5 Features Of Scandinavian Interior Design That You Need To Know About

Great ol' Scandinavia the alleged home of Santa Claus and his Reindeer Crew™ is also the birthplace of contemporary furniture as we know it. With a philosophy that aims to promote a lifestyle of humanism-centered utility that is affordable for all, it is no wonder that the Scandinavian Aesthetic has taken the world of interior design by storm, Singapore included.

Scandinavian inspired home with living room and dining room displayed

For those who are unfamiliar with this interior theme, the Scandinavian approach to design focuses on a combination of beauty, simplicity and functionality. Its global popularity has largely been credited to its ability to create a space that's both cozy and chic, and one that provides an opportunity to unwind and take a break from the clutter and noise that fills our daily lives in the outside world. 

Before you embark on creating a Scandinavian inspired home, here are 5 key features of Scandinavian Interior Design that you need to know about: 

1. "Less is more", there's no space for clutter here

Scandinavian homes were traditionally small, leaving little room for decorative items and accents, much less for clutter and chunky furniture pieces. Scandinavian interior design thus places an emphasis on avoiding ornate or excessive details, with storage being smartly incorporated into one's living space. 

Minimalist living space, with no clutter and chunky furniture, creating the illusion of space

Using the "less is more" approach, every piece of furniture and decorative element has to truly earn its place in one's home, with little to no tolerance for any clutter. Walls are also often usually left bare and spaces are left relatively sparse, creating the illusion of a spacious and airy home. 

Airy and spacious looking living room

2. Keep it bright with natural light 

Beyond using everyone's favourite track lights, the Scandinavian aesthetic is about having a warm and cozily lit space. However, all Nordic countries share a common characteristic  long, dark winters with limited natural light. This thus requires the smart maximisation of natural light, which is often achieved by the use of multiple light sources as well as the incorporation of large windows, to allow as much natural light into their homes as possible. 

Large windows in Scandinavian inspired home, allowing lots of natural light to enter  Bright Scandinavian inspired living room, with lots of natural light entering the room

While sunny days are less common in Nordic areas and hence a precious commodity there, we get too much of those in Singapore. So, the challenge for us Singaporeans is how to optimise the use of our abundant sunshine to achieve that soft warm glow in our spaces, without hurting our eyes. The solution? Sheer curtains, which continue to allow light to seep in without being overly jarring to our eyes. 

Scandinavian living room in Singapore HDB flat, use of sheer curtains to allow natural light in without hurting our eyes

To maintain a bright living space even after the sun has gone down, simply supplement your home with some light fixtures such as a cool pendant overhead, task lighting, as well as table and floor lamps. 

3. Bright colours? Nah, a muted colour palette is the way to go

As mentioned above, natural light is limited in Nordic countries. With an emphasis on creating a bright home, Scandinavian homes attempt to maintain an inviting and bright feel in their homes even when it's dark outside. The use of colours that can reflect light or give off a bright feel within the space — neutral colours like whites, off-white and grey hues  is thus often used to create this effect, becoming a key feature of all Scandinavian homes.

Living room with grey and white colour palette

While increasingly more colour has been making its way into Scandinavian homes, they are still relatively neutral — pastel and dusty colours like lighter blues and pinks. 

Adding a touch of pastel in a neutral Scandinavian home   Scandinavian home with a pastel colour palette

With Scandinavian homes traditionally being on the smaller side, the use of a muted colour palette also has the added benefit of creating an illusion of a larger space. This trick would also work extremely well for Singaporean homes, which typically don't have the luxury of space. 

4. Tie in some natural elements to show an appreciation for nature

Natural resources were historically scarce in Scandinavian countries, creating a deep and unique appreciation for nature amongst Scandinavians. To pay homage to their appreciation of nature, Scandinavians often incorporate various natural elements in their homes, such as light and bright wood, nature-inspired sculptural pieces, as well as natural textiles and upholstery.

Use of wood and botanical elements in dining room  Touch of wood element in the form of wooden coffee table in living room

Wood is one of the most common natural elements that's present in most Scandinavian homes, whether in the form of walls, wood slats, flooring, decorative pieces or furniture. More specifically, to keep with the light and bright aesthetic of Scandinavian design, light woods like beech, ash and pine are most commonly used in Scandinavian inspired homes 

5. Use botanicals for a pop of colour 

As demonstrated by the previous point, Scandinavians love nature! Hence, to add as much nature indoors as possible, plants, flowers and other botanicals are often incorporated in Scandinavian interior design as well. 

Incorporation of greenery in the bedroom  Plants in the living room.

Apart from purifying the air and helping to reduce stress, botanicals also offer a pop of colour in the neutral, minimalist essence of Scandinavian interior design, brightening and breathing life into one's home. 


  1. https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-scandinavian-design-4149404
  2. https://linesmag.com/6-features-of-scandinavian-interior-design/
  3. https://www.homerenoguru.sg/articles/design-trends/scandinavian-interior-design/
  4. https://www.invaluable.com/blog/scandinavian-design/
  5. https://journal.projectnord.com/blog/scandinavian-colour-schemes-compared
  6. https://www.moderndane.com/blogs/the-modern-dane-blog/scandinavian-interior-design-6-tips-to-bring-scandi-style-to-your-home
  7. https://www.contemporist.com/10-common-features-of-scandinavian-interior-design/


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