How to Create a Scandinavian-Inspired Living Room
Minimalist, Scandinavian design is more popular than ever, but often it’s misconstrued as being all sharp lines and cold colours, where in reality, a Scandi room should feel inviting and warm. Although the principles of this trend are definitely rooted in simplicity, sleek lines and a clean, clutter-free approach, Scandinavian style also seeks to create a cosy sanctuary for you to relax and de-stress in your valuable free time. With an emphasis on soft accents, warm neutral tones and a healthy dose of hygge, Scandi living rooms are comfortable, cheerful and chic.
Keep reading to discover our tips for incorporating Scandinavian-inspired design elements into your living room for an open, friendly and focused space you’ll want to chill out in all the time.
Strip it back to basics
You’re set on a Scandinavian-inspired living room, but you’ve got no idea where to start. That step is simple – take it right back to the very basics. If you’re decorating this room from scratch with no furniture pieces, clear everything out of the space and plan the location and feel of a few key pieces, like your sofa, coffee table and entertainment unit. If you’re simply injecting new life into an existing space, the process is similar. Get rid of all the clutter and focus on your main furniture items, being mindful about where they’re placed in the room and how their positions will inform your day-to-day activities.
Opt for light wood
A common element within Scandi design is the use of light wood for furniture pieces like coffee tables, buffets and entertainment units. Although this isn’t a hard and fast rule, you’ll find that light wood tones keep the space feeling airy, clean and soft. Light wood is also really easy to coordinate, meaning you can purchase items from a range of collections and be relatively certain they’ll match one another.
Emphasise clean, sleek lines
When finalising furniture pieces for a Scandinavian-inspired living room, it’s important to think sleek, simple and clean. Don’t opt for anything with distracting accents or too much flair to it – Scandi style is all about keeping it minimal. Think basic geometric shapes, wider angles and simple cabinetry.
Keep things neutral
When it comes to colour in your modern Scandi living room, here’s a rule of thumb – keep your base as neutral as possible. Shades of beige, oatmeal, brown, grey, cream and/or ivory should make up the majority of the tones within your space. This creates a warm and cosy feel and a neutrality that will allow you to add small bursts of excitement throughout, adapting Scandi style so it’s entirely your own.
Molly Armchair & Clay Bench
Use light and shade as accents
With your neutral colour palette established across your larger furniture pieces and decor items, you can then use light and shade as accents – we’re talking your stark whites and deep blacks. These should be scattered sparingly throughout the room, used to pull focus to certain areas. Incorporate these colours in furniture legs, vases, lamps, cushions and rugs.
Add a pop of (subdued) colour
If the idea of styling a room with no real colour sounds daunting to you, wipe that sweat off your brow – it’s not totally taboo to include a little colour in your Scandi living room. As long as you use it very sparingly, and are quite particular about your colour choices, it’s very achievable. Opt for grey-toned pastels like millennial pink, dusky blue or sage green to bring a little colour into the space. This can, once again, be achieved through those accent items like cushions, plants, throws, trays and other decor bits and bobs.
Use new materials for texture
As a Scandi space features a whole heap of neutrals, the way you’ll add visual interest in a subtle way is through the use of different textures. Whether these are incorporated in bigger pieces like chairs, sofas, sideboards and tables, or are focused on the smaller details of vases, rugs, trays and trinkets, try to opt for a range of textures in neutral shades. We’re talking marble, rattan, glass, weaving, ceramics . . . the list goes on! Whatever you choose, just ensure you don’t go overboard – if you’re considering Scandi, it’s likely you don’t want your home to look like Liberace’s mansion.
Soften with textiles
To keep things warm, inviting and happily hygge (more on this later!), contemplate using textiles in – say it with us – neutral shades. This will add even more gorgeous texture, but in a highly subtle way, and it’ll also ensure your Scandi living room is fully functional. If curtains are your thing, opt for soft, natural drapes that will let the light in. Be sure to dot blankets, throw cushions and rugs around the space as necessary, so that when the chance arises for a relaxing afternoon spent at home, you can bask in the comfort of your new living room.
Prioritise form and function
Where Scandinavian design is concerned, form and function have equal weight. That means that when you’re purchasing furniture, it’s key that you ruminate on whether the piece you’re considering will not only look beautiful, but do the job for you day-to-day. For instance, if a table fits perfectly with your new Scandi aesthetic, but doesn’t have enough space for your family to sit comfortably, it’s definitely not the right purchase. The same goes for an uncomfortable chair or a buffet with drawers rather than the cabinets you wanted – prioritise how it will fit into your life and happiness will follow.
Select complementary pieces
Scandi style is achieved by translating simplicity into your space, and an easy way to do that is to purchase coordinating or complementary furniture pieces. We’re not saying you have to buy the whole set – although that’s certainly an option – but rather, think deeply about the pieces that will grace your home and how they play off one another. Perhaps a matching table and chairs set will look beautiful alongside a sideboard in similar colours, but from a different collection.
