How to give your Living Room a Scandi Makeover

by | Nov 19, 2018

How to Give Your Living Room a Scandi Makeover shows how to turn a home from grey and dull naffness into a Nordic oasis of light and color.

The colour scheme is easy: mainly white. The curtains are white, the furniture is most likely going to be white also or off white, cream, beige, or a pale shade of other natural colours.

Accessories and decor are kept to a bare minimum – the Scandis prefer beautiful AND functional ornaments. Even the individual accessories are in themselves unfussy.

Scandi Makeover – Start stripping away

One of our projects involved turning a dull open plan kitchen and living room into a bright, modern living space for young professional first time buyers or renters.

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 (picures below).

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, and we speak as Scandinavians, the minimalist look can be intimidating. What if you drop a cup of coffee on all the white, you may think. Indeed.

Here we show you how to create a real, Scandi living room/diner which is both stylish and homely. If you spill your coffee on the table or floor, no problem – and a bit of marker pen on a wall isn’t going to stand out like a sore thumb.

Key Details you will almost always have to change when giving your Living Room a Scandi Makeover

  • 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

The carpet is the first to go. Although in this instance it is an acceptable grey colour, it is too dark. A carpet is neither the trend nor practical or hygienic in an open plan diner / sitting room.

Unusual Features and the Scandi Makeover

The kitchen units are pulled 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) that isn’t quite wood nor tile but looks similar, is bendy and waterproof.

Making the decision which colour to chose can be a difficult one – this is the Royal White Oak – and this is where the Scandi influence comes into effect.

Most people might opt for a more 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 (if you’re a Scandi).

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 found success with the ones pictured below at Laura Ashley – but we’ve just 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 the people in the room.

That doesn’t mean the interiors – the expensive floor and kitchen units and custom made curtains (or bought cleverly on a budget) – are wasted. It means the interior design is doing its job by cutting out the noise and focusing on the more human experiences than mere objects.

Maybe herein lies part of the answer to the question: what is the Danish ‘hygge’ all about. It’s about creating a comfortable space for living in the moment and 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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