design, prioritising natural light, warm functionality, beautiful craftsmanship, sleek designs, & cosiness.

Migrating to America in the 1950s, this style took on a more modern look, seen in the streamlined, practical, and contemporary furnishings and interiors. 

Functionality & simplicity are valued, which means everything has its purpose, and the decor consists of a few sentimental objects that bring joy.


Scandinavian style interiors

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Reflected in Scandinavian style is a love of nature with plenty of living greenery and unstructured floral arrangements. 

Natural textural throws and soft furnishings in hopsack, heavy linens, soft faux fur, and wool are used to transition from season to season to provide warmth, functionality, and style.

The Scandinavian style is timeless and, as such, can take on a more modern, contemporary feel, as well as include more bespoke antiques for a more classic look.

Today, the Scandinavian style is still one of the most loved design styles, as it continues to be simple and minimal, calm and cosy, bright and welcoming, and natural and textural. 

For a step-by-step guide to creating the Scandinavian look, explore our guide below and shop the style online.




The colour palette is monochromatic, with pale wood tones adding light and contrast to the room.

White or neutral coloured walls give the illusion of more space by reflecting sunlight and allowing the walls to visually recede for an open, airy style. 

Complimentary colours feature muted and earthy hues of dove greys, charcoal, forest greens, celadon, pale pink, pastel, and duck egg blues.

In modern homes, you may find pops of bright yellows, reds, and burnt oranges. These are restrained in their use, kept to smaller decor, floral arrangements, art, and textiles. 


Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home


There are so many ways to re-purpose your furniture and decor & update your existing look with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® 

See how customers are transforming their Furniture, Interiors, and Decor to create a Scandinavian Style Look with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®.

Want to learn more? Stay up-to-date with our Chalk Painting Classes.

scandinavian colour palette

Photo Source: Pinterest


Architectural features include mouldings, white-washed and textural walls with aged patina, and traditional glazed tile fireplaces creating physical warmth and providing a safe haven during the long winters. 

Photo Source: Pinterest


Painted white or natural hardwood floors are used throughout the home. 

Large neutral area rugs and layered patterned accent mats add warmth to the natural floorboards, as well as provide texture and subtle visual boundaries to open-plan living spaces. 

Add dimension with vinyl patterned or tiled flooring in kitchen and bathroom spaces for contrast and visual interest. 

Photo Source: Leanne Ford

Photo Source: Coco Lapine Design


Chandeliers, sheer fabric pendants, and crystal wall sconces with linen shades.

Layer a variety of light sources with the modern articulated wall, floor, ceiling, and table lights, or slender table lamps and pendant lighting. 

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Ceiling pendants made from sheer fabric, sisal, or paper add a relaxed elegance. For lustre, consider an antique chandelier or crystal wall sconces with linen shades. 

Bedside lighting can be suspended to free up space on your bedside tables, and the wall-mounted lights on arms can move from zone to zone. 

Well-lit rooms feel more spacious and welcoming, especially those with both natural and artificial light, so expose as many of the windows as possible and use mirrors to circulate light throughout the room.


As the long winters mean reduced sunlight, minimal window treatments are used. 

Favoured choices are sheer and lightweight linen curtains and roman blinds, as well as frosted half windows for natural diffuse light & privacy. 

Swedish Linen Curtain w Fringe | Rod Pocket | Amber | 140x300cm

Swedish Linen Curtain w Fringe | Rod Pocket | Amber | 140x300cm


A beautiful linen curtain with fringing detail and a rod pocket in a amber colourway. Materials: 100% Linen Colour; Amber Features: Made in Sweden Dimensions:  300 x 140cm. PLEASE NOTE: Large items including Furniture, Lighting, Rugs, Mirrors, Artwork, Cushion Inserts… read more

Swedish Linen Curtain w Fringe | Rod Pocket | Light Grey | 140x300cm

Swedish Linen Curtain w Fringe | Rod Pocket | Light Grey | 140x300cm


A beautiful linen curtain with fringing detail and a rod pocket in a light grey colourway. Materials: 100% Linen Colour; Light Grey Features: Made in Sweden Dimensions:  300 x 140cm. PLEASE NOTE: Large items including Furniture, Lighting, Rugs, Mirrors, Artwork, Cushion Inserts… read more


Functionality and simplicity are at the centre of Scandinavian design. 

Experiment with scale and proportion and avoid a mismatch of too many pieces. Furniture choices use pale timbers of birch, spruce, and pine, along with painted furniture for colour and contrast.

