Scandinavian-style living room: 5 design rules and 80 beautiful photo examples

We tell you how to embody the brightest features of the Scandinavian style in the interior of the living room and give step-by-step recommendations for arranging it.

In the living room, we gather with family and friends, spend leisure time, and relax after hard everyday life. This space should be comfortable and cozy, relaxing, and at the same time be ceremonial enough for home holidays and meetings with loved ones. Living room in the Scandinavian style is just that. In the article, we will tell you what rules to follow in order to design it authentically and beautifully.


Scandinavian can be safely called one of the most recognizable and long-playing destinations. It immediately evokes clear associations ( light furniture, cult models of the Swedish brand, laconic finishes) and is loved by many. Due to the similarity of climate and mentality, Nordic design quickly took root in our latitudes, and the techniques that it uses are also close to us. When decorating the interior of a living room in a Scandinavian style, as in the photo in the gallery, rely on its main principles.


Deliberate luxury is unusual for Scandinavians, wealth is not demonstrated openly but can be traced in high-quality materials, handicrafts, and piece decor. That is why the Nordic design is equally well suited for both expensive interiors and budget repairs. 

Simplicity, in this case, does not mean a boring or poor environment, but the absence of unnecessary things, flashy colors, and colorful ornaments. Finishing plays the role of background, most often the walls, floor, and ceiling are made plain. The furniture is laconic, with simple silhouettes and without an abundance of decorative elements. All this makes the space calm and versatile: if desired, you can easily change individual details, creating the right mood.


The inhabitants of the Nordic countries draw inspiration primarily from nature. The local landscape and climate also affect how the houses look inside. In Scandinavian apartments, you rarely see the tropical jungle, red-orange palette, or Mediterranean-style elements. Simple lines, discreet neutral colors, and natural decor in the form of twigs, dried flowers, wood, and stone products come to the fore. Wood in any form predominates among the materials: from solid wood to its derivatives, including cork and MDF.


This paragraph captures the essence of this approach to housing arrangements. The main criterion for choosing any materials and pieces of furniture is how durable, easy to maintain, and comfortable in everyday life. For example, if you want to decorate the front room with wallpaper, choose non-woven or vinyl wallpaper instead of thin paper and moody textiles.

Storage systems should be mostly closed, although it is not forbidden to make a couple of shelves or put an open rack – this will just become an interesting accent element and the main placement of the decor. It’s great if the furniture is multifunctional: a sofa – a folding sofa, an ottoman – with a storage compartment at the bottom, a dining table  – sliding, etc.

Environmental friendliness

Now environmental friendliness is at the forefront of modern trends, and Scandinavian is no exception. At the same time, it is not as radical as, for example, eco-style, which accepts only natural materials. Analogs can also be used, but they must be of high quality, durable, and, of course, without any substances harmful to the body in the composition.

Caring for the environment is also expressed in conscious consumption, so, firstly, it is worth choosing materials and furniture that will last a long time. And, secondly, you can turn to the secondary use of things: restore a chest of drawers inherited from your grandmother and paint it instead of buying a new one, or purchase some furniture on an ad site. Very often there are sold or even donated things in excellent condition, which do not even need to be purposefully put in order.

Abundance of light

The main problem of all northern countries is short daylight hours and lack of sun. That is why the Scandinavians pay special attention to letting as much light into the room as possible. This is helped by light textiles on the windows (and sometimes even its complete absence ), an open layout with a minimum of blind partitions, and a well-thought-out artificial lighting system. It is easiest to implement all these techniques in the living room, especially if no one is sleeping in the hall: for example, you can safely abandon thick curtains in favor of transparent tulle or arrange the maximum open space.

Scandinavian style in the interior of the living room

Consider how to decorate the interior of a living room in a Scandinavian style in an apartment or house. The rules will be the same in both cases.


The traditional Nordic palette is well known to everyone who has ever encountered this direction or just saw a photo on the Internet. 

Here are some key principles:

  • The color scheme is based on light shades. They visually increase the space (especially true if the room is small), and add more light and air.
  • At the heart of the palette is white. This is a versatile background that goes well with any other colors.
  • It is complemented by other basic shades: gray, beige, and brown. Almost always, the contrasting element is black.
  • You can use brighter colors, but locally and choose the most natural tones. Grassy or olive green, brick, mustard, deep blue, gray-blue, muted berry, or wine fits well into the Scandi palette.

When choosing colors, be inspired by local or simply northern nature. Foggy forest, mountains, cloudy sky, sandy shore – all this becomes the basis of the living room interior palette in Scandinavian homes.


Decorating a Scandinavian-style living room in a house or apartment is always a calm, discreet backdrop.

Active ornaments are practically not used, attention is focused either on furniture and decor or on natural active textures. Walls paint, plaster or paste over with plain washable wallpaper. Natural or decorative brickwork will add to the mood of the loft.

Since the living room is not a wet area, the floor can be chosen as a laminate, engineered board, or parquet. Also, quartz vinyl is often used today  – unlike tiles and porcelain stoneware, it is warmer and more pleasant to the touch, so it is suitable not only for the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom.

The ceiling is designed as concisely as possible: without multi-level and complex decor. If it is low, it can be made visually higher by painting exactly the same shade as the walls, and thus erasing the border between them. And if, on the contrary, the height allows, you can add a little stucco (for example, cornices or a socket for a chandelier) – you get an interesting combination with the classics.


Like any modern trend, Scandinavian includes elements of minimalism. 

First of all, this concerns furniture: there should not be a lot of it. The basic set for a standard living room in a Scandinavian-style apartment includes a soft group (sofa, 1-2 armchairs, coffee table), a TV area, and a storage system. Usually, this is a chest of drawers, a TV stand, and/or a couple of shelves for books, decor, and other small things. Do not forget about the principle of a practical approach: for example, the upholstery of upholstered furniture should be durable, resistant to abrasion, ideally washable, and impregnated with a dirt-repellent compound. A great option is removable covers that can be dry-cleaned, or even better, washed in a typewriter.

If you are equipping a Scandinavian-style kitchen-living room, a dining group will appear between the seating and cooking area. The table can be round, square, or rectangular – any standard shape that fits into your interior will do. By the way, vintage furniture is also well suited for Scandinavian space, if you put it in order. For example, you can put the same old table or a set of chairs in the hall. In combination with modern products, they will look organic and at the same time make the atmosphere more individual.


Decor and textiles add brightness to the space and complete the Scandinavian living room interior.


  • Any natural jewelry. It can be twigs collected in the park, dried flowers, interior bouquets, saw cuts, crystals, or stones.
  • Mirrors in simple frames or without them – also visually increase the space, and if you put them so that the window hits the reflection, then the room will have more natural light.
  • Living plants. Any will do: succulents and cacti, flowers, compact varieties on the windowsill or larger ones that can be placed next to the sofa or on a chest of drawers.
  • Decorative pillows, rugs, carpets, simple floor-length curtains, or tulle – any textile immediately makes the interior cozy. It can be brighter, playing the role of color accents and diluting a neutral, often even monochrome range, or to match the overall palette. In the second case, choose textured fabrics so that they create the necessary volume and make the space more interesting.


Natural light alone is indispensable, so it is important to consider artificial lighting in the hall.

If the room’s windows face north or are just small, use warm light bulbs to make the room feel cozier. Don’t forget about layering. In addition to the main overhead lamp, local illumination of individual zones is needed: a soft and dining group, a reading corner, if any, etc. Choose sconces and lamps of simple shapes, and avoid massive chandeliers, candelabra, and other similar paraphernalia. Volumetric lamps with fabric shades are very popular in Scandi.

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