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Cozy Winter Décor from Scandinavia

Updated on August 25, 2016
Ilonagarden profile image

I like to delve into the history, costuming, foods, and customs of places and holidays. World cultures and traditions are fascinating.

The Land Of The North Brings Cozy Warmth To Winter

Nowhere else will it seem that the winters cold, long, dark season inspires such beautiful interior design as in the far north countries of Scandinavia. The lines are clean and crisp, the colors light, yet full of bright accent, and the textures are cozy and warm. Overall, it is just the note one wants to strike during the winter season in any temperate country.

Maybe that is part of the reason Scandinavian design is so popular. Or maybe it is simply the craftsman's care and the clean smooth lines inspired by fiords and forest? There are many décor tricks to learn from Scandinavian style that can be borrowed even if not incorporating the entire design style for one's own home.

Scandinavian Design

"The bright, light-filled rooms are such a perfect antidote to the dark, cold, short days."

Winter Decor Details

Whether you choose the sleek look and utilitarian purposes of dinnerware, glassware, or gadgets, or you choose a complete home décor outfitted with only items in this style, the elegance is undeniable.

Where Brights Can Shine, Neutrals Can Glow

While a modern or minimal look is the best partner for most of the goods presented by homegoods designed by Swedish, Danish, and Finnish companies, don't overlook some of the traditional elements for a homey "Lodge" look.

These are versatile and can even be incorporated into American West decor.

Natural Textiles And Textures

Scandinavian interiors combine art and nature into comfortable rooms. Surprising additions of manmade materials and contrasting textures create excitement.
Scandinavian interiors combine art and nature into comfortable rooms. Surprising additions of manmade materials and contrasting textures create excitement.

Borrow Some Scandinavian Ideas

One of the most important features is perhaps borrowed from the surrounding frozen regions, and that is the uncluttered and spare look to the inner landscape of the room. Color is kept to a minimum and in large blocks, as though a red barn stood out in a snow covered landscape.

To keep the riffraff of living spaces out of sight, there are ingenious organizing solutions. This is also a fact of life for Scandinavians who make much better use of smaller living spaces. If having no other motivation for taking a look at Scandinavian designs, give their organization ideas a chance in your room spaces. It really improves the comfort of your home.

Style Characteristics

Comfort, Efficiency, Elegance

Elements To Warm Your Winter Interiors

by rogue-designs
by rogue-designs | Source


This style may be clean-lined and minimal, but comfort always seems to reign. Ergonomically designed furniture is one feature to look for, as well as ease of use. The plushy furs or down-filled pillows, the smoothness of finely sanded wood, all sorts of considerations are included in creating the cozy and comfortable environment of a Scandinavian styled room.

Organized belongings

A big part of the comfort relies on the logical way things are organized and everything is given a well thought out place. No junk drawers- at least, I don't think so.

Consider the narrow shelves just for shoe drawers, the cubbyhole baskets that hold outdoor gear, the many kitchen shelves, hanging rods, drawer organizers. This is a strong feature of this winter décor for your home.

An Organized And Tidy Space

When spending long hours indoors while the weather outside is frightful, it helps to have clutter kept to a minimum, and no one does that better than the ingenious Scandinavian designers.

They are known for the space saving, clutter-hiding compartments that are built into many of their furnishings.

Note the cubby hole organizing in many Scandinavian pieces. This is so easy to adopt to almost any style or room since those bookcase boxes are available almost anywhere. they come in natural wood and white, as well as many colors, depending on where you are shopping.

The cube spaces can be filled with basket to hold almost anything that would clutter the house. It is this type of simple idea that takes cubby hole bookcases out of the child's bedroom into the living rooms... or any space where you want inexpensive, good looking, and functional organization solutions. I think Pottery Barn borrowed many of their ideas from Scandinavian decor!

Takes Cues From Nature

Natural, Colorful, Textured

Make Life Easier And More Pleasant

Light colors increase a spacious feeling, but might feel cold. How do the Scandinavian designers solve that? They love the idea of "coziness" in a home and create that effect with textures of nubby wool and other textiles, shaggy rugs and throws. Bursts of color, especially red and other warm colors, the sheen of burnished wood, and candle light glow make a pleasant living space.

Scandinavian designers, especially the contemporary ones of today keep the hues light and bright. The design colors seem to sparkle against the simple lines and natural wood surfaces. The whole interior is kept open and bright in feeling.

The photo is of a Scandinavian Crewel Embroidery Swatch.
The photo is of a Scandinavian Crewel Embroidery Swatch.

Discover Swedish Design Secrets

Pattern and Texture

Even cool colors are given an invitingly cozy aspect when they are woven into the rugs, pillows and bed coverings. Black and white which usually looks so stark is made approachable through fun pattern designs.

Streamlined Clean Lines

The lines give an uncluttered look, but it is the wood and textiles that keep it from looking cold. That is important in a winter look- no one wants to have a house full of cold unwelcome surfaces during the chill, blustery months of outdoor arctic blasts. Wood floors are a warmer surface underneath, especially when scattered rugs center the seating areas.

