When you think of Scandinavian bedroom ideas, what visuals usually come to mind? You're probably picturing a sink-in bed, white linen, flowing sheer curtains, wooden interiors, and lots and lots of natural light. Simple, beautiful, and timeless. That, is quite simply, a Scandinavian style. You'll be surprised how familiar you already are with it because it's one of the most popular and loved styles of design. Most hotels and homestays prefer decorating in the Scandi style; social media, design blogs, and magazines promote this theme as well.
Scandi decor originated from the Nordic regions of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. This style focuses on clutter-free, organic spaces that focus on functionality and the simplicity of life. If you're an avid design lover, you'll recognize some of the more famous Nordic designers such as Hans Wegner, Eero Aarnio, Arne Jacobsen, and Ingvar Kamprad. Their furniture is clean, sleek with an everyday look to them, made with simple materials – yet so elegant and inspiring.
Not to be confused with a minimalist style, Scandinavian bedroom design is not rid of elements and materials but has a larger focus on warmer tones, handmade textiles with little or no need for 'decorative' items. Think sheepskin, wool, and mohair – these fit right into the Scandi theme. Of course, this style hinges on practicality more than anything and encourages the use of materials, textiles, and colors that are ideal for the local climate of the region.
1. What is a Scandi style bedroom?
It's a space that relaxes your mind, body, and soul – a Scandinavian bedroom is all that and more. White walls, sleek, compact furniture, wooden flooring, and a restrained palette are all hallmarks of Scandinavian bedroom decor. Sculptural, organic shapes help adds drama to a room.
This Nordic style of design anchors on finding the right balance, which means not too little, not too much. 'A Scandi or minimalist bedroom should essentially have five elements – a muted color palette, minimalist furniture, natural textures, a 'less is more' approach and a sprinkling of greens,' avers Ravi Vazirani, founder, Ravi Vazirani Design Studio (opens in new tab).
2. Ensure a clutter-free space
For Scandi decor to truly shine, your need to ensure the bedroom is clutter and junk-free. This doesn't mean you need to pare down and remove everything. Just make sure that every item has a designated place, and post-use, they go back to where they belong.
Elements that are in the spotlight, say a Nordic chair or a wood-paneled wall need to have a decluttered radius so their beauty can be easily appreciated. A big mantra in Scandi designs is that every piece should have a purpose. If you have things lying around that haven't been used in a long while, they serve no need. Donate them or trash them.
Also, for hidden bedroom storage ideas, consider box beds, folding desks, and stools with a cavity inside that can be beautiful containers for miscellaneous things. If you're planning on bringing in a large cabinet for storage....perhaps don't?
3. Drench the room in neutrals
The Scandi interior design is easy to live with, especially because of how pleasing it looks at all times. A minimalist color palette, natural materials, and simple shapes are evergreens. Typically bedrooms in this style have muted tones, punctuated with green, grey, or black accents. With a peppering of rustic elements and plants, you can have yourself a classic Danish design. 'Scandinavian design hinges on a color palette off whites, beiges, and greys,' offers Seema Puri, principal architect, SEZA Architects (opens in new tab).
Also, black and white patterns are frequent fliers in this style and can be incorporated in several ways – as graphic prints on throws, artworks, or pillows. Vertical b&w stripes on curtains to look fabulous and give the room a touch of eclectic.
If bright white is not your style, then you could add a soft bedroom color – peach, pink, and lavender – quite the favorite among interior designers.
4. Layer with nature-inspired prints and motifs
'Scandinavian interiors celebrate texture, the outdoors, and craft. It has a softer look. Include elements of nature into your room for a wonderfully restful and relaxed look. After all, bedrooms are a place of calm and quiet.' says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) International Brand Ambassador.
'Think oversized floral motifs that feel thoroughly modern with a fluid line drawing of flowers such as the Helleborus. Choose the ‘oh so now’ palette of earthy neutrals that will bring balance to a space and be a wonderful backdrop to other natural elements in your room.'
If you're planning on zoning a room with wallpaper, the wood-effect ones can go a long way in creating that natural feel indoors without looking too OTT. Remember to keep your windows open, with tied-up curtains to allow constant light and ventilation.
