Scandinavian Summer: Elevate Your Home With Nordic-inspired Decor

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by SampleBoard

Oftentimes, when one thinks of Scandinavian design one pictures modern, minimalist spaces with a few straight lines and flat white surfaces, cold environments that might look nice in magazines but aren’t exactly conducive to summer living.

In truth, Nordic design is all about incorporating natural elements within the home to create a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.

Nordic homes are designed to blend interior spaces with their natural surroundings, encouraging organic light sources and muted color schemes that work perfectly to set a restful, carefree summer mood.

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What is the difference between Scandinavian and Nordic design?

Scandinavian design refers specifically to design from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, while Nordic design encompasses design from these countries as well as other territories grouped under the Nordic label.

In terms of style, Scandinavian design is often characterized as minimalist with a focus on functionality. It embraces clean lines, simplicity, and the use of natural materials, resulting in spaces that feel sleek and modern.

On the other hand, Nordic design is described as more homely and influenced by traditional workmanship and crafts.

It places a strong emphasis on skilled craftsmanship and draws inspiration from nature and the rugged landscapes of the Nordic region.

While there may be overlap in some elements, the key distinction lies in the geographical scope of each term.

Scandinavian design specifically refers to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, whereas Nordic design encompasses the design from these countries as well as other territories grouped under the Nordic label.

The most important element in Scandinavian home design is light.

Sunlight can be a rare commodity during the winter in some of the northernmost Nordic towns, so a home that maximizes light exposure is highly valued.

This translates into open floor plans and multiple light sources, plenty of windows to flood the space with light, and fewer walls to block it out.

The need for more light also explains why white is such a prevalent color in Nordic homes, where dark surfaces absorb those treasured rays rather than reflect them.

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Nordic Summer House Inspiration Sampleboard Blog
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What are Scandinavian colors?

In the mesmerizing world of Scandinavian design, colors play a crucial role in shaping spaces that exude a sense of tranquility, harmony, and elegance.

The color palette of Scandinavian design is inspired by the breathtaking landscapes and serene environments of the Nordic region.

At its core, Scandinavian design embraces a refined and minimalist approach, relying on a subdued and natural color scheme.

Soft, muted hues that evoke serenity and simplicity reign supreme in this design aesthetic. Think of gentle whites, shades of gray, and natural earth tones like warm beige and sandy browns.

These colors create a serene foundation, allowing the design elements and textures to take center stage.

But do not be mistaken. Scandinavian design is not a monotonous monotone. It welcomes subtle pops of color that add vibrancy and depth to the serene backdrop.

Delicate pastel tones such as subtle blues, blush pinks, and pale greens effortlessly weave themselves into the design narrative, evoking a sense of freshness and calmness.

Another aspect of Scandinavian design that sets it apart is its embrace of nature. The color palette often draws inspiration from the natural world.

Rich greens reminiscent of lush forests, deep blues mirroring the vastness of Nordic waters, and warm, golden yellows that mimic the soft glow of sunlight streaming through tall pines - all these hues harmoniously blend with the neutral tones, infusing spaces with a touch of organic beauty.

Ultimately, the Scandinavian color palette is a testament to the immense power of simplicity and understated elegance.

It paints a canvas where calmness, connection to nature, and a celebration of light create spaces that inspire and uplift.

Image credit: Pinterest
Image credit: Pinterest

5 Tips on How to Create a Nordic-inspired Summer Home

As summer approaches, it's the perfect time to embrace the beauty of Nordic design and incorporate it into your home.

With its understated elegance, minimalistic approach, and emphasis on natural elements, Nordic design provides a refreshing escape from the heat and a serene haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.

To help you create your own Nordic-inspired summer home, we've put together some tips that are sure to inspire and empower.

1. Embrace a Neutral Palette:

Nordic design is renowned for its muted color palette, which is inspired by the Nordic landscape. Opt for soft whites, shades of gray, and pastel colors to create a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

You can also add pops of colors with accessories like cushions or rugs, but keep it subtle and understated.

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2. Incorporate Natural Elements:

Bring the outdoors in by incorporating natural elements into your home. Wood, stone, and earthy textures all create a sense of warmth and coziness.

Timber flooring or wooden furniture can add character to your home while potted plants or vases filled with fresh blooms can breathe life into the space.

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3. Focus on Lighting:

Lighting is a crucial element in Nordic design. Maximizing natural light by leaving windows uncovered or investing in sheer curtains can create an airy and refreshing ambiance.

You can also incorporate pendant lights or table lamps with warm-toned bulbs to create a relaxing atmosphere in the evenings.

4. Choose Minimalist Decor:

The beauty of Nordic design lies in its simplicity. Opt for minimalist decor that serves a purpose and avoid cluttering the space with unnecessary items.

Keep it functional yet stylish while maintaining a sense of balance.

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5. Add Textures and Patterns:

While Nordic design is generally minimalistic, it's essential to add layers and depth to your home decor. Incorporate textures through rugs, throws, or cushions, and add patterns through artwork or textiles like curtains or bedding.

Embracing the Nordic aesthetic in your summer home allows you to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

With these tips, you can transform your home into a serene and sophisticated Nordic-inspired retreat.

Remember, every element in your home should serve a purpose, whether it's to enhance the ambiance, functionality, or aesthetic appeal.

Nordic design is about finding the perfect balance between simplicity, functionality, and beauty, so start creating your summer sanctuary today.

