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What is Scandinavian & Nordic Design and How Do I Replicate It?

If you love Mid-Century Modern, the Scandinavian modernist movement will tickle you, too. Also referred to as Soft Modernism, Scandinavian design incorporates the same clean functionality of Mid-Century Modern, with on emphasis on light and lines.


Scandinavian Modernism is said to have influenced the Mid-Century Modern movement, and its voice is still prevalent to day on the mass market. Just think about Ikea.

A white modular chair sits on wooden legs against a white wall. Sunlight coming from the right casts a shadow. Next to the chair is a simple night stand, white with a gold round top. Atop it are a plain white mug on the right, and a succulent in a white pot elevated by a pewter pedestal.
Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

What classifies as Scandinavian design?

Some notable characteristics of this style include:

  1. Light and airy. Lots of "bright whites."

  2. Emphasis on clean lines.

  3. Neutrals with soft pops of color.

  4. Warm wood and natural materials

  5. Simple silhouettes.

How can I achieve Scandinavian design in my home?

Keep things neutral and natural. Wood is an influential component, whether it be in the flooring or furniture. Colors should be muted, sticking to lighter grey and plenty of white. One of the goals of Scandinavian design is to lighten the space, so rich colors, patterns, and designs wouldn't do well here.


Uncomplicated silhouettes will shine, especially by choosing what many call "leggy" furniture. Tapered, slim, and graceful, these pieces of furniture let light circulate, instead of appearing to sit heavily in your room.

Left: Two plump pillows, one white linen, the other rusty orange, sit on a round wooden stool next to a bookshelf. The bookshelf holds assorted candles and books. Right: We face a French door with one panel opening onto the patio. The room is a cheerful butter yellow. A beige couch sits against the right wall, opposite a flat-screen TV on the left. A simple, round, wooden coffee table sits in the middle of the room. A leafy green plant is in the left corner by the TV.
Left: Photo by Veronika Jorjobert on Unsplash Right: Photo by Erika Osberg on Unsplash

What types of window treatments attain the Scandinavian aesthetic?

Similar to Mid-Century Modern, roller shades and Roman shades will help you obtain the clean lines and functional forms with minimal clutter. However, you could also go with drapery. For the Scandinavian aesthetic, you want as much light to pass through has possible, without compromising privacy.


Just make sure that whatever you choose, the colors are either neutrals or soft pops. And, if you can make it sheer, that's even better for light maximization. Greys, blues, blush pinks...the aesthetic is all about creating a relaxing, cozy, peaceful environment that is a respite from the mess.


Window-ology is a local, Diamond Certified business in downtown Pleasanton, CA. We specialize in custom blinds, shades, shutters, drapery, and motorized, retractable awnings. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.


We are the exclusive Northern California dealer for SunSetter Awnings, the number one manufacturer in the United States. We are an authorized dealer for Hunter Douglas, Norman Window Fashions, KE, and others.

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