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

best swedish design ideas

Sara Medina Lind

Who doesn't love the simplicity, utility, and beauty of a Swedish-inspired space? In our opinion, the most appealing quality is the understated elegance. When you pare everything back to the bare essentials, it feels warm and inviting without the clutter. The Swedish minimal aesthetic is beloved worldwide, and for a good reason: It's the equivalent of the "little black dress" of interiors, proving that sometimes, all you need are the basics. Clean lines, muted palettes, and clever craftsmanship seem simple enough, but when you put them all together, you create a powerful combination.

If you're wondering how hard it is to achieve this simplified look, take a breath of relief, because it's actually quite doable. Many of our favorite interior designers, like Swedish native Sara Medina Lind and more, have mastered the art of outfitting homes with that coveted simplicity.

Keep scrolling for the best Swedish aesthetic design ideas to inspire your own space, and remember: Less is more.

01 of 20

Start With White Paint

best swedish design ideas

Sara Medina Lind

A sleek white background is a staple of Swedish design. If your walls, ceilings, and floors are all painted white, the effect is strangely calming, and it instantly makes your home feel larger. 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 wall color. 

02 of 20

Eliminate Clutter

best swedish design ideas

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 an open space with 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 20

Aim for Symmetry

best swedish design ideas

House of Chais

A simple way to bring the minimalist vibe into your space is to work with symmetry: By balancing the visual weight of furniture and décor, your rooms will naturally feel more open and intentional. White walls, sleek wood cabinetry, and small black accents set the stage for this bathroom's matching mirrors and globe wall sconces.

04 of 20

Invite Natural Elements

best swedish design ideas

Katherine Carter

Wood accents are a key characteristic of Swedish design. Whether you employ them in easy ways, like on furniture, or use a more creative approach, like on the ceiling, you can't go wrong with this natural material. Plus, wooden elements are a great way to introduce other colors into the space. For instance, in this living room, the cognac leather sofa works perfectly with the same shade on the frame of the armchairs and window panes.

05 of 20

Create Minimal Contrast

best swedish design ideas

Calimia Home

Contrast is important in Swedish design, and it usually comes in the form of a few dark accents that stand out against all-white rooms. Here, a ceiling painted in the same shade as the walls allows for a perfectly sleek background, while a large black dining table serves as the room's focal point. Light wood dining chairs and a fur throw add just enough texture to complete the space.

06 of 20

Choose Furniture Wisely

best swedish design ideas

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.

07 of 20

Keep Everything Organized