Think ‘Scandi interiors’ and pale wood, clean lines, tons of white and modern designer pieces probably come to mind. However, a softer twist on this look is fast gaining popularity – one that’s subtly prettier and less minimal, often featuring a generous dose of blue or pink pastels. The result is still classic Scandi, but with the warmth and colour boosted for an uplifting everyday look. Here’s how to do it.
Pale is good... Powdery pinks are currently popping up everywhere in the fashion world, but this shade also works brilliantly in Scandi interiors and looks surprisingly modern and chic.
Mix it with natural or bleached-out woods, soft blues, greys and pure whites for the perfect ice cream palette. And keep it simple: the clean lines of this sofa counter any sugariness.
…especially on wooden chairs
A pastel pink-painted wooden dining chair is perhaps the simplest route to the pretty Scandi look. It adds sweetness and charm in an all-white room like this one, and looks good matched with burnished copper and tan leather.
Choose a matte, chalky finish for a soft, modern effect. It’s also a great way to upcycle unloved old pine chairs.
2. Play with blue
••On your walls...•• Blue shades can work beautifully in a Scandi scheme, and they don’t have to look cold. These walls are the colour of watery spring skies, and add airy light and serene calmness to this dining area. They also contrasts beautifully with the warm parquet floor. It’s proof that white paintwork isn’t the only option for Scandinavian chic.
…or in a kitchen If you want the pastel look in your kitchen, consider swapping wood or white cabinets for blue ones.
In this open-plan space, plenty of white and acres of natural wood – especially those classic Danish Wishbone dining chairs – create a Scandi mood, but painting those clean-lined cabinets a pastel blue adds a warmer, more cottagey feel. Mixing darker base units with ultra-pale wall units keeps the look airy.
Other subtle touches pretty things up: a colourful cushion, an open dish rack for plates, and taupe wall panelling.
3. Use multiple artworks
Create a patchwork gallery… A wall of bright, quirky artworks is an easy win in an all-white space – they add personality and colour without crowding or cluttering. Keep frame edges unaligned for a relaxed, bohemian look.
Add in classic pieces of furniture, such as an Eames rocker, like the one you can just see on the right, or a low Saarinen coffee table for true designer Scandi style.
…or follow a theme A wall of nature-inspired artworks – butterflies, fish, birds – softens this dining area, along with the pink rug, fabric bench cushion and low pendants. Note also how using black accents, such as the chairs, grounds rather than darkens the space, helping it to seem cosier and warmer, ready for some winter hygge.
4. Rock a rug
Choose a graphic design… A bold, geometric rug is a modern Scandi staple that adds a lived-in warmth to white rooms. They don’t have to be expensive; there are lots of affordable variations available if you hunt around. Place under a table and chairs to help define a dining area in an open-plan space.
…or go for a multi-coloured rag rug You probably had one of these when you were a student and then forgot about it, but humble rag rugs are having something of a renaissance in Scandi interiors. They’re colourful, practical and cheap as chips – ideal for cheering up virtually any space. They’re also ecofriendly, as they’re made from recycled fabric scraps.
5. Be clever with tiles
••Add folk charm in a kitchen…•• Scandinavian kitchens often feature square tiles, rather than popular brick-shaped ones. The pattern on these ceramic numbers has a traditional, folksy feel that stops the kitchen seeming too soulless or modern.
…or pattern in a study An intricate tiled floor pretties up a plain scheme in a jiffy, but in a clean-lined, easy-care way. It means you can keep the rest of your room pared back without it looking boring, austere or unfinished.
Choose a geometric pattern in neutral grey, black and white for a fresh, modern effect that goes with everything and channels that core Scandi style love: monochrome.
6. Throw in some foliage
Pick up some potted plants… No longer just for 1970s throwbacks, houseplants are back in fashion big time. They bring rooms to life and add vibrant, life-affirming green (as well as extra oxygen).
Choose an indoor palm for an exotic feel; classic yukkas, spider plants or cacti are good, too. Slip the plant pots into rattan holders to ramp up the laid-back, natural factor – here mirrored in the woven circular rugs and cool hanging chair.
…and don’t forget a great stand Run out of surfaces for your succulents? There’s a new wave of cool, compact Scandi plant stands on the market and they’re a simple way to change the look and feel of a room.
Track down powder-coated wiry metal stands, or choose an old-school macramé hanging basket for a full-on retro vibe.