10 Fresh Nordic-Inspired Design Trends for 2018

Practicality, functionality and comfort — just a few of the reasons that the popularity of Scandinavian design endures. The styles are eminently mixable and convey a relaxed yet stylish vibe. That’s why we’re excited about these 10 Scandinavian design trends that are popping up in decor everywhere. Look at these emerging trends and see what you can incorporate in your own space.

Stripes

Stripes are a classic graphic and a refreshing choice after years of chevron-dominated decor. Whether you prefer horizontal, vertical, fat or narrow, adding stripes to your decor is a quick refresh. Stripes are also versatile in that depending upon the type of fabric and the style of design, they can convey a multitude of interior design styles. Thin or widely spaced stripes on a basic fabric in a neutral color is more casual and utilitarian — and more Scandinavian feeling — than a piece upholstered in bold colors and a more formal pattern.

View in gallery
Bunakara’s casual sofa combines a ticking stripe fabric with a widely spaced double stripe.
Thin, burnt orange striped cushions pair well with the casual wicker frame.View in gallery
Thin, burnt orange striped cushions pair well with the casual wicker frame.
A multicolored stripe on the nDesign chair with a classic shape yields a more formal piece.View in gallery
A multicolored stripe on the nDesign chair with a classic shape yields a more formal piece.

Black & White Decor

The classic black and white color palette gets a Nordic kick when paired with classic Scandinavian shapes. This minimalist chair from Case is paired with a graphic rug. The setting has a comfortable Scandinavian feeling along with a lively pop from the rug pattern. Decorating a room — or multiple rooms — in black and white with Nordic furnishings creates a space that is minimalist and chic yet still comfortable and welcoming. What else would you expect from the land of Hygge?

Basic furnishings can get new life with the addition of a graphically patterned rug.View in gallery
Basic furnishings can get new life with the addition of a graphically patterned rug.

Can’t redo a whole room right now? Try adding just one piece that is in a black and white graphic and add some complementary accessories. This cabinet from Lim and Liu is paired with versatile candleholders that can reverse directions and feature opposite color combinations. The linear feel of the cabinet is a contrast to the curvy accessories. In fact, the candleholders alone would be a wonderful black and white accent for a room done in a traditional Scandinavian style.

Black and white pieces will always pair with a solid color wall in a brighter hue.View in gallery
Black and white pieces will always pair with a solid color wall in a brighter hue.

If your style is less minimalist, black and white can still work in your home. This bathroom vanity is decidedly not Scandinavian, but the clean black and white palette adds drama to the bathroom and plays down the baroque shape of the vanity.

View in gallery
Godi’s black vanity is a fitting anchor for dramatic black and white bathroom decor.

The living room is also a good spot for a black and white color palette. The minimalist style sofa is accented with black and striped pillows while the rug sports a modern graphic design. Add a few nordic wooden chairs and it’s a comfortable family room ensemble. With the addition of more modern elements like these gleaming black stools that resemble boulders, it tends a bit more toward luxury.

View in gallery
Erba’s sofa is a plush yet basic piece to ground the room’s design.

Basic pieces in black, like this chair and the interesting floor lamp are great additions to any room where you want to create a black and white color scheme. Both pieces are naturals to fit into a Nordic-inspired space and are super functional — a hallmark of Scandinavian furnishings.

The chair would also be perfect for a dining table.View in gallery
The chair would also be perfect for a dining table.

Definitely modern, but still versatile enough to pair with traditional Scandinavian pieces are these black and white armchairs. The leggy style and curved cut of the seat are distinctive yet minimalist enough for a nordic-inspired space.

These chairs from Erba would go well in a luxe space as well as a Scandinavian style room.View in gallery
These chairs from Erba would go well in a luxe space as well as a Scandinavian style room.

Gray Walls

Despite predictions of its imminent plunge from popularity, gray walls do not seem to be going away any time soon. Light hues or dark, and everything in between, gray walls are trending in Scandinavian style. This room relies on a dray gray tone for its accent wall, which adds depth and dimension to the space. The color is a modern neutral that creates a marvelous base for wall art.

