Swedish Home Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
6 minute read

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Diving Into The Popular Passion For Scandinavian Decorating

It's a  way of living that deeply respects nature. This is just one of the main reasons Swedish home decor remains a timeless classic but has also gained in favor over recent years as the population was first required to spend more time at home and is now choosing to continue a more home-centered combination of work/home life. The other reasons for the love of Swedish home decor include:

  • Simple, functional, and clean-lined design.
  • Reverence for high-quality natural materials.
  • The enduring appeal and merge of indoor/outdoor living.
  • Light, balance, and color are expressed in exquisite harmony.

All these elements waltz together to form a calming atmosphere of self-care and deep relaxation. In the nurturing vibe of a Swedish-designed home, one can understand how the hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh” or “hue-gah”) term comes to life. Related to the English word hug, hygge is about cozy, comforting warmth, that creates a calming and soothing home life. Looking at the history, principles, and components that make up a Swedish home style guide will demonstrate just how simple it is to create your own Scandinavian retreat.

SwedishDecor Themes That Work With Swedish Style

In context to home design discussions, Scandinavia encompasses a northern geographical region of European countries that include Denmark, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and in most contexts now, Finland and Iceland as well. There are of course differences between these nations, but when referring to Swedish or Scandinavian home decor they have respectfully been merged together. Swedish home decor is able to work seamlessly with these other home design themes as well:

History & Background of Swedish Home Decor Style

Location, location, location! The difference in mother nature from north to south in Sweden covers the range of climates. From the small groups of islands, channels, and beautiful coastlines that include rich and fertile lands in the south, to icy mountain ranges, lush pine forests, and long cold winters in the north. Like most cultures, Swedes took advantage of nature’s bounty and used the materials at hand to prevail and thrive in these climates. This in turn created a deeply respectful bond with nature that flowed into all aspects of Swedish life, including home furnishings, decorating, and creativity.


Because of Sweden’s physical isolation from other parts of Europe, there was not much inclusion of imported materials into their home design process. Exotic woods, metals, and stones such as marble were only available to the top echelon of the population. This forced-independence turned Swedish craftsmen into resourceful creators, learning how to use native materials as well as upcycle or repurpose as much as possible.

At the same time, homes were small and space was limited so furniture adapted to become multipurpose and pared down to extreme efficiency and function. For example, convertible benches to beds. 18th and 19th-century furniture had no room for ornate details or extravagance of size. These principles turned out forms with simple lines, elegance, and precisely placed hand carved details. The purity and practicality of this facet of Swedish design are what has endured through the ages and continue to merge beautifully with modern design.

Scandinavian Design Guiding Principles

The essence of Swedish home decor is a connection to the environment and building high-quality pieces that will endure through time.

  • It’s the craft of living life well.
  • Simple but high-quality.
  • Minimalism in action, deed, and home design.
  • The ideal combination of function and beauty.
  • A sophisticated use of negative space.

Key Features Of Swedish Design

  • Less is more mentality.
  • Modern Swedish decor merges that foundation with both antique and contemporary elements.
  • Layering different generational pieces create that certain gracious mix of essential elements, with symmetry, and use of light that is fundamentally Swedish.
  • Think management of empty and negative spaces. With proper balance, a room feels congruous and calm.


A monochromatic color palette is the most common choice in Swedish decor. This allows the abundance of natural light to shine front and center.

  • Black accents as contrasting pops of color.
  • Greys, and greyish shades of blue.
  • Layered shades of white are the number one choice. This can include the other preferred colors mixed in as well like soft natural wood and grey shades.
  • Neutrals in warm tan and natural wood tones.
  • Sage green.
  • Soft pinks.


Swedish furnishings and accessories are elegant pieces in their own right. Swedish furniture style would be called modern, minimalist, and practical.

  • Light shades of wood that work with a neutral color palette.
  • Solid wood chairs and tables.
  • Natural materials like leather, linen, and textiles complement wood surfaces.
  • Function is just as important as form, taking into account economy of space thus producing efficient multi-use pieces; hidden storage and flexible designs are common.


  • Mirrors- part of bringing more light into the home.
  • Vintage accents
  • Minimalist decor.
  • No clutter.
  • Clean and simple lines; this extends to lighting, ceramics, and textiles.
  • Wool, cotton, and other warm textiles are the soft and cozy Swedish accents.
  • Additional fun and joyful textile designs add cheer and color to homes that have to whetherlong cold winters.
  • The love of nature is brought into the home with an abundance of house plants and fresh flowers.
  • Window shades are almost non-existent. Plain linen curtains would be the first choice if drapery is wanted.
  • Crystal chandeliers are a traditional Swedish lighting accent.


The Swedish and Scandinavian home style aesthetic is basically one of organic and natural materials that come from the Nordic country's connection to nature. The calming nature that clean, light-filled spaces sans clutter provide is one of the main reasons Swedish design is so popular. It’s the perfect minimalist style that still provides an atmosphere of warmth and peace. A home that is full of a vital life lived well while embracing the hygge mindset. Follow the Swedish Home Style Guide to create a deeply relaxing, practical, and functional home.



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