Scandinavian Design in Your Home

We have collected the five main principles of Scandinavian design that inspired the Minut design team - and can be easily implemented in any home.
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May 7, 2020
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Scandinavian Design in Your Home

The phrase “Scandinavian home” instantly conjures up a familiar image: white walls, high ceilings, clean lines, light-colored wood, and, above all, an abundance of natural light. There’s a sense of serenity to this visual; you’re transported to a place that’s spacious and calm, yet intrinsically warm - its minimalism undercut with pastel rugs and vibrant greenery, strategically sprinkled throughout.

Scandinavian interiors have been emulated the world over for good reason. With its roots in the modernist movements of the early 20th century, Scandinavian design married the emerging mechanical means of production with natural materials that introduced timeless elegance and high quality to mass-produced goods. Later popularized by the rise of Scandinavian homeware brands such as Ikea, it soon became synonymous with warm simplicity and accessibility, taking over homes situated far beyond the three countries of its origin (Sweden, Denmark and Norway).

To this day, Scandinavian goods, from furniture staples to cutting-edge tech, are known for their superior design and quality - and Nordic-inspired interiors continue to gain new adopters amongst those who realize that where we live has a crucial impact on how we live. Below, we have collected the main principles of Scandinavian design that served as an inspiration for the Minut design team - and that can also be easily introduced in any home to improve your (or your guests’) quality of life.

bedroom interior

Timeless Elegance

The main reason for the clean, bright whites and muted warm-toned palettes of Nordic homes may be the desire to take advantage of natural light, but it is also precisely this element that makes the interiors so aesthetically pleasing. The calming, polished effect created by this color scheme is often strengthened by the clean lines of the layout, as well as the simple, high-quality furnishings found in many Scandinavian homes.

It can however be implemented in almost all settings - making smaller rooms appear more spacious, and bigger venues more refined. If you’re worried about your home looking too clinical, try adding a pastel (or two) - baby pink, sage green and light gray tend to harmonize well with warm Earth tones without taking away from the timeless elegance that the palette brings.

desk and an illustration in a frame


Long before the idea of decluttering was popularized worldwide by Marie Kondo, the concept of Swedish death cleaning has been making waves amongst enthusiasts of minimalist living. As described in Döstädning: The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson, it is a popular Scandinavian practice of getting rid of superfluous belongings based on the legacy you want to leave behind for your relatives.

This disciplined attitude towards the objects that surround us translates to Scandinavian homes, where lack of extraneous clutter contributes to their aura of serenity; and it is a simple, easy to implement (but often overlooked) trick that can make any space instantly more welcoming.

dining room in warm tones

Warmth and moderation

While minimalist design can often read as spartan, industrial, or cold, the Scandinavian approach actually errs more toward moderation, with a ‘just-enough’ mindset applied to decoration and furnishing. The resulting rooms feel personal and comfortable while maintaining their inviting air of spaciousness.

This uniquely Scandinavian approach to design is mirrored in the Swedish principle of Lagom, meaning ‘just the right amount’. Moderation in this case means not deprivation but rather a focus on filling your life with only the things you need, and dispensing with the peripheral clutter of those you don’t.

In addition to that, there’s also Danish "hygge," or a sense of warmth, well-being and enjoying the little things in life, as described by Signe Johansen in How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living. While the term encapsulates an entire philosophy of happy living, it also applies to interiors, where cozy elements, such as candles, greenery, and plush rugs enliven the simple beauty of Scandivian homes. In fact, adding a comfy throw, or a few potted plants, can immediately make the space look more homely, whether it’s an apartment you just moved into or a rental property.

Vase with flowers on a desk

Synergy with the environment

Scandinavian design cultivates a unique relationship with its environment, attempting to make best use of its surroundings. This attitude manifests itself in vast, open spaces, creating an intrinsic flow between different areas of the home, and large windows connecting the inside to the outside and supplying vital natural light.

These elements act as a facilitator for a tranquil and less-hectic approach to life, and an invitation to a more sustainable way of living that is in harmony with nature. The use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, not only connects the dwellers with the environment, but also creates interiors with a timeless elegance that will not become obsolete when the next trend comes around. That’s why opting for local, high-quality organic materials and a simple, classically beautiful design makes such a difference in the long run.

dining room

Functionality and accessibility

Scandinavian style is characterised by three key components: functionality, simplicity, and beauty. Simple in design, clean lines are often incorporated with understated elegance and warm functionality, which creates a very homely feel.
- Craig Ritchie, Ikea Interior Design Director

Any discussion of Scandinavian design and home furnishings would be remiss without a nod to the beloved furniture store of the people, the almighty Ikea. Ikea as a brand embodies the spirit of Scandinavian design with its commitment to function, style, and accessibility. Their guiding principle of warm functionality translates into home spaces that are visually beautiful, but also have an air of being lived in and enjoyed.

Ikea was one of the first brands to pair quality with true affordability, making good design more accessible than ever. In fact, the strive to create living spaces that are easy to enjoy permeates the Scandivian design philosophy as a whole; minimizing the everyday maintenance which leaves the occupants with plenty of time to actually take pleasure in their homes. That is definitely something all of us - from apartment renters to multi-property managers - could benefit from.

This philosophy is also one that resonates strongly with our vision for Minut. The same principles of function, style, and accessibility are at the heart of what we do, and, like so many other Scandivian pioneers, we seek to challenge the notion that quality, function, and good design are a luxury reserved only for the few. By providing an affordable home sensor, we hope to grant everyone access to the feeling of warmth and easy comfort that only a well-designed home can bring.