How to give your Living Room a Scandi Makeover

Livingroom turned from grey or unruly to Scandi style peace and light

How to Give Your home a Scandi livingroom makeover – here we show how to turn a home from grey and dull into a Nordic oasis of light and color. The colour scheme is easy: it’s mainly white. The curtains are white, the furniture is most likely going to be white or off white, cream or beige. Accessories and decor are kept to a bare minimum – the Scandis prefer beautiful AND functional ornaments. Even the individual accessories are in themselves unfussy.

In one of our projects we turned a dull open plan kitchen and living room into a bright, modern living space for young professionals. Property developers had given the room a quick lick of paint (white) and a new carpet (grey) so it was half way there, ready to be put on the market for sale (pictures below).

Scandi Living Room makeover – Start stripping away

But getting a beautiful and authentic Scandi styled apartment, which is also comfortable to live in, is not just about piling white on white. The trend for Scandi minimalism has grown over the last ten years. But the minimalist look can be intimidating or high maintenance. What if you drop a cup of coffee on all the white?

Here we show you how to create a real, Scandi living room/diner which is both stylish and homely. If you spill coffee on the table or floor, no problem.

Key Details you will almost always have to change

  • Carpet – Danes are world experts in flooring
  • Curtains & Rails – rarely the right colour and shape/length
  • Walls – the British are fond of magnolia and faded yellow colours
  • Kitchen Units – the trend has moved towards minimalism, but there are still many apartments and houses which feature dark, chunky doors on kitchen units
  • Fire Place – if it’s an old gas heater built into a refurbished chimney, it has to go. A beautiful open fireplace (even if it’s blocked and for decorative purposes only) can stay
  • Fixtures and Fittings – ceiling lamps, door knobs/handles

Unusual Features and the Scandi Makeover

The carpet is the first item to go. This carpet is too dark. A carpet is neither the trend nor practical or hygienic in an open plan diner / sitting room. 

The kitchen units are pulled away to make space for the new flooring. While the floor dries, a new kitchen work top is cut to size. We chose a white top to replace the existing black top to open up the room, make it lighter and to divert attention from the kitchen units.

As floorboards we chose a super durable LVT (luxury vinyl tile). It isn’t quite wood nor is it tile. But it looks almost indistinguishable from a wooden floor. The boards are bendy and waterproof. Making the decision as to which colour to chose can be difficult – this is the Royal White Oak – and this is where the Scandi influence comes into effect.

scandi livingroom makeover

Most people might opt for a woody shade, but for a truly Nordic look, you would go for white or grey/black. Once the floor is fixed, the rest falls into place naturally.

Near Completion – Scandi Makeover and the Living Room

The curtains, the rail, the tie backs and the hold backs are all different shades of white – not ice white, but warm white. We spent days online trying to find suitable holdbacks – eventually had success with the ones pictured below at Laura Ashley. But we’ve since discovered these on Amazon – CLICK HERE for more info and prices.

This allows for attention to turn to the things that really matter: the food on the table, the books on the shelves, the framed pictures and paintings, and on family and friends visiting.

Herein lies also part of the answer to the question: what is the Danish ‘hygge’ all about. It’s about creating a comfortable space for a Scandi living room makeover and on focusing on human interaction.

Top Tips for when the Builders get to work on your Living Room
  • Never be embarrassed to ask questions about their progress
  • Don’t assume they see something as being a problem just because you do – they may not
  • If you are wondering about a specific issue, feel free to ask how they intend to deal with it, in detail
  • Have all the items needed ready, ie worktop, curtain rails and floor boards ect. Don’t wait to buy when the builders arrive (even with next or same day delivery). If something goes wrong, and it often does, it’s expensive to call the builders back for an extra day’s work
  • Unless you’re in one of the Nordic countries, builders will most likely be puzzled if you ask them to give your living room a Scandi makeover. That means a little more attention to detail or nerdiness. Disguising faults or poor standards can be harder when working with a white palette.

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