How to Get the Scandi coastal Look at Home

seaside scandi nautical decor

Like Scandi Boho is a combination of two completely different styles – minimal and maxi – Scandi Seaside is the leisure version of the famously severe, clean and curated Nordic look. Much of our childhood and youth is spent on the beach and so it is perfectly normal for Nordics to create the Scandi coastal look in our winter homes, even.

Our summers are brief, stretching from early May to end August. But we make the most of it while it lasts. And Scandi Seaside decor can help make it last a bit longer…all year in the home.

Lucky to have thousands of miles of coastline and islands, the Scandis are never far from the seaside. If you would like to know how to get the nautical look in your home, just ask a Scandinavian: it’s in our blood. As a great sailing nation (Vikings), fishing, sunbathing, picnics and barbecuing all runs in our blood. It’s our lifestyle – and inspires our interior design, too.

Scandi Seaside is about blue cushions, shells on the bathroom shelf and rope for handles on the bedroom drawer. Scandi Seaside is so nautical you not only see the style, but smell and feel it too. It’s a celebration of a lifestyle truly immersed in nature and the sea. 

The Ship Clock was a super trend in the 1970s. Every Scandi sitting room wall had one – and it’s back. So is the colour of the ocean and the sky… Blue never goes out of fashion. Designers are always working on their cruise collections.

Scandi coastal look: Bright and distressed white

White and distressed white are very much the Scandi palette. White linen curtains filter the light and act as the backdrop for a busier decor.


Wooden floors are as nautical as it comes. They are a reminder of the deck on a boat and also the look of boat clubs across Europe. But white floorboards are not the exclusive reserve of the seaside theme – they are a mainstay of Scandinavian decor. They give almost total freedom of play with different colours and patterns. Natural wood harks back to a more traditional sailing tradition with older boats, before artificial materials were produced in ship design.


Wood as in the pier and the old fishing boats and the forest reaching almost to the water’s edge. Wooden stumps as in plant stands, coffee tables and the old kitchen bench. Wood is the stuff of childhood memories of playing on the beach and a big feature in the Scandi Seaside decor inside and terrace outside.


Anyone who sails will know the importance of the blanket – cool windy nights call for a fabulous cashmere blanket. And the Scandi Seaside interior features blankets galore. Thrown over chairs and sofas they add hugely to the beachy feel of a home. Water, sand, heather, wood and algae add a shabby chic touch to the Scandi Seaside look.


For wood and magazines and knitting yarn, a hugely popular and natural addition to the Seaside look, but also a key element in the Scandi Boho home.


This is an outdoor plant and traditional Scandi beach plant, a key feature on the Danish west coast. This is a virtual must on the terrace, but also a fresh and charming addition to the seaside interior decor while the plant lasts.

Scandi Seaside Art

Scandi Seaside paintings are far from the modern and conceptual pieces of the minimal and curated Nordic home. Seaside art is a celebration of fishing and sailing. Painters such as Michael Peter Ancher are massively popular in Denmark. As a realist artist, Ancher captured vividly the life of the fishermen of the 19th and early 20th Century. He was a core part of the north of Denmark group of painters who was to Denmark (and Scandinavia) what the so-called Bloomsbury set was to English literature.

Buying or renting a beach house in Denmark

The light of Skagen, which is in the very north of Denmark surrounded by water on three sides, attracted painters from all over Denmark. Their paintings have become collectables. Meanwhile, Skagen is now the top Danish holiday destination for for a literary and arty set.

Other famous seaside painters from Skagen include Ancher’s wife Anna Ancher and Peder Krøyer.

How to pick Scandi Seaside over other nautical and coastal styles

Water, sand, heather, wood and algae add a shabby chic touch to the Scandi Seaside look. Instead of gallery finds such sculptures or smart minimalist candle holders and bowls, Scandi Seaside accessories consist of natural beach finds. Shells, interesting stones and pieces of wood give the home a cosy vibe: happy memories and smells.

Very little separate the nautical looks simply because seaside colours and materials are the same all over the world – almost. What sets the styles apart is local traditions, economies and lifestyles, such as local artists and fashions. And the Scandi Seaside interior look is heavily framed by the minimalist and pure style which has developed over decades in the Nordic countries. The white background is as much part of the look as the blues, the rope and the shells.

Nautical Decor Ideas – Scandi Seaside and Coastal Accessories to suit your Style

Despite its “natural” look and feel, it is possible to create the seaside look by picking up pieces from the shops, ie tablecloths with an anchor or rope motif and – hugely popular in Scandinavia in the 70s and 80s, the ships wall clock. The nautical porthole mirror is on trend today – rarely out of the auction houses and sold in smart boutiques and department stores world wide. Check your local auctioneer, antique and major car boot sales. 

Lots of boutiques sell both authentic and imitation nautical pieces but the way to “curate” the Scandi Seaside look is to lay the foundation with a minimal decor and then add choice buys and great, interesting finds from holiday or in nature near you. Watch out for “souvenirs” – poppy stuff produced to sell to eager tourists flocking to the seaside. But large shells look fabulous on the rim of the bathtub or on a small side table, with or without a bar of soap and unique stones look great on the coffee table – let the children decorate them for added value.

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