Modern furniture pieces with beautiful clean lines and lightweight frames are complimented by antique elements of an aged Mora clock or worn leather easy chair. 

Photo Source: Architectural Digest

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

For cosiness, create a sleep zone with curtains or a built-in bed box. If you want to save on space, consider bed rises for extra storage underneath. 

Scandinavian homes offer creative ways to maximise horizontal and vertical storage. Along with closed cabinetry and shelving, storage options include wall-mounted shelves placed above head height, drawing the eye up and allowing you to move easily below. 

Window seats, banquets, inset bars, and wall-mounted desks can turn a small nook into a beautiful, space-saving architectural feature. Other ideas include tall and narrow bookshelves and built-ins, as well as hooks, rods, racks & ladders.

Photo Source Jenni Kayne

When it comes to furniture, low-profile frames offer the illusion of higher windows and ceilings. Chairs and tables feature slimline shapes, slender arms, and exposed legs, allowing the furniture to appear visually lighter. 

Round ottomans, stump stools, floor cushions, and benches are multi-purpose. These serve as extra seating for guests and double as a side table. They can easily be hidden under desks or consoles when not in use. 

Round tables are great in breakfast nooks as they have smaller footprints and can fit additional chairs around them if needed. Alternatively, select an adjustable trestle table that you can fold or expand for your different needs.

Most importantly, make your pieces work for you. A console with an ottoman underneath can be a work zone, while a window seat can serve as a lounge, or with chairs pulled up to it can become an additional dining zone.

Photo Source: Leanne Ford

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Photo Source Jenni Kayne


Upholstery choices include hopsack, leather, and natural linens.

Make the most of your space by layering textural, organic, and tactile throws and cushions for a feeling of quality and natural beauty. 

Patterns include checks, stripes, and geometric prints.

Textiles include lightweight natural linen, rattan, cotton, jute, hemp, and burlap in Summer, alternating with sheepskins, mohair, and chunky knit wools in the cooler months. 

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home


Contrast is a key design element in Scandinavian interiors. 

Pair natural woods with black metals, matte, glossy and patinated finishes, round and straight shapes, and heavy and light materials to strike the perfect balance between cosiness and functionality. 

Photo Source: Fantastic Frank

Photo Source: Suzie Anderson Home


Artwork choices are monochromatic or neutral, featuring abstract paintings, nature and wildlife photography and modern botanical prints. 

These add character, colour and are a creative way to zone a particular area. 

Since Scandinavian design reflects a strong connection to nature, consider incorporating wall-mounted textural or woven baskets and sculptures featuring natural shapes, handmade designs, and organic materials. 

In a more traditional home, you will also find still-life paintings and oil portraits.  

The use of round wall-mounted mirrors or rectangular leaning mirrors will seemingly double the space and amplify light. They can also double as art when selected with unique and ornate frames.

Formation Framed Landscape

Formation Framed Landscape


STORE PICK UP/LOCAL DELIVERY ONLY/FREIGHT QUOTE ON APPLICATION  Due to the size and weight of this piece we are unable to offer our regular Australia wide delivery.  For Australia-wide deliveries, a freight quote does apply for this piece.This is not calculated online… read more


Intentional living is the key principle of Scandinavian design, and the selected decorative objects bring a feeling of beauty and simplicity. 

Lagom, which translates to in-between or just right, is the foundation of accessorising. 

To achieve a curated, uncluttered and stylish space, select a few key pieces of varying heights, shapes, and sizes.

  • Mouth-blown vessels, scented candles, wooden objects & books are incorporated for function and form, whilst simple decorative brass candleholders and ceramic vases can be transformed with colourful dinner candles and seasonal floral arrangements. 
  • Select baskets and trays that double as decorative pieces to hide away everyday items and maintain clutter-free surfaces. Our favourites are made from rattan, leather, or rope. Room sprays, oil burners, and scented candles are amazing ways to instantly transform your space.



As always, fresh foliage, potted plants, and floral arrangements bring life to any space and boost your mood. 

The love of nature emphasised in Scandinavian interiors, with the inclusion of potted figs, monstera plants, and trailing vines which add botanical colour and texture to the clean, modern backdrop. 

Soft coloured grasses, yarrow, lichen branches, Spanish moss, natural wreaths, and twigs add drama, height, and sculptural interest. Branches add a beautiful rustic, organic, and earthy feel and can be found on nature walks, in your back garden, or local park. 

The slightly wild, weathered aesthetic of natural branches, grasses, and barks means they are great for layering against other organic materials of linen, recycled wood, iron, and rattan. 

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