Bring the Scandinavian Design Ethos to Your Home with These 4 Techniques

The Scandinavians are now as well-known for their design style as the Italians are for their pasta and the British for their humor. Why, you ask? Because they have mastered the ever-elusive art of striking the perfect balance between functionality and beauty. The Scandinavian design ethos is, in part, a result of their way of life, which revolves around the philosophies of ‘lagom’ (everything in moderation) and ‘hygge’ (coziness and comfortability). As expressed by the Scandinavian Standard, “a guiding principle of Scandinavian design is to establish harmony with one’s environment and to create things made to last. It seeks to compliment the art of living well by promoting a simple home environment that is filled with quality items and enhances an unencumbered lifestyle devoid of excess consumerism.”

As we head into the chilly months and seek to make our home environments all the more cozy and comforting for the winter season, we’re looking to Scandinavian designers and design trends for guidance on how to incorporate art that promotes health and wellbeing. Read on for our key findings on how to bring the Scandinavian design ethos to your home.

1. Find the joy in the little things.

Perhaps the most defining ideology of Scandinavian design, finding the joy in little things is as much about which artworks you include in your interior design as it is about how you view these artworks. What brings you joy? The delicate softness of a feather, the simple beauty of a kitchen vignette, the artistry of a single brushstroke. There is so much joy to be found in the smallest of quirks, if only you take the time to appreciate them. 

Visionboard, clockwise from top right: Audobon by Kelly Ording; Linge Grès by Thierry Genay; Interior design by Stadshem; Chapter by Kiki Slaughter; Plain Weave by Ruth Laskey.

2. Less is more.

The Scandinavians are known for their minimalist and simple approach to both their design style and their lifestyle. The Scandinavian philosophy of ‘lagom’ – balance, not too much or too little – influences how they approach interior design. Think monotone and analogous color schemes, one statement artwork instead of a panoply of wall hangings, simple lines and shapes versus complex or overlapping patterns.

Visionboard, clockwise from top right: Carpenter’s Wheel by Lena Wolff; Method by Matthew Langley; Interior design by Erik Lefvander.

3. decorate with neutral colors.

Neutral colors are proven to have a calming effect on the body and mind. This doesn’t mean everything has to be cream, beige, and gray, but think about sticking with hues that are quiet and easy – dark brown, rose, and ivory have a calming effect as well. 

Visionboard, clockwise from top right: New York Times, It's Not Just a Chemical Imbalance by Leigh Wells; Interior design by Ingela Berg; Light Matters 10 by Tycjan Knut; First Among Equals by Donald Baechler.

4. get inspired by nature.

Scandinavia is home to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, so it’s no wonder a core element of the Scandinavian design ethos involves paying tribute to nature. Think about incorporating artwork that includes nature or pieces that are made with natural materials.

Visionboard, clockwise from top right: Fly #1 by Elina Brotherus; Magic Eye by Liz Robb; Untitled by Lauri Hopkins; Section 2 by Sam Lock.

Scandinavian interior designer Edie Van Breems of Eilish Van Breems summarizes the Scandinavian art and interior design ethos best: “Our homes are places you go to spend time with your people and do everything. They need to be places that you want to share with others and do life there. It’s about being cozy, yes, but it’s more than that. Scandinavian design offers a sense of things that make you feel good and surround yourself with them.” 

If you’re looking to surround yourself with things that make you feel cozy and warm and don’t know where to start, contact us at for personalized assistance incorporating feel-good art into your home.

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