Scandinavian style house ideas, inspiration & pictures

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What are the characteristics of Scandinavian style houses?

With the growing popularity of minimalism, the Scandinavian style has become a favourite option for decorating the interiors of a house. This style, which is based on the fundamentals of simplicity and functionality, is acquiring hundreds of fans even in India, especially in urban areas, such as Mumbai and Gurgaon in the National Capital Region, where apartments are getting smaller and need to have practicality, elegance and affordability built into their design. 

This design style originated in the Nordic or Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – in the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the primary motives of the Scandinavian style is to create functional environments that appear spacious, organized, light and airy. A house designed in this style has a calm and soothing ambiance. Another common feature of Scandinavian design is the use of wood, usually in a light tone. Additionally, like with other modern style houses, the use of white and neutral tones is prevalent, and the focus is on creating stunning combinations without losing out on the natural charm of the materials.

How can I achieve the Scandinavian style in my home?

Owing to its simplicity, implementing the Scandinavian style in a house is not difficult. All you need to do is to follow a few principles:

- A significant feature of the Scandinavian style is light, so you should fill the interiors of your house with ample light. The colour white is used throughout the environment to add brightness to the interiors. 

- The presence of wood is essential, but unlike in country houses, where darker wood is used, in Scandinavian design, lighter shades such as birch or pine are preferred. 

- Wood can be combined with other materials such as marble, metal and natural fibres. 

- Nature is used as a decorative element, so plants and even small trees are a common feature inside the home. 

- For furnishings, you should use natural textiles such as linen, wool and cotton.

How should the walls and floors be decorated in a Scandinavian house? 

As we mentioned earlier, the Nordic style prescribes the use of white on the walls and the ceiling of the house. Off-white is acceptable too.  Wood is used for the floor, but it should be in lighter shades that don’t compromise on the brightness in the area. Additionally, it’s preferable to use the same shade of wood in every room.      

For those who aren’t comfortable with using plain white on the walls, wallpaper can be installed to add small touches of colour that create a contrast in the decoration of the house. For the floors, besides wood, white tiles are an option.  Depending on where you live, you should make a practical choice for the flooring of the house. For example, a light wood floor may not be the best option in coastal areas such as Chennai or Trivandrum due to the high humidity in these cities. Tiles will be a more practical solution in these as well as other cities that are affected by extremely wet weather during the monsoon months.

What type of furniture is ideal for a Scandinavian house?

Furniture should be simple in a Scandinavian style house. It should be plain and with straight lines, but simultaneously be functional and comfortable. It’s common to see furniture in the old or rustic style in Scandinavian design. However, it will have several drawers for storage and is often painted white.   

Another interesting feature of the Scandinavian style is the use of modular pieces of furniture that allow an instant change in the decoration just by rearranging them, reinforcing the concept of functionality and versatility. There’s nothing to stop you from combining antique and modern furniture to add a unique touch to a space.

What other colours can be used?   

Although white is the principal colour of the Scandinavian style, this does not mean that you can't add other shades to the spaces inside the house. Colour can be brought in through textiles, such as cushions and blankets, works of art and decorative accessories. In addition to white, shades of grey, green and blue can be used (as they appear in nature). Pastel colours that soften the starkness of white are other recommended options.

How should a Scandinavian-style house be decorated?   

Textiles:  Furnishings are an essential element in every house, and it’s the same with the Scandinavian style house. However, it is preferable to use natural textiles like cotton, silk, linen and wool. Alternatively, they should represent nature in some manner, whether it’s through a print, colour or texture.    

Carpets: They can be used in the decoration to introduce geometric patterns or striking colours that bring vibrancy to the environment.  You can find a range of affordable carpets, including those made from Jute, which cost upwards of 2,000 INR, depending upon the size. Hand-knotted wool carpets, which are a traditional craft in India, are a fantastic way to introduce geometric patterns, but these rugs are more expensive with starting prices at around 20,000 INR for a 6ft X 4ft size. 

Accessories: In the Scandinavian style, accessories play a secondary role and are only used to complement the decoration. Hence, they should not overpower the environment or make it look chaotic.  Mirrors are an ideal accessory for this style as they allow you to take full advantage of the light and add beauty without interfering with the overall design. Candles, lamps and flowers are other details that can be used to add warmth and elegance.

What type of lighting is used in the Scandinavian style?

If you want your house to reflect the Scandinavian style, it should have ample light, both natural and artificial. Large windows with sheer curtains that allow light to penetrate the interior of the rooms are wonderful for connecting to the outdoors. Additionally, you should have artificial light sources to keep the interiors bright even at night. This can be achieved through floor lamps, ceiling lights and table lamps, among other options. Chandeliers can also be used in Scandinavian design, but opt for geometric or sculptural shapes. Don’t forget about candles! Since Scandinavian design is all about creating serene and cosy spaces, candles help to achieve this by adding a warm and soothing feel to the room. If you are unsure about how to adopt the sophistication of the Scandinavian style in the design and decoration of your home, we suggest you contact one of the interior designers and decorators registered on homify for a free consultation.  You can also browse through hundreds of photographs of modern homes in India to get inspiration on elements that you can include in your Scandinavian style house.