The allure of Scandinavian interior design

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The Scandinavian style is much sought after due to its simplistic nature. (Rawpixel pic)

Scandinavian interior design emphasises spaciousness; wooden elements blending effortlessly with nature; and sunlight bouncing off light-coloured walls and floors, creating a bright and airy freshness that induces calm and relaxation.

The Scandinavian style is much sought after due to its simplistic nature.

By keeping most things minimal, it reflects the modernist ideology of form following function, and offers lots of practicality with elegant pieces of statement furniture.

House in Rawang. Project by The Design Studio.

Characteristics of Scandinavian interior design

1. Minimalistic clean lines

As the style places emphasis on function, designs are kept to its core minimal forms, with a preference for simple, solid pieces of furniture to avoid unnecessary chaos.

All pieces are kept simple and compact, so they take up very little space.

This is a stool designed by Nordic designer Alvar Aalto in the 1930s. The bent L-legs allow for easy stacking.

2. Simple, muted colours

Start with a cool white, beige or grey base for your walls and ceiling as it opens up the space, bouncing off light in the process to keep the space bright and well-lit, exuding an airy vibe throughout.

You can even redo your flooring with light wood.

Layer the space with touches of cool, muted neutral shades, ranging from light to dark tones to create depth, preventing the interior from looking dull and bland.

Then, fill in the details with splashes of colour – a yellow couch or blue cabinet. You could even throw in red if you’re feeling bold.

Colour pieces add personality and put focus on key elements. One tip: keep colours in blocks to avoid muddling the interior.

Scandinavian design for a study in La Costa Condominium, Bandar Sunway by Pocket Square.

3. Natural elements brought indoors

Wood is one of the most widely used natural elements as it brings in a warm hue into the otherwise cool toned space.

The rustic wood and textured grains bring a raw, natural appearance, effortlessly turning the interior into a cosy living space.

Choose light-coloured wood with cool undertones such as ash or pine to keep in line with the overall cool vibe, throwing in some plants
to enhance “nature” elements and bring life in your home.

4. Light, lots of it

Most Scandinavian interiors typically sport large windows to maximise the light radiating through their homes, achieving a bright
and welcoming space.

Malaysian properties are doing the same. Most new high-rise developments include huge bay windows that extend from floor to

These can be found in master bedrooms and living rooms regardless of whether they are directly facing the afternoon sun or not.

If your home includes these large windows, add curtains or blinds to shield from the glare. Alternatively, invest in insulated glass panels with UV protection to block out the heat.

Scandinavian kitchen design in superlink terrace house in Glenmarie by Meridian Inspiration.

5. Textures

As colours in Scandinavian room designs are usually light, neutral and muted, textures are a great subtle way to bring life to a
space without turning it into a mess.

Natural textures, wall claddings, painted brick walls, and textiles are all great ways to decorate a space.

And while you would never find wall-to-wall carpeting in Scandinavian designs, a well-placed rug or floor mat can help soften the interior.

Scandinavian-inspired design for a living room in Casa Tropicana by Pocket Square.

6. Accessories

While bare walls are often seen as ideal, it does not mean that you have to ward off all decorations. A certain amount of clutter is, after all, what brings a home alive.

Scandinavian furniture is often designed as art itself, making them practical yet beautiful statement pieces, while simple accent walls or décor pieces are great to bring a ‘lived in’ appeal to a space.

If you prefer to keep things minimal, make use of functional items such as books, wicker baskets or blankets that could serve as
both a useful item and a decorative element.

To give your living room or bedroom a “Nordic winter” feel, add scented candles to simulate a fireplace, whilst filling your space with delectable scents.

Scandinavian living room design in Puchong by Double Art Design Studio

How an interior designer can help achieve the Scandinavian look

An interior designer or renovation firm that specialises in Scandinavian style can look at the bigger picture, and make the space work for your family.

Expand the kitchen

If you love to cook or entertain, add a kitchen island or hack down a wall to join the dining room and the kitchen.

But, if you only use the kitchen minimally, you can repurpose some of that space with built-in cabinets to store all your belongings from the rest of the house.

Change the flooring

One of the key design elements of a Scandinavian home is a light or muted base. Changing the flooring to a white or pine colour is a great way to achieve this.

If you don’t want to break up your existing flooring, you can lay the new flooring on top.

Plan your space

Will the space need to accommodate kids soon? Or, do you plan to move into a new place and rent this out later on?

Even though the Scandinavian style is clean and compact, you may need lots of storage such as custom-built cabinets and wardrobes to hide the clutter to achieve a clean minimalist look.

A well-designed space can also improve your home’s resale value.

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