Choose your sofa wisely
As per the form and function debate, it’s crucial – we’re not exaggerating here – that your sofa is up to scratch. Not only does it have to look good, as the focal piece that will tie your entire room together, but it’s also got to be comfortable, sturdy and durable. When it comes to colour, greys and neutrals like oatmeal or brown are both stunning and good at masking spills or wear and tear. Be sure to select a sofa design that suits your lifestyle (think about how you watch TV and go from there).
Don’t forget hygge!
Convivial, cosy, welcoming – these are all English words we might use to try and convey the meaning of ‘hygge’. This is a Danish and Norwegian term, and it’s filtered down from their way of living and styling to influence home-makers all over the world. Try to incorporate a little hygge into everything you do when creating your comfortable, relaxing living room.
Light everything up
There’s an important element of the design process we haven’t talked about yet – lighting! From floor lamps to pendants, table lamps and more, there are lots of options to choose from here, most of which suit Scandi style well. Ensure your space has enough light sources to support that cosy atmosphere and fulfil the ‘function’ part of the brief. When it comes to the look and feel of your lights, opt for sleek designs, wooden or white bases and neutral-toned shades.
Declutter and designate
Ahh, minimalism. Marie Kondo’s promoted it, as have many style and design influencers, to the point where almost all of us have tried decluttering in our own homes. We promise this isn’t a trend, but in fact, is something that’s here to stay – having a clear and clean living space is so important, and very conducive to being able to relax.
When you’re styling your new Scandinavian-inspired room, declutter as best you can (within reason, of course) and give all remaining ‘clutter’ items their own homes. Drawers, baskets, shelves and trays come in handy here – use the features your space already boasts to ensure miscellaneous junk stays out of your way unless you truly need it.
Mia Entertainment Unit & Bookcase make for the perfect storage solutions
Hone in on storage
In a Scandi space, storage is more important than you may ever realise – it’s impossible to exaggerate the centrality this has to your room. As we’ve mentioned above, keeping your clutter tidy and out of sight means you’ll not only feel super at-ease in your space, but it’ll also guarantee it looks gorgeous at all times of the day. Oh, and did we mention it makes cleaning up 10 times easier? Opt for bigger storage options like baskets to slide under furniture or tuck away in the corner of your room, and smaller items such as trays to house anything finicky or delicate. Of course, don’t forget to maximise in-built storage as well.
Embrace chic, calming art
Every room needs something on the walls, which is where beautiful works of art come in. When you’re selecting art pieces for your modern Scandinavian living room, consider two things – the colour palette and the overall ‘feel’ of the work. Colour is undeniably important, as we’ve established, so try to tie your art in with the rest of the room by using neutral and monochromatic tones. Whatever art piece you select should also feel calming and soft, rather than aggressive or energetic.
Another way to liven up any Scandi space is to play around with layering. Whether it’s through cushions and throws on a couch, varying heights on a mantlepiece or overlapping rugs on the floor, layering can add depth and texture when working with a limited colour palette. Try it out in corners of your living room that feel as if they need a bit more pizzazz.
Breathe life with plants
As the world currently stands, it’s practically illegal not to own a houseplant. Everyone’s gotten obsessed with cultivating their at-home green thumb, which might not be fantastic for your time management, but is incredible if you love interior decorating. Plants are the perfect way to give your space a fresh, bright and natural vibe, plus they have lots of hidden properties, such as cleaning the air and creating a calm atmosphere. Add pops of greenery throughout your Scandinavian living room to tie the space together and embrace hygge.
Focus on finishing touches
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can turn the figurative dial in your home from 9 to 10. Whether you’re fully adopting the Scandinavian feel or are simply taking some tips from their attention to detail, modern minimalism and intentionality, it’s important to still showcase yourself in your space. Personal touches and little tweaks will turn your house into a home, as the saying goes, so be sure to find opportunities for framed photos, sentimental trinkets and things that reflect you and your family’s ethos.
Break the rules
Finally, our last rule is a bit hypocritical – but, after all, they’re made to be broken. There’s always room to turn things on their heads, so don’t feel as if you have to implement Scandi style using these as hard and fast, unbreakable rules. As long as you focus on the key tenets of Scandi living – functionality, form, comfort and a sprinkle of hygge – whatever room you create is sure to reflect that. Now it’s time to get moving and create the gorgeous, modern Scandinavian living room of your dreams.
Create Your Scandi Living Room With BROSA
Not sure where to start with Scandi? Shop our collection of Scandinavian-inspired furniture, including dining tables, cabinets, chairs and sofas. If you find the perfect piece, great – BROSA offers Australia-wide shipping to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and beyond. Need a little more help before you make that all-important decision? Access our range of virtual styling services, or visit one of our studio spaces, located in Sydney and Melbourne.