A Scandinavian living room is a distinctive look that anyone can achieve by following a simple style guide. This spare but cozy style is accessible to anyone and blends well with many modern homes.
Scandinavian style and living room design are an ideal pairing. We can think of no better place to enjoy a warm and cozy design that gives you and your family a comfortable place to gather. Homes & Gardens calls this a “winning combination of form and function” that is both pleasing and practical.
Scandinavian Living Room Ideas for Design
Designing a Scandinavian living room begins with some important elements. We have gathered some diverse Scandinavian style living rooms to show you how you can begin to put these elements to work in your home.
Choose a Distinct Scandi Style
Not every Scandinavian living room style looks the same. In fact, there are rustic Scandinavian living room designs, minimalist Scandinavian living room designs, and boho Scandinavian living room designs as well as designs that spring from the various Scandinavian countries.
In general, Danish design tends to be more modern and sleek and Swedish design incorporates more folk art elements into its design. Some Scandinavian styles will fit your lifestyle and work better for you than others.
Cozy Focal Point
What better place to get cozy in the living room than in front of a fireplace or wood stove. To create your own warm Scandinavian living room from scratch, be sure to include a fireplace or wood burning stove in your design. Add a basket of firewood near the fireplace for easy restocking.
Open Floor Plan
Many Scandinavian designed homes have open floor plans with the common areas like the living room, dining room, and kitchen all connected. They are located in a centralized location that is accessible to everyone in the home.
An open floor plan offers positives and negatives. Highlight the positives by making each area distinct and defined. Use area rugs and unique light fixtures to create visual separation between each area. Tie the areas together by using a common color palette and furniture style.
Base of Light Neutrals
Scandinavia is famous for their gray skies and long dark winter days. Because of this, their design tends to favor light interior colors to reflect all the natural light from the outdoors as well as give the home a cheerful look.
Begin with a base of light neutral tones like warm whites and grays. White, cream, or light beige walls are a great way to get an authentic Scandi look. Also, add light foundational pieces like your sofa and accent chairs. If you have small children or pets and want to avoid white furniture, use gray or beige from light to darker tones. If you don’t know where to start with finding good neutrals, take a look at Benjamin Moore’s Hygge Paint Color palette for inspiration.
Add Earthy Color Highlights
If you are someone who loves color, feel free to add pops of color to your Scandinavian design living room. Colors inject warmth and unique personality into your home space.
Focus on colors that reflect the natural world like burnt sienna, slate blue, forest green, and earthy brown. You can choose to use washed out colors for more muted interest or deep saturated tones. Get a head start by taking a look at Sherwin Williams’ Rejuvenation color palette or Benjamin Moore’s Cozy Cabin color palette. Both of these have rich earth toned palettes that blend together in a seamless way.
Add Different Textures
Neutral colored furniture and decor are vital in Scandinavian style living rooms, but they are never one dimensional. Instead, even when these rooms have a neutral color scheme, the layered textures throughout Scandinavian designs create deep interest.
Focus on natural textures like wool, cotton, wood, stone, leather, wicker, rattan, and jute to get the most authentic Scandinavian style living room. This means incorporating wool throw blankets, leather chairs, wood furniture and decor, and stone accents to create interesting focal points and comfy seating.
Scandinavian design follows the mantra that “less is more”. This means that you should avoid superfluous furniture and accents where possible and focus on furniture that is needed to create a pleasing flow and look within the room.
If possible, buy furniture that is the best quality that you can afford. This will ensure that you can keep the pieces that you love from year to year. Also, don’t feel the need to squeeze the room with Scandinavian living room furniture but feel comfortable with the spaces in between.
Natural and Artificial Lighting
Scandinavia has a long and dark winter season. Capturing all the available natural light and layering warm artificial light inside is one of the best ways to create a bright but cozy interior.
Keep your window coverings to a minimum or do away with them altogether. If you need a curtain for privacy, use light colored natural fabric curtains and make sure that you can pull them away from the window to expose the complete window.
Make sure that your modern Scandinavian living room has ample sources of layered artificial lighting including lamps, overhead light and task lighting.
It is hard to create a snug and pleasant room if there is a cold floor. Most Scandinavian living rooms do not have wall-to-wall carpet, they favor wood floors. Choose a light color wood to get the most authentic Scandinavian look. You can also paint your floors white to brighten the room.
Scandinavian design favors large area rugs. Add a neutral wool rug or layer it with a jute rug to give the room more texture. You can also use the rug choice as an opportunity to inject some warm color into your living room.
Scandinavian design came of age during the modernist era, so it works well with modern and mid-century furniture and decor. Choose a piece of furniture, lighting, or decor that has a unique style for modern Scandinavian living room designs with a contemporary edge.
Natural Decor and Greenery
Scandinavian living room decor includes items found in nature. Display plants and cut greenery along with bowls of pine cones, fruit, flowers, seashells, bare branches to add extra texture and soften the sharp edges of the living room design.
In order to create a more dramatic Scandinavian living room design, add some contrast with dark neutrals and with wood. This can give your room a more custom look. Paint your wall with two contrasting colors or add some natural wood paneling
Scandinavian Living Room Starter Kit
Here are a couple of items of furniture and decor that will help build your Scandinavian-style living room.
Claremont Boucle Sofa
A sofa like the Claremont works well in Scandinavian living room design because it has a textured boucle upholstery, and it is an off-white color. The bottom edge of wood gives the sofa some interesting contrast.
The Bellis Armchair has a classic mid-century shape. The soft leather and back pillow give the chair a comfortable but structured style.
Carson Sled Coffee Table
The Carson Sled Coffee Table has a clean and simple style that is ideal in Scandinavian style. It has an open bottom, perfect for tucking storage baskets to keep clutter at bay.
Bouwhuis Flatweave Rug
A rug like this provides the perfect foundation for your Scandi living room. It is made from cotton and wool, so that it is both comfortable and sturdy underfoot.
Abstract Wall Art
This wall art from Line2Form features digital downloads that you can print in a variety of sizes. This set would work well for a modern or minimalist Scandinavian living room design.
Creating a Timeless Scandinavian Living Room Design
Scandinavian living room design is an accessible design style that everyone can achieve. Begin paring back your decor and superfluous furniture and invest in some simple, neutral, and quality pieces that you can keep and cherish for your lifetime. This will give you a foundation that will allow you to build a design that is classic and timeless.