Scandinavian Design: Shades of Wind

-A Guide to Scandinavian Design Principles


The origin of Scandinavian design began in the early 20th century, the prominent design movement from the Nordic countries has influenced modern design from architecture and interior design to product design worldwide, offering a considered solution for simple lifestyle by blending minimalism and practicality equally.

During the 1950s, Scandinavian design became known around the world, which is deeply connected to some of the world’s most revered architects and designers who promoted the golden age of Nordic Design.

Today, Scandinavian design is one of the most popular movements in contemporary design. Many designs from the golden age still remain popular, and many young Scandinavian designers pay homage to the legendary pioneers of the movement while offering fresh twists on the iconic Nordic style.



The elements of Scandinavian design follow the principle of equal functionality, simplicity, and craftsmanship. Thus, natural materials are favored by Nordic style designers, especially pale woods, wool and linen textiles, leather and glass.

While some items boast traditional patterns or brighter color accents, most Scandinavian style designs have an understated, minimalist appearance.

  • Minimalist aesthetic
  • Understated design that follows function
  • Light, neutral colors
  • Muted, dark hues that remind of Nordic landscapes
  • Airy spaces filled with light
  • Wood furniture and wood accents
  • Decorative, statement pendant lights
  • Multifunctional and flexible designs
  • Plush sofas and tactile fabrics
  • Hanging plants and lush greenery
  • Natural textiles
  • Steel, brass, or copper accents
  • Artworks as focal points in a minimalist space



Color has been an important role in Scandinavian interior design since the beginning. The long and dark winter makes the lack of natural light, making use of as much natural light as possible while still maintaining the inviting and bright feel of your home in the dark outside becomes significantly important. Naturally, people tend to choose colors that reflect light or give a bright feel to a space, and these tend to be more neutral colors—white, blue, or other muted colors. As such, these became the main color options for Scandinavian interiors.


The Popularity

Unlike formalism which peruses chic and commercial value, Scandinavian design is not a kind of fashion trend, but a kind of art attitude based on a certain culture. Though it differs on countries, Scandinavian design styles have a strong commonality in general, which reflects the fusion of Scandinavian countries' diverse cultures, politics, languages, traditions, and restraint in form and decoration, respect for tradition, consistency in form and function, appreciation for natural materials, etc.

Scandinavian style is a modern style that combines modernist design ideas with traditional design culture, not only paying attention to the practical functions of products, but also emphasizing the human factors in design, avoiding too rigid and harsh geometric forms, resulting in a modern aesthetic of humanism, which gains generally welcome worldwide.