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scandinavian style

What Is Scandinavian Style?

If you’re looking for a way to cut back to the essentials without sacrificing style, consider the Scandinavian look for your home. This type of home design looks clean and uncluttered, yet still warm and inviting. So, if you want a style that emphasizes clean lines, natural materials and a light, bright space overall, here’s how to get the Scandinavian style in your home.

History of Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian design began in the 1930s, when several Nordic countries—including Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark—started promoting a simpler, more affordable way of living. The minimal style replaced a more extravagant, expensive look for homes, relying on lots of white space, as well as materials and colors based in nature.

scandinavian style bedroom
By the 1950s, people in Europe and the US were becoming familiar with this style, and the affordable, clean look appealed to them. To this day, it's a favorite style among people who value simplicity and a lack of clutter in their home.

The Essentials of Scandinavian Style

scandinavian style essential
The point of this style is to blend form and function together while keeping the design simple and uncluttered. Think of a minimalistic yet warm, welcoming look...and you've captured the essence of this style.
In fact, one of the main rules of Scandinavian style is to keep the room clean, calm and decluttered—which often means leaving plenty of negative space.

Scandinavian Materials

Achieving the minimalistic look means you don't need to gather too many decorations or furnishings, but it also means what you do use should be made of the right materials for this style. In particular, Scandinavian style emphasizes the use of natural materials, with a mix of old and new to combine the traditional and modern looks.

For this reason, some common materials used for this style include leather, stone, wood and wool to create a warm, inviting feel in any room. You can mix these traditional materials with more modern options like concrete, brass and copper. So consider this when you're choosing end tables, lamps and picture frames for your home. And if you're considering changing up your floors to fit the Scandinavian style, keep in mind that wood floors are typically the way to go—though a few well-placed area rugs would be perfect to keep the room inviting without looking too cluttered.

The Scandinavian Color Palette

As you decorate your home to suit this style, consider the colors you should use. First, note that leaving your walls white is perfect for the Scandinavian style, as this gives your furniture and décor a chance to shine. If you don't want to leave all the walls white, you can choose a similar neutral shade, such as soft gray or light brown. After all, the main colors for this style include white, gray, brown and black. Basically, colors that are earthy and light are favorites here since they create a warm look and feel.

That being said, Scandinavian style does allow for additional colors if you want to add a playful, unexpected look to a room. Just stick to soft pastel hues that can lighten up the space. Pale pink, mint green or seafoam green can look great on an accent wall, couch pillows or a rug in a home with this style.

Scandinavian Lighting

Every home needs good lighting, especially if it follows the Scandinavian style, since lights are often the focal point here. With this style, the job of a light is to not only brighten up the home, but also create an inviting, warm feel. And if you can do it as naturally as possible, even better! That's why Scandinavian homes often have large windows that are open to let in as much sunlight as possible.
scandinavian style lighting
Of course, there are only so many hours of sunlight each day, which means you can't rely solely on the windows for light. Luckily, you can stick with the natural look even when you buy lights for the house. For example, you can buy lamps and pendant lights with a combination of wood and metal, with copper being an especially popular material for this style. As you shop for lighting, keep in mind that LED bulbs tend to be the best for mimicking natural daylight, so consider buying some of those for your new lights.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.