Never Enough

White, Light, And Candles

Winter White Lumimarja Wallpaper

Marimekko Lumimarja Wallpaper
Marimekko Lumimarja Wallpaper

White Is A Color

Yes, there is lots of white used throughout these interiors, but using a similar balance that creates the look can be translated into other colors, although with a light palette. Because light and bright is so important to the look, deep colors are best for spare accents.

The use of all that monochrome background and detail tends to blend together the space into a serene backdrop. It is what gives this style its calm while retaining warmth through the use of the natural materials. It also chases away depressing feelings of clutter or dark interiors, which is important in a cold climate where people spend a lot of time indoors.

Candles Are Quite Important In This Look

Design House Stockholm Nordic Light 7 Arm Candelabra White
Design House Stockholm Nordic Light 7 Arm Candelabra White

Candles are not just accessories, they are necessary for the homey feeling that candlelight brings to the room.

A beautiful way to showcase candles is with one of the stylish candle holders that Nordic designers offer- there is one for every taste- from many different types of materials. This one is made of wood and is highly customizable.


Forest Influences

Wood, Birds, Space

Simple Wood Floors

Sleek expanse of wood and stylish furnishing bring warmth to the far north.
Sleek expanse of wood and stylish furnishing bring warmth to the far north.

Natural Wood Plus Color Accents

Wood floors are a décor asset in all seasons, winter or summer. Easy to clean, comfortable underfoot, and with a great natural look.

It is the perfect foil to the bright color accents and open, often white painted rooms shat showcase the famed furniture designs.

Sleek Danish Modern

Fine woods, fabulous design, classic contemporary
Fine woods, fabulous design, classic contemporary

Nordic Design Is Clean and Pure

Take care of your fine woods. Here are some of the commonly used woods in Scandinavian wood furniture, each has its beauty, color, and grain.

Fine grained woods in light, natural colors are highly regarded, and help give the light, bright look that creates the look.

It brightens up winter interiors in a warm, uncluttered way.

Norwegian Wood - Swedish And Danish, Too

All That Wood

  1. Danish Beech

    Hardwood that glues well, and takes an edge. Dense wood that is similar to white maple. Consistent color.

  2. Pine from Sweden and Norway

    Slow grown Nordic pine is usually of the Pinus sylvestris species. A softwood with limited knots.

  3. Teak is a favored wood choice.

    Durable, dependable teak was used for some of the finest furniture made by Danish craftsmen. Has a bold look and is resistant to wood problems.

  4. Finnish Birch

    Baltic birch has a natural resonance which makes it desirable for music applications, but it is also a light colored, beautifully grained wood. Flexible, yet hard and durable wood.

  5. Rosewood

    Beautiful dark wood, which takes stain well and polishes to a beautiful sheen, it is increasingly rare - with the best types only available as antique furniture.

  6. Danish Walnut

    Dark, dense hardwood, Danish woodworkers use both the natural and stained look. Found more often in vintage furniture.

  7. Cherry

    Very popular red toned wood with a beautiful grain. Hardwood.

From small accessories to the large design items,all are given careful design attention
From small accessories to the large design items,all are given careful design attention | Source

Wooden accessories are usually light toned woods such as birch, but many stains are utilized in Scandinavian furniture and wooden accessories. The birds (a favorite motif) are from Danish design.

A Little Humor And Fun - Scandinavian Style

These little sculptures are from Iittala. They insert some Nordic sense of fun and humor into a room designed in winter décor.

"The Iittala Group is a leading company in modern Scandinavian design. The Group has a strong position on its home markets in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark with its brands Arabia, Hackman, Iittala, Fiskars, BodaNova, Hoganas Keramik, Rorstrand, Raadvad and Hoyang-Polaris."

Humorous, Artful, Fun Accessories

Iittala Birds of Toikka Mouthblown Glass Bird, Owlet
Iittala Birds of Toikka Mouthblown Glass Bird, Owlet

Don't overlook the Scandinavian penchant for fun and humor. It is tucked in the most unexpected these little glass sculptures. From the Finns.


Color And Pattern

Simple, Bold, Striking

Strong Bold Pattern

The Art Of Marimekko - Modern and Eye Catching

Comfort, a bright splash of color, are both welcome during wintry weather days, and the long nights. Marimekko is a Finnish textile design company that has its own brand of whimsy and color brights. While Swedish patterns tend to be more reserved in contrast, Finnish Marimekko makes statements with oversized flowers in tropical color, but with its own tempered design sense that keeps it winter season appropriate.

The story behind the designs:

"Marimekko was founded in 1951 by Finnish couple, Armi and Viljo Ratia. Marimekko, translated literally means "Mary-dress." - History of Finnish Design

Decorate with Flair



Marimekko is one of the most famous of Scandinavian design names in fabrics. They were extremely popular in the sixties an seventies and their designs have not just contemporary,modern appeal, but a retro appeal as well. The big splashy designs are as at home in a living room as in a child's room. Marimekko brings a touch of fun into the interior environment.

