Scandinavian Furniture – Style & Decorating Guide

Maximum style with minimal clutter – isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

The secret to a chic, fuss-free design is the Scandinavian design style and Scandinavian-style furniture.

When you love a room characterized by clean lines, functionality, light, space, and serenity, Scandinavian furniture is a perfect choice.


Simplicity and purpose are two of the guiding lights showcasing Scandinavian furniture and interior décor. The understated beauty of furniture pieces inspired by Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway design trends works wonderfully in any house or apartment.

It’s also one of the easiest looks to achieve for maximum impact in your home. And as a bonus, your rooms look tidy and organized, too!

Want to learn how to bring fresh Scandinavian style to your home? Read on for our décor hints and tips.

History of the Popular Scandinavian Furniture Style

The origin of Scandinavian design gives important insight into its core design characteristics.

The Scandinavian style is inseparable from the politics and identity of the Nordic countries; the high point of furniture and interior design came in the late 1930s through to the late 60s. “In 1932 Sweden’s Social Democrats came to power promising to clean up the poor living conditions endured by the working classes… their mantra, ‘better everyday living for everyone,’ became an ideological touchstone for designers and makers throughout the region,” says City A.M.

Interiors became more comfortable and functional, designed to protect from the hard weather conditions in winter, and provide economical solutions to interior design.

Since most people lived in small houses, furniture had to serve a useful purpose, and also reflect light to make the interior feel airy and cozy. Furniture was designed by considering optimal function, and developed with the needs of the Scandinavian people in mind.

In 1947 the Triennale di Milano, a design show in Milan, first showcased Scandinavian home décor and furniture.

People all over the world began to take notice.

A display of Scandinavian design traveled to the US and Canada between 1954 and 1957, further spreading Scandinavian furniture fascination.

As people in the US and the rest of Europe generally favored more ornate furniture and opulent décor at this time, the Nordic style was a breath of fresh air. The simple elegance of the furniture was accessible to all.

The popularity of the Scandinavian furniture style declined a little during the 80s and 90s, but has rebounded in recent years. The Scandi lifestyle became aspirational once more, aided by hit Scandinavian TV series, popular Scandinavian furniture stores, and even Scandinavian cooking trends.

Scandinavian furniture is on-trend right now. Here’s all you need to know about this popular style.

Standout Features of Scandinavian Style Furniture

The term “Scandinavian,” when used to describe furniture, has come to signify chic minimalism, unfussy design, and beautiful simplicity. Scandinavian furniture is characterized by:

Pure, Clean Lines

Scandinavian furniture is built using simple, clean lines that make a functional piece of furniture that doesn’t look elaborate or ornate, just like this Oslo Scandinavian Oak Large Sideboard.

Much of the furniture is made with built-in drawer handles and concealed latches that keep the finish smooth and attractive.


Natural Materials

As Scandinavians are great outdoor-lovers, they believe in bringing a little nature indoors. Furniture is constructed from natural woods like oak, ash and pine, and other natural materials. Wood is preferred for flooring, too.

Light-Colored Wood

In Scandinavian homes, natural light is at a premium in the cold, dark winters so furniture must amplify natural light whenever possible. Scandinavian-style furniture is generally built from light, bright woods like light oak and pine that reflect light around the room, as you can see in this Oslo Scandinavian Oak Bedroom set-up:


Wood stains and varnishes are generally clear and light in order to maintain the feeling of airiness.

High-Quality Manufacture

A room with Scandinavian furniture is all about quality over quantity. It is not about the number of pieces you have in your home, but how they work together, and the beauty they lend to the space.

Smoothly Curved Edges

The Scandinavian style of furniture is about soft, gentle curves rather than the blocky, angular style of industrial or minimalist furniture.

Curved edges to a simple, boxy shape soften the look and give it universal appeal.

Take a look at this oak TV Unit where the corners are soft and curved, and the drawer handles indented and smooth.


How to Create the Scandinavian Look in Your Home

Freshome says; “Scandinavian homes have a pure, pared backed style that is centered around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance. The use of light is considered to be extremely important, and many Scandinavian homes are characterized by the use of earthy muted tones, honest materials and minimal ornamentation.”

Here’s how you can get the Scandinavian look in your home:

Boost the Light:

When you have large windows maximize the incoming light by choosing sheer drapes – or no drapes at all. Windows should be positioned to bring maximum illumination into the room. Capitalize on the light by choosing Scandinavian-style furniture in light wood tones. Use mirrors to reflect light and simple light fixtures that create light without cluttering the room.


Scandi Living Room via Decoist

Use Neutral Color:

Muted neutral colors dominate a Scandi-style living room, bedroom, or dining room.

White is a great choice for its brilliant beauty that doesn’t overwhelm the room. Gray is also a good choice, and can be less harsh than white if you have a lot of light coming into the room.

If you don’t want to go completely white or gray, inject brighter touches in the form of colorful accessories, a blue rug, or patterned cushions. Keep accessories low-key, however, to keep the minimalist essence of the Scandinavian style.


Scandi Decor via Style at Home

Make the Most of a Small Space:

Scandinavian furniture and décor are ideal for a small space. The lack of clutter and use of functional furniture makes the most of a tiny living room or bedroom.

Neutrals on the walls and a neutral-colored wood floor also help to enhance the feeling of space.

Go Easy on the Accessories:

Scandinavian style is simple, streamlined and de-cluttered. Make good use of storage space like closets and dressers to keep items tucked away, and only display what you really care about.


Check out the look with this set of Oslo Scandinavian Oak Dining Room Furniture

Feeling inspired by the Scandinavian style? Remember our simple tips for this versatile look that’s perfect for contemporary and traditional homes alike.

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