'An affordable, and easy way to incorporate this trend is by using bedroom wallpapers – you could choose our faux wood-paneled wallpaper. Available in real wood shades and neutral palettes these wallpapers lend themselves well to creating a Scandi inspired décor. If Swedish cottage vibes are more your style, look for delicate wallpapers in restful shades of blue and green like I Love Wallpaper’s Trailing Eucalyptus,' Chelsea Clark, Head of Brand at I Love Wallpaper (opens in new tab) says.
5. Embrace natural materials and textures
Be it a restrained, traditional, or a modern bedroom design, remember to give a lot of love to the look and feel of your bed. Layer up bedding with textured throws and pillows to give your bed that lovely lived-in feel.
For bedroom carpet ideas, choose ones that are soft underfoot so the moment you enter the room, a feeling of calm and warmth takes over. Think of level loop pile carpets that have a consistent, uncut loop texture, which creates a smooth pattern all over. Or, a frieze carpet made of higher-end material with soft, dense tufts that are super smooth to walk on.
In terms of accessories, choose wood, stone, bamboo, or jute. These add to the sustainable appeal that Scandi bedrooms have. 'Calming pared back and neutral patterns with natural or geometric patterns such as ‘Lauderdale' in stone are the perfect backdrop to a Scandi inspired bedroom. Style with pale wood, rattan, plenty of soft white linen, sleek future with a mid-century twist, and monochrome lighting and accessories to complete the look,' says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director, Little Greene (opens in new tab).
6. Choose a Nordic classic
Nothing says Scandi better than a sleek, Mid-century Modern furniture piece. Scandinavia is known for producing some of the most influential and popular furniture designers. Take for instance the design classic Wishbone chair by Hans J. Wegner which became an instant hit when it was launched and is relevant even today. As photographed above, you'll notice how it features beautiful clean lines and a slim frame – this chair has won over many hearts.
If you pick wisely, even a single sleek piece of furniture can establish a strong Scandi statement. 'The furniture in Scandi bedrooms is always about comfort. The piece should have crisp, sleek lines, and make the room look larger and more spacious,' avers Seema.
7. Make room for simple artworks
Before you go all out in picking art, remember, the vibe of a Scandi bedroom is simple, basic, no-nonsense. Stick to no more than two or three pieces of artwork for a clean aesthetic.
Miniatures work best. You could choose to have a common color theme for all so the room has a unified look. As for a gallery wall, ideally interspersing them around the bedroom would be effective in reducing visual clutter. If you group all of them, you could make a section in the room seem too 'heavy'.
8. Bring in wall paneling
Wall paneling is a Scandi bedroom mainstay – nothing is complete without wood. Use simple MDF panels on the wall behind the bed for a slightly rustic bedroom. If the wooden tone seems too heavy, go the DIY way and paint it another color of your choice, though ideally choose a softer tone.
'Layer nature-filled patterns or organic and natural textures with wood finishes and simple textiles to create a calming, considered interior that maximizes both space and light,’ says Philippe Desart, Managing Director, Arte (opens in new tab).
9. Choose sleek bedroom lighting
Bedroom lighting is key to a Scandi design. That's because most Nordic countries do not get a lot of sunlight through the day and so their spaces are designed or skewed in such a manner that they can maximize on as much light as possible – be it natural or artificial.
With lighter tones, you can increase the brightness of the interior. And as you may have already gathered, Scandi designs call for sleek fixtures. Consider long, hanging globe pendants or thin-armed chandeliers for this space.
10. Pick a pale floor
With neutral tones surrounding your room, you may be tempted to have darker flooring. But remember, Scandi designs usually dictate softer colors. Look for light oak flooring, cork flooring or ones with a bleached effect.
If you already have dark flooring, try painting the floorboards white. Trust us – white flooring not only gives a wonderfully refreshing touch to the interior, but it also creates a great canvas for you to add more layers, colors, and textures to the room. Plus, it will boost light levels in the space.
How can I make my room more Scandinavian?
By paring it down, and choosing a neutral palette. Scandi style is all about simple accents, wooden elements, plants, and natural lighting with little or no window treatments. In a Scandi bedroom, functionality is foremost and an overly decorated look is a no-no.
Clean lines and sleek furniture pieces fit right into this style. Having a clutter-free bedroom helps enhance this look, and developing love affair with natural materials helps.
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.