10 Ways to Get the Swedish Aesthetic (Hint: It's All About That Nordic Symmetry)

living room

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

Who doesn't love the simplicity, utility, and beauty of a Swedish-inspired space? In our opinion, their most appealing quality is the understated elegance. Somehow, when you pare everything back to the bare essentials, it feels warmer, purer, and more honest. The Swedish minimal aesthetic is beloved worldwide, and for a good reason: It's like the equivalent of the little black dress of interiors. Clean lines, muted palettes, and clever craftsmanship seem simple enough but put them all together, and you have a powerful combination.

If you're wondering how easy it is to achieve this simplified look, take a breath of relief because it's actually quite doable. If you don't believe us, take it from Sara Medina Lind, a Swedish native who knows a thing or two about design.

Meet the Expert

Sara Medina Lind is a Stockholm-based stylist, art director, and interior photographer. She's also the founder, designer, and creative director for the Swedish furniture line, Melo.

Take a page from the Swedes and outfit your home with that coveted simplicity.

01 of 10

Buy White Paint

living room

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

If your walls, ceilings, and floors are all white, the effect is strangely calming, and it instantly makes your home feel bigger. Plus, a white base allows you to change the décor each season since you won't have to worry about coordinating your new pieces with your walls' color. 

02 of 10

Eliminate Clutter

living room

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

Clutter is Swedish design's enemy. Get rid of things that you don't use or need in your home in order to create space and a pleasant atmosphere. You'll be amazed at how the abundance of negative space positively impacts your mood. Trust us; getting the balance right may take a little rearranging, but the zen result will be worth it.

03 of 10

Choose Furniture Wisely

dining room

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

When looking for new furniture, invest in pieces that you really love, and make sure to choose materials you won't get tired of. Whenever possible, choose well-made pieces that are built to last. Some of the key pieces you should consider spending more on are sofas, artwork, kitchen tables, and rugs. These are the things you use regularly, so make sure they can withstand daily use—and look good in the process.

04 of 10

Keep It Simple


Photo: Sara Medina Lind

Simplicity is beautiful, especially when it concerns interiors. Yes, this has been said time and time again, but it's a fact. A sleek, minimal aesthetic really brings intrigue and mystery to a space. In the bedroom, for example, you can't go wrong with a calming white space that features a few darker elements, like a beautiful black-and-white photograph.

Linen bedding is always a good idea because it has that lived-in quality without looking sloppy.

05 of 10

Pick a Theme

dining nook

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

Choose a design theme that you love, and stick to it. Not only will this help make a room look cohesive, but it'll make it easier when you want to change your home around, too. As long as it's within the theme, you can add in pieces when you feel like it. Here, there are different shades of nudes and natural materials that exist harmoniously together. 

06 of 10

Play With Texture

living room

Photo: Sara Medina Lind

Textures amp up the interest level in an interior, so feel free to go wild. The trick is to keep them within the same tonal family. If you mix too many textures, materials, and surfaces of all different colors, the result will surely be headache-inducing. If you have a white base, then opt for similar beige, dove-gray, and tan tones or any colors you would see together in nature. Generally, the colors that blend well are the ones Mother Nature intended.

07 of 10

Invite Natural Elements

living room

Design: Katherine Carter

Wood accents are a key characteristics of Swedish design. Whether you employ them in easy ways, like on furniture, or from a more creative approach, like on the ceiling, you really can't go wrong. Plus, wooden elements are a good way to introduce other colors into the space. For instance, in this living room, the cognac leather sofa doesn't feel random because the same shade is on the frame of the armchairs and window panes.

If you want to take nature to the next level, add a plant or two.

08 of 10

Embrace Earthy Tones


Design: House of Harvee

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to keep your palette limited to shades of white. Any earth-toned hue, like these muted rust tones work perfectly in a Swedish aesthetic. Plus, adding a bit of color here and there never hurts.

09 of 10

Keep Everything Organized


Design: Katherine Carter

Organization is key when it comes to the Swedes. If you have floating shelves that put all of your wares on display, having an organized system for your things (plates, bowls, jars of spices...etc.), is absolutely necessary. Not only does it look great but it minimizes the time you'd spend looking for tools and utensils when you're cooking.

10 of 10

Find Your Light

dining nook

Photo: Julia Robbs

Swedish design doesn't like the dark, so try to find natural light wherever you can. Sunlight plays off of a Swedish color palette beautifully, so putting your best design foot forward in rooms with ample natural light is always a good idea.

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