Liven Up the Minimalism: Discover How to Decorate a Scandinavian Space

By Ava Brown, July 13, 2020

We love Scandinavian interior style because of its focus on simplicity, minimalism and functionality. It allows us to do so much with our space by using less. Think rich wide hardwood floors, crispy clean walls, functional furniture with clean lines and an airy atmosphere free from clutter. By sticking to the basic rules of Scandinavian design, you can make your home a space that’s soothing and hard-working at the same time.

However, the human eye needs some variety and all that minimalism can become boring after a while. That’s why to properly execute this style in a way that will keep your interior fresh, you will also need to introduce some tasteful décor. The right mix of décor elements can help prevent the space from feeling too cold and rigid. However, you also need to be careful not to disturb the style’s clutter-free attitude. That being said, here are the best ways you can decorate a Scandi-style interior.

Use Wall Art to Liven Up the White Walls

It’s definitely true that Scandinavian calls for crisp, white walls. But that shouldn’t mean that you need to leave them bare. Unlike walls that have a bold colour or wallpaper, clean white walls are perfect for displaying some art. The white background will allow the colours of posters and paintings to stand out beautifully. And this can provide a much needed visual interest to a simplistic neutral interior.

But not all wall art will be a suitable choice. The wall art should match the rest of your Scandinavian inspired space. That being said, it’s best to use original Scandinavian poster art, photographs, paintings or typography. Scandinavian art usually depicts scenes from nature like animals, plants or landscapes which complement the use of natural materials such as wood and the overall neutral colour palette that dominates the space.

You can also find Scandinavian poster art and paintings that feature abstract shapes which is in line with the style’s love for geometric elements. Black and white is also a popular theme in Scandinavian art. Not only is black and white art minimalist, but it also has an edgy and sophisticated vibe that goes so well with Scandinavian.

When it comes to the number of wall art pieces you can use, there’s really no limit. Yes, even in a minimalist Scandinavian interior! You can use a single large art piece that will dominate the room or try a more eclectic approach and build a gallery wall out of various pieces. When building a gallery wall, remember to make sure the various pieces have at least one thing in common, whether it’s their theme, colour palette or the frame.

Bring the Outdoors in with Fresh Plants

As I’ve mentioned, Scandinavian interior design has a strong connection to nature and the outdoors as evident through Scandinavian art posters and furniture. That’s why plants make some of the best décor elements in a Scandi-style space. Decorative greenery is perfect to liven up the simplicity and add some colour without suffocating the space.

Feel free to make a statement and add a tasteful touch of drama with plants that are beautifully oversized, like for instance the rubber plant. If you want a more casual and laidback vibe, consider hanging indoor vine plants that will overflow from their pots for a beautiful romantic effect. Succulents are also a popular choice for Scandi-style interiors, and best of all, they can be super easy to take care of even if you lack a green thumb.

Capture the Hygge Spirit with Textures

If you have an Instagram or Pinterest account, you probably know all about the concept of hygge in Scandinavian living. Hygge is a Danish word that means “well-being” and which Scandinavians use to refer to the feeling of being warm and cosy and at at peace. By nurturing this hygge feeling, Scandinavians are able to cope better with the short days and extremely cold temperatures. This concept is so ingrained in Scandinavian culture, that Scandinavians even choose to decorate their homes to allow for more hygge-like moments.

In an interior, the elements that have warm textures and emit a comfy vibe are the ones usually defined as hygge. For instance, a cute and fluffy area rug to warm your bare feet while you drink hot cocoa seated on a soft, upholstered sofa. A helpful tip to make your space more hygge-like is to incorporate layers of cosy, lush fabrics. Wooden surfaces with raw textures, such as natural wooden floors and furniture made of oak, maple and walnut give off a homey vibe as well.

Make It Bright with Unique Light Fixtures

Light is very important in Scandinavian design, and this isn’t a surprise considering how the Nordic countries lack sunlight. Besides allowing natural light to flood the space by avoiding the use of hard window treatments and opting for airy curtains, or even better, leaving the windows bare, you also need to make good use of artificial lighting.

A lighting scheme that provides balanced illumination throughout the entire space enhances the clean and fresh feeling Scandinavian spaces give off. Try to use a variety of lighting sources, such as wall sconces, pendant lamps with metallic finishes. Lighting fixtures with mid-century features or industrial vibes are especially popular in Scandi interiors. In addition, in line with the hygge feeling, you can also add candlelight or candelabras for an extra dose of romance and warmth.