Scandinavian interior design is not just a style, but also a way of life, characterised by functionality, cleanliness, naturalness and minimalism. Originating in the Nordic countries of Europe, this design style has spread rapidly around the world thanks to its versatility and aesthetic.

The Scandinavian style of interior design is associated with the design traditions of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The origins of this style date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and its development was influenced by social, economic and political circumstances. The initial elements of Scandinavian design emerged at the end of the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution. The Nordic countries implemented mass production, with the first mass production companies, including furniture.

The early 20th century saw the emergence of functionalism, a movement that emphasises functionality, simplicity and user-friendliness. It was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the desire to create comfortable, functional interior spaces.

In the interwar years, Scandinavian design was firmly part of the modernist movement. Designers such as Alvar Aalto (Finland) became important representatives of this movement, combining natural forms with innovative principles. Modernism also encouraged working with new combinations of materials and experimenting with form.

After World War II, Scandinavian interior design gained international recognition. Designers from the Nordic countries have gained great popularity beyond their borders. Names such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Verner Panton became iconic figures in this design style.

Scandinavian interior design has remained true to minimalism and simplicity to this day. Neutral colours, functional furniture and natural combinations of materials remain the main characteristics of this style. The designers continue the tradition of the style, enriching it with new trends such as ecology, sustainability and innovation.

The history of Scandinavian interior design shows its slow but steady evolution, keeping the original concept of functionality and aesthetics. The style has not only produced many iconic pieces of design, but also remains vibrant and influential around the world as its principles have adapted to changing times and needs.

Scandinavian-style spaces are usually decorated in light and neutral colours. White, grey, yellowish shades and natural materials are popular, which encourage light diffusion and give a cosy feeling.

Wood is an important element of Scandinavian style. Natural materials are used for furniture and flooring, provide warmth and contribute to the integration of natural elements.

Minimalism is one of the key features of Scandinavian style. The design is simple, functional and free of superfluous details. Minimalist furniture and accessories help to create a neat and balanced space.

Scandinavian design strives not only for aesthetic beauty but also for practicality. Furniture often has clear functions and is designed with the user in mind. Such functionality is essential in the design of living spaces in this style. The specificity of decorating small spaces has led to the multifunctionality of Scandinavian-style spaces. Tables, chairs or cupboards can easily be rearranged and used for other purposes.

Scandinavian design emphasises the connection with nature. The environment can be decorated with plants, natural textiles and other integrations of natural elements. The fireplace is often one of the highlights in Scandinavian interiors. It not only adds warmth but also visual aesthetics. The light from lamps or large windows in the room is also important.

Scandinavian interior design not only reflects Nordic aesthetics, but is also a popular choice because of its versatile qualities. Functionality, cleanliness and naturalness are the principles that make this style appealing to both northern Europeans and those who are looking to create a cosy, contemporary and modern living space.

Article and photos by interior designer Dovilė Švilpienė