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Nordic and Scandinavian Design and the Environment

Scandinavians have always had a strong connection with their natural environment, and they reflect this in their home design.

Houses are often constructed in minimally invasive ways, meaning that they try to leave their natural surroundings as intact as possible.

The same large banks of windows and open floor plans that encourage sunlight also work to bring the outside in, and Scandinavian designers incorporate elements that mimic exterior home features, like lofts and barn doors, to further blend the spaces.

Interior gardens, succulents, and other house plants help to further the feeling of merging environments, and Nordic homes often integrate plants into their overall design schemes.

Along with using organic light and environmentally-inspired design, Nordic homes also tend to use a muted, natural palette that emphasizes their unprocessed building materials and color schemes.

Light woods are often used throughout the home and in furnishing, and upholstered material is generally lighter, raw fabric.

Paint colors are lighter as well to encourage bright interiors and, if not white, usually in understated earth tones, like sage green, grey, or beige.

Artwork and other small features can add a necessary burst of color in these otherwise subdued color schemes, and add a point of interest to an otherwise monochromatic setting.

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Minimal Clutter

Scandinavian design is probably best known for its efficient use of space. Plenty of storage, minimal clutter, and simple design translate into a clean-looking interior, and that makes smaller rooms look even larger.

This is particularly important when considering summer home design when the square footage is probably at a minimum and too much clutter can seriously impede on relaxation.

Nordic homes use built-in shelving, cupboards, and storage units to make sure everything has its proper place, is out of sight, and neatly contained.

Uncluttered surfaces then become the perfect venue for displaying a select few summertime finds, and Nordic summer homes often showcase natural found objects like shells or stones.

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That characteristic “Scandinavian look” results from all of these elements combined, but also from something slightly more subtle.

Nordic homes are cohesive, meaning that their design is in agreement throughout all the living spaces within the home.

This harmony is accentuated by the open floor plan, which offers an obstructed view of the entire floor as well as glimpses of the natural exterior.

The same building materials and color palettes, used throughout the house, further highlight this unified design.

Nordic homes incorporate open, light-filled rooms into a clean and harmonious living environment that is designed to blend smoothly into its natural surroundings.

Every element in a Nordic home is meant to feel inherently easy and organic, from the natural fiber rugs to the integrated kitchen storage.

This ease and effortless comfort, coupled with the alfresco atmosphere these open homes encourage, make Nordic design features perfect for summer homes all over the world.

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Five Nordic Summer Getaways to Fuel Your Creativity

Immerse yourself in the captivating allure of the Nordic summer as we unveil five remarkable getaways that are sure to ignite your adventurous spirit and embrace your love for design.

From breathtaking landscapes to thriving cultural scenes, these enchanting destinations offer an irresistible blend of natural beauty and awe-inspiring design opportunities.

Allow these suggestions to guide you as you create unforgettable experiences in the pristine Nordic regions:

Reykjavik, Iceland:

Prepare to be dazzled by the dramatic landscapes of Iceland's buzzing capital city. From its volcanic terrain to the mesmerizing Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik seamlessly weaves a tapestry of rugged beauty and modernity.

Dive deep into Icelandic design, where minimalist aesthetics harmonize with the raw, untamed environment, resulting in spaces that effortlessly blend tranquility with a sense of adventure.

Image credit: Boutique Homes

Stockholm, Sweden:

Explore one of the crown jewels of Scandinavian design - the vibrant and cultural city of Stockholm. Immerse yourself in its architectural marvels, from the historic Gamla Stan to the innovative Stockholm Waterfront.

Discover design studios, galleries, and boutiques that showcase the epitome of cutting-edge Scandinavian design. Let the sleek elegance of Swedish interiors inspire your own creative endeavors.

Image credit: ArchDaily

Oslo, Norway:

Journey to the dynamic city of Oslo, where nature and urban living intertwine in perfect harmony. Revel in the beauty of the Oslofjord, surrounded by lush greenery and majestic mountains.

Amidst this stunning backdrop, Oslo's design scene flourishes, boasting an array of contemporary Scandinavian furniture showrooms, art galleries, and trendy design districts.

Let the city's creative energy invigorate your senses and ignite your design vision.

Image credit: The New York Times

Copenhagen, Denmark:

Indulge in the world-renowned design capital of Copenhagen, where modern design is woven into the very fabric of everyday life.

Marvel at the iconic architecture of Nyhavn, stroll along the bustling Strøget, and explore the innovative design institutions that call this city home.

Immerse yourself in Danish craftsmanship and take inspiration from the hygge-infused interiors that exude warmth, simplicity, and a seamless blend of form and function.

Image credit: The Spaces

Lapland, Finland:

Venture to the enchanting winter wonderland of Lapland, where summer turns the landscape into a picturesque paradise.

As the land of the midnight sun, Lapland offers an extraordinary experience of round-the-clock daylight amidst pristine forests, crystal-clear lakes, and charming log cabins.

Embrace the rich Sami heritage and discover the region's unique approach to design, which celebrates nature's splendor and the art of indigenous craftsmanship.

Image credit: Featuring Finland


From the awe-inspiring landscapes of Iceland to the urban oases of Copenhagen, these Nordic summer getaways promise to inspire your design sensibilities and ignite your passion for exploration.

So pack your creativity, embark on an unforgettable journey, and let the transformative power of these remarkable destinations fuel your next design masterpiece.

Safe travels, and may your discoveries in the Nordic realms leave an indelible mark on your creative journey.

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