The Scandinavian Style Interior


Hi guys! As you know I spent four days last week in Scandinavia styling interiors for Jansje Klazinga to photograph for magazines. Day one kicked off with a visit to Tina in her beautiful neighbourhood of Osterbro in Copenhagen, and day two and three were spent in Malmo, Sweden, photographing the homes of Peggy and Niki before we set off back to Amsterdam on Friday evening. It was bliss. I had died and gone straight to heaven, and I cannot wait to share the results with you here soon. Jansje is the most talented interiors photographer, who regularly shoots cover stories for some of the biggest titles in the industry {such as this one which I styled that graced the March cover of vtwonen magazine}. She is a quiet achiever, calmly and efficiently snapping spaces to perfection, and I am so grateful to have crossed paths and to be working together.

Returning home, I am more inspired than ever by the kind of interior to be found in the north. I draw a lot of inspiration from Scandinavian interiors, as do the majority of the home owners I style and photograph for. In fact, if I don’t hear the word ‘Scandinavian‘ in any one of the interviews I have conducted with home owners over the past months for my Decor8 column, I’d be genuinely surprised. So what is it about nordic inspired interiors that has everyone in a tail spin? Today I want to share with you a few nordic inspired interiors {plucked from my Pinterest boards} and dig deeper into the style to find out!

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Photography by Felix Forest and styling by Dina Broadhurst


Scandinavian homes, like a great many built before the second world war in Europe, ooze charm and character. Large windows, historical details such as beautiful woodwork, old fireplaces, exposed wooden beams, ceiling decoration and quirky tiling are quite commonly found inside a Nordic home. The Scandinavians really know how to make these lovely features stand out by decorating on the minimum and using subtle colour palettes, built upon a white base.

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Design and styling by Hecker Guthrie and Photography by Derek Swalwell


If anyone can take a long, white, narrow hallway look appealing, it’s a Scandinavian. They just seem to know how to edit their homes to a fine art by reducing clutter and keeping their spaces clean and bright. One key piece of furniture is that starting point, followed by a few well selected accessories, and finishing up with a hint of green. I think there’s a lot to be said about exercising restraint in the home and while it’s easier said than done, it sure would feel great to walk in the door to this simple but beautiful display!

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Photography by Tigs Macallan


One of my favourite aspects of Scandinavian decorating is that eclectic array of old, cherished items mixed in with new, sometimes design pieces that we so often see. The look is almost always seamless and is always inspirational because combining different design styles from varying time periods is not as easy as it looks. Keeping an underlying colour palette {whether you’re going all neutral or would like to throw in a few bright pops of your favourite hue} helps to bind the look together.

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Photography by Bruce Buck for the New York Times


Needless to say, when you live in a country that has freezing temperatures a generous portion of the year, you’ll want to have some cozy textures dotted around the house. I often see a sheep pelt draped across a dining chair, or perched on the floor in front of a reading chair to warm the toes. Whether it’s throw blankets of all weaves tossed on the sofa and beds, or rugs of the thick, fluffy and woolen type adorning the (often white painted wooden) floors, you can bet that the Scandinavians won’t be chilly in their pretty homes when the temperatures drop.

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Muuto Stacked Shelf


Ikea wouldn’t be the giant that it is if it didn’t offer well thought out, simple storage solutions for all types and styles that can be easily put together. But no matter the budget, Nordic homes often have storage solutions that are as pretty as they are practical. This open stacked shelving system by Muuto is a wonderful piece in which to store books and treasures, but editing is key. Stacking books and magazines every which way and adding accessories to the shelves is all well and good, but editing items away so as not to overfill the boxes is somewhat of a fine art!

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Photography by Karen Dinesen for Femina


Colour is always an area that interests me because I use it sparingly at home. Not because I don’t like colour, but because I never feel as if I have struck quite the right balance of it around my home {I suppose we’re all most critical of our own homes}.  But Scandinavians sure know how to work a colour palette. Just one or two key pieces in a surprising hue is enough to turn a neutral based room into a cheerful and uplifting space.

The Scandinavian Style Interior by Avenue Lifestyle; Photography by Therese Winberg and styling by Anna Malmgren for Plaza Interiör


Saving the best for last here, because light is perhaps the key ingredient to Nordic decorating. When the temps drop and days turn dark just past midday, it’s crucial that homes offer enough natural light that it’s owner doesn’t end up in an institution. Having spent 7 years in Europe, I understand this now more than ever. It makes a huge difference to your wellbeing whether or not you get enough natural light, so keeping walls white really helps, particularly in work spaces because the brain just doesn’t function like it should in darkness, and small spaces. Working all the white in with warm wood tones, as well as bringing some greenery indoors and weaving in a few of your favourite hues, keeps the space from looking stark.

Do you like the Scandinavian  style of decorating? Would you get tired of all that white? What are some of your favourite Scandinavian brands? I’d love to read your thoughts.

What I personally love about the Scandinavian interior is its ability to appear casual, yet elegant, refined yet inviting, and it never takes itself too seriously. And from someone who doesn’t commit to even the loveliest colour for more than five minutes, I particularly love the white base for it’s versatility.

Well, that’s it for me folks! Hope you’re feeling inspired by this post and have come away with a few ideas.

See you again soon,

Holly x

Image credits: 1. Photography by Felix Forest / styling by Dina Broadhurst; 2. Design and styling by Hecker Guthrie / Photography by Derek Swalwell; 3. Photography by Tigs Macallan; 4. Photography by Bruce Buck for the New York Times; 5. Muuto; 6. Photography by Karen Dinesen for Femina; 7. Photography by Therese Winberg / styling by Anna Malmgren for Plaza Interiör

7 Responses to “The Scandinavian Style Interior”

  1. […] Amate lo stile scandinavo? Allora troverete molto interessante questo articolo su Avenue Lifestyle. […]

  2. […] Amate lo stile scandinavo? Allora troverete molto interessante questo articolo su Avenue Lifestyle. […]

  3. That apartment looks amazing! Well, Scandinavian interiors usually look amazing to me! 🙂
    I love this style! You did a very good job on photographing this space!

  4. Doris says:

    Holly, this is such an insightful and inspiring post. I learnt so much about the fundamentals of scandinavian style and I really appreciate the effort you went to to explain each element. Thank You. xD

    • Holly says:

      Hi Doris! Thank you. I am pleased you came away with something useful and inspiring. Hope you are well, Holly x

  5. Great article with useful information. I love it! Thanks!

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