Neutral gray is a perfect match for the wood tones found in Scandinavian style.View in gallery
Neutral gray is a perfect match for the wood tones found in Scandinavian style.

Zanotta’s living room features dark matte gray walls that serve to highlight the off-white modular sofa. Together with the wood furniture and accents it creates a chic Scandinavian style room. The addition of modern lighting brings the space a fresh vibe.

A neutral palette is boosted by the darker gray walls.View in gallery
A neutral palette is boosted by the darker gray walls.

Slatted Walls

Reminiscent of a nordic sauna, slatted walls provide a feeling of relaxation and privacy without confinement. Added to a living are, they allow light to filter through and serve as a visual barrier in a space. The extra wood adds warmth to a room and evokes the outdoors. A slatted wall is appropriate in any room and brings a unique, stylish element to a home.

Even paired with more formal furnishings, the slatted wall adds a natural feeling.View in gallery
Even paired with more formal furnishings, the slatted wall adds a natural feeling.

Shades of Blue

While a neutral palette and monochrome decor help create a relaxing nordic vibe, a pop of color adds brightness and vibrancy to an otherwise restrained space. And for Scandinavians, what other color would they choose but blue? Whether it reminds them of the sea or the azure sky above, all shades of blue can work in a nordic-inspired room. Bright cobalt, sky blue and light powder blue are among the hues that are commonly chosen. Here, a periwinkle blue, tall-backed sofa is paired with an upholstered piece that can serve as a seat or a coffee table, thanks to the pale wood inset.

<a href="http://www.mobiladalin.ro">Mobiladalin</a> pairs bright colors with modern, Nordic-inspires silhouettes.View in gallery
Mobiladalin pairs bright colors with modern, Nordic-inspires silhouettes.

A more muted blue exudes a relaxed vibe that really fits with the Scandinavian theme. This shade of blue upholstery on the furnishings by Perrouin almost function as a neutral and would work in many types of spaces. Overall, it is a family friendly and casual collection that adds just the right amount of color to a nordic-inspired interior.

The muted shade of blue pairs well with pale wood.View in gallery
The muted shade of blue pairs well with pale wood.

For a lighter, more feminine feel, a powder blue is also a great option because it nicely complements the lighter-hued wood. The style is a fabulous blend of mid-century modern and nordic design that create a fresh piece, perfect for today’s Scandinavian interiors.

This chair from <a href="http://www.gyllos.gr">Gyllos</a> is stylish and comfortable for conversing or as a dining chair.View in gallery
This chair from Gyllos is stylish and comfortable for conversing or as a dining chair.

Leather Upholstery

Traditionally, only a modest amount of leather could be found in nordic styles, but the Scandinavian trend is now embracing more leather, especially distressed and repurposed styles. These upholstered dining chairs from Classic Home are a great example, with their simple silhouette, classic wooden legs and distressed, quilted leather design.

Rustic leather is gaining popularity and designers are embracing its natural flaws as unique features.View in gallery
Rustic leather is gaining popularity and designers are embracing its natural flaws as unique features.

Bobo Intriguing Objects has this comfortable natural leather armchair that has a unique peaked back. It’s a comfortable chair without being overstuffed, which makes it appropriate for the more restrained nordic style of decorating.

A contrasting textile cushion prevents the leather from being overwhelming.View in gallery
A contrasting textile cushion prevents the leather from being overwhelming.

If a piece of furniture upholstered fully in leather is too much for you, leather accessories are a fantastic way to add a touch of the material to your decor. A substantial but understated leather basket from Fern can corral your reading materials, knitting projects or children’ toys in the most stylish way. The gorgeous handcrafted detailing emphasizes the artistry and care, which is part and parcel of the Scandinavian way.

By the sofa or by the fireplace, this is a very handsome accessory.View in gallery
By the sofa or by the fireplace, this is a very handsome accessory.

Storage as Decor

For such a long time, storage relied on endless bins that are hidden in closets and under beds, and whose aim is to hide our belongings. Enter the latest nordic-inspired trend where well-loved and treasured belongings become items for display, on racks and accessories that are meant to be seen. Storage as decor is an outgrowth of the trend of acquiring fewer things, buying items of quality and letting those pieces shine. A lovely copper-colored coat tree from Hyfen is a perfect example: With a stylish coat tree like this, why hide your favorite coat in the closet? Instead, keep it handy and on display.

