Scandinavian Design: How to Get the Denmark Look

Using Scandanavian design elements in your home.The Scandinavian nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland favor a shared sense of design and aesthetics that has captured the hearts and eyes of designers around the globe for years (long before IKEA became mainstream!

What is it about Scandinavian design that makes it so pleasing, and how can you create the look?

Design Elements

From its beginnings in the early 20th century, Scandinavian design is minimal, durable and cost-efficient, with an emphasis on nature and craftsmanship.

This design style is influenced by the Scandinavian way of life – art, culture, landscape and climate. The use of wood, wool and handcrafted objects is inspired from the traditional arts of woodwork and needlework. Long winters and the lack of natural light were key in laying the foundation for design elements. Light walls and flooring, minimal window treatments and the use of reflective surfaces, make the most of the available light.

Neutral design elements in your home.

Neutral Color Palette

Working with a neutral color palette is great way to achieve a minimalist look, a universal feature of Scandinavian design.
Neutral colors are used to create clean, bright and spacious living spaces.

The walls are almost always left white (or painted in pale pastels), which helps the space look cohesive and uniform. Neutral walls also make a great starting point to add statement wall décor, build open shelving units, throw in a rug, or a cozy armchair for a pop of color.

Getting the look: Paint the walls with colors like white, light gray or beige, and stick with a couple of statement pieces to add a pop of color or shine to the otherwise monochromatic room (recent trends favor metallic finishes or lighting accent pieces). Remember, simplicity is key!



Scandinavian design is all about the use of wood- Floors, kitchen countertops, furniture, and even toys. In keeping with the light-colored theme, use wood species like beech, pine, oak and ash. Wood furniture is not ornate, and kept simple and functional.

Nordic homes avoid the use of wall-to-wall carpeting. Hardwood floors prevail in a natural shade or are painted white. The light floors build the perception of space and invite more light in, lending peaceful vibes to the home.

Getting the look:
If you have floors stained a dark color, for your next home project, sand them down and oil them with WOCA’s Diamond Active Oil in White . Depending on the type of wood used for the flooring you can also add a lye treatment that delays the yellowing of the wood and preserves the wood grain, such as Driftwood Lye, Softwood Lye or Wood Lye.

Forego furniture with excessive detailing. To achieve a matte look, give it          Master Color Oil in White treatment (especially for furniture made of oak, beech, ash and soft wood).


Adding botanicals to create a Scandanavian inspired home.Botanicals

Live flowers and potted plants not only add a pop of color to the living space, but also connect the indoors to the outdoors. Scandinavian homes make use of botanicals for harmony in living spaces.

Getting the look:

Add a bit of green to the indoors with potted house plants, or throw flowers in a vase. For those of us who do not have the best track record at caring for plants, succulents and cacti make for a great alternative.



Lighting and windows in Scandanavian design.Lighting

Given the long and dreary winters, taking advantage of the natural light was paramount to Scandinavian design. Both floor and hanging lamps are found throughout homes, and preferred over ceiling spotlights. Windows are left bare of coverings allowing for the most light to stream into the home.

Getting the look:

Take advantage of large windows if you have them. Leave them unadorned or use sheer fabrics or linen for drapes. Add simple and modern mood lighting to your home. Candles and votives add light to smaller spaces.


Using texture to create a Scandanavian inspired design.Mixing Textures

Natural materials such as textiles, light colored wood, and metal add warmth and interest to the Scandinavian home.

Getting the look:

Drape a wool throw over the couch. Add an area rug, brass or copper coffee table accents, faux fur pillows or a braided comforter for the bedroom. The options to add textures in your home are endless!

Reviews (1 comment)

  • Blair Smith On

    Definitely an interesting post!

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