Use Strong Color Statements

Use color in unusual ways to brighten and warm up the indoors. Large blocks of favorite colors make a room feel inviting.

Fatboy Marimekko Unikko Original, Red
Fatboy Marimekko Unikko Original, Red

Stylish and comfy at the same time- combining the two qualities that make Scandinavian products so cozy!


Striking Design, Vibrant Color

Fibers And Fabrics

Their products are usually made of natural fibers and materials, but faux is also incorporated into the look. Try a faux fur throw, for great texture, and easier care than the natural furs would require.


Traditional fabrics such as wools for winter, but also linen, as well as furs adorn Nordic interiors and add real warmth as well as visual warmth to chill winter months. Nowhere is comfy warmth more appreciated than underfoot as one steps out of bed! A wooly sheepskin is just the right touch.

Educate your eye to appreciate the simple, yet profoundly artistic, Scandinavian style.

Rya Rug Craft

Scandinavian Home Arts

A rya is a traditional wool rug with a long pile of about 1 to 3 inches.

A substitute for this kind of rug is the Greek Flokati, which has shaggy pile.

Can't afford one? Make your own or get a facsimile.

Compact Spaces

Heating a home requires energy conscious design that often reduces the amount of space to heat, but that doesn't mean the areas must feel cramped. With good design and judicious choices, even small spaces function well.

Ultimate Comfort - Inimitable Design

Fjords Trandal Large Leather Recliner C Frame Norwegian Ergonomic Scandinavian Lounge Reclining Chair Furniture Soft Line Genuine Stark White Cherry Wood
Fjords Trandal Large Leather Recliner C Frame Norwegian Ergonomic Scandinavian Lounge Reclining Chair Furniture Soft Line Genuine Stark White Cherry Wood

The best materials, intelligent design, and aesthetic appeal sets Scandinavian design apart and makes modern comfortable to live with everyday without sacrificing style.


This is one decorating choice that my kids and I share (they think I am hopelessly old fashioned otherwise). We love IKEA goods and furniture. There are so many wonderful organizational solutions at reasonable cost, and the design is always pleasing. I also found that there are great ideas posted online (check Pinterest) for hacking IKEA furniture pieces and creating even better functional individualized items. Before you give up on a hard to fit decorating space, consider these solutions.

Favorite Winter Spaces

Kitchen, Bedroom, Couch


The Heart Of A Home Is The Kitchen-Dining Space

Scandinavian design brings a warm homey aspect to the kitchen and dining area without sacrificing organized and efficient work space. No clutter, but lots of eye-catching design elements.

Note, in the above room, how the delicate Dill flower design on the far wall and the green cabinets create a friendly impartation of color to the room.

Homey Winter Interiors

Rooms that are full of light, making the most of short winter days, yet neat and tidy with pared down elements keep the warm feeling without getting cluttered up. That is the genius of the far northern design sense.


Makeover Inspiration

The Swedish Feeling - Traditional Scandinavian Expressions

Bringing It Home: Sweden: The Ultimate Guide to Creating the Feeling of Sweden in Your Home
Bringing It Home: Sweden: The Ultimate Guide to Creating the Feeling of Sweden in Your Home

Sleek modern is not the only Swedish style, there is a heritage of warm country style that has its own comfort and aplomb. These elements of coziness, light interiors, and signature colors have been inside Swedish homes for generations.


Warmed Up To These Ideas?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the simple almost Zen style designs. Great job on this interesting lens.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      7 years ago

      I always loved the beautiful wood and clean lines of Scandinavian décor. Enjoyed seeing the photos here.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Decor choices do matter and affect the world we want to be in. Just love the ones you have included here.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Decor choices do matter and affect the world we want to be in. Just love the ones you have included here.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The wood and fur look really Scandinavian. I wouldn't mind the white sofas for winter décor.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      7 years ago

      What a beautiful lens! I just love that kitchen!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      7 years ago

      The Scandinavian winter décor designs are comforting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this style! Maybe because I'm Scandinavian?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Pretty stuff. I really like the tables that look like tree stumps.

    • CCTVwebmaster profile image


      7 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE your lens, I'm Swedish and adore the Scandinavian design. Your lens is beautiful and I enjoyed it enormously. Tack tack tack! (thank you, thank you, thank you!)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I also love Scandinavian design, though in my home it's limited to IKEA. A very enjoyable and informative lens!

    • wheresthekarma profile image


      7 years ago

      Love all the photos. Love this look!! The white room was awesome.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      7 years ago

      Enjoyed learning more about the Scandinavian style. Especially liked the photo of the kitchen & dining area.

    • Ilonagarden profile imageAUTHOR

      Ilona E 

      7 years ago from Ohio

      @lbrummer: Tak! As the Danish would say- thank you. I just love Scandinavian style, glad you appreciated it too.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 

      7 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      I love all your photos---very nice decorating style. Great work!


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