Choosing a stylish and artful coat tree is an easy way to embrace this trend.View in gallery
Choosing a stylish and artful coat tree is an easy way to embrace this trend.

Hyfen’s modern room divider is another way to incorporate the concept of storage as decor. The trapezoidal arrangement of the matte black poles is highlighted by a single red textile panel. Elegant wooden hangers on the top can display the outfit you plan to wear tomorrow or simply be where you keep your favorite shirts. The open design is good for accessorizing a large blank wall or dividing a bedroom sleeping area from a dressing or seating area.

This modern, minimalist piece is appropriate for any room.View in gallery
This modern, minimalist piece is appropriate for any room.

If floor space is at a premium, try installing a rack that is as much art as it is storage. This clean design highlights the wood and craftsmanship. Perfect for an entryway or a closet area, it can be the home for coats or often-worn items. With a stylish rack like this, it’s easy to hang things, so they are more likely end up on the rack rather than in a pile on the floor.

The versatility this piece is beyond compare.View in gallery
The versatility this piece is beyond compare.

Feathers

Generally, Scandinavian design does not prominently feature great deal of printed motifs, however, feathers are now trending in nordic-inspired decor. This doesn’t mean you have to start draping feather boas around your house. The trend features the motif in carved relief as well as a in restrained prints that have a natural feel. It’s the opposite of the over-the-top Jungalow style that features abundant leaf prints. Instead, a few carefully designed, detailed feathers are the accents on a pillow, print or other accessory.

This cozy chair covered in a knitted wool roving is the perfect home for an accent pillow that features feathers in an earthy tone from Two’s Company.

Feathers are a gentle touch of nature for any interior decor scheme.View in gallery
Feathers are a gentle touch of nature for any interior decor scheme.
The earthy hues are a fitting accent for a hygge-filled space.View in gallery
The earthy hues are a fitting accent for a hygge-filled space.

If your taste trends a little more to the glam end of the spectrum, you can still find ways to incorporate this motif, as with this silver bowl. Set upon a base of golden feathers, the decor piece is a glitzier example of the feather trend.

While this might not be right for a full-on nordic style space, it is for a more formal space.View in gallery
While this might not be right for a full-on nordic style space, it is for a more formal space.

Fun Kids’ Beds

Children reign in Scandinavian culture so it’s no surprise that really fun beds for kids are now a big thing. This trend fits right in with Hygge and is perfect for children, especially during the long winter months when outdoor play is limited. From a simple playhouse style bed to a more elaborate car, airplane or Native American tent bed, the only limits to what you can do here are the imagination and budget. Of course, true Nordic-inspired children’s beds will likely feature more restrained designs.

View in gallery
Gautier’s bed design allows for flexibility in the textiles used for the bed.
View in gallery
Circu designs are the stuff of childhood fantasies.
Kids can dream big in a fantasy bed like a plane.View in gallery
Kids can dream big in a fantasy bed like a plane.

Asian Inspired Lighting Fixtures

Just as we look to other cultures for fresh design perspectives, so do the Scandinavians, hence the nod to Asian-inspired lighting fixtures that are becoming very popular. If you think about it, both cultures share important design sensibilities, such as quality and simplicity, so it’s no wonder that Asian elements work well in Nordic-inspired interiors.

<a href="https://www.graypants.com">Graypants</a> specializes in cardboard creations, many of which resemble Asian lanterns.View in gallery
Graypants specializes in cardboard creations, many of which resemble Asian lanterns.
This pendant has a lantern shape paired with Scandinavian construction.View in gallery
This pendant has a lantern shape paired with Scandinavian construction.

While you should never embrace a design trend just because it’s popular, there are lots of reasons that these 10 Scandinavian trends are catching on. Whichever ones speak to you and fit the style and design of your home, try incorporating them now. That way, you can enjoy them through the coldest of the winter months, when you spend the most time indoors.