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What is Scandinavian design?

Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and which flourished in the 1950s, in the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The style emerged in the 1950s as part of a modern movement in Nordic design (i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) that prioritized function and affordability over preciousness and luxury. Marked by pale colors, natural materials and lean, leggy furniture, the aesthetic was largely a response to the region’s short days and long winters, which called for bright, practical interiors.


  • Scandinavian design is marked by a focus on clean, simple lines, minimalism, and functionality without sacrificing beauty.
  • Scandinavian style favors bright, airy spaces. Many colors rely heavily on neutrals, most notably, bright whites with pops of black and tan.
  • When it does come to color, shades like blush and grayblue are among the most frequently used, according to Life in Norway.
  • Elegant, simple furnitures.

“The clean but warm design, which focuses on sharp contrasts, whites, naturals, and black, makes you feel happy, but not in a kitschy way,” explains designer Kerri Rosenthal.

Scandinavian Countries

Brick HouseLeth & Gori architects

Mountain Lodge / Reiulf Ramstad Architects

V Lodge / Reiulf Ramstad

AspvikSwedish architect Andreas Martin-Löf

Villa N1 / Jonas Lindvall

House for Mothers Concept/ FAF Architects

The design itself does not seem too impressive at first glance, but the small bits and details add up to a place that not only looks good and makes you feed good. The clean, uncluttered nature and brightness induce a sense of calm and coziness that is not easily found in modern societies. The Scandinavian design lies at a sweet spot where practicality meets visual aesthetic. It is no surprise that it remains trendy to this day.

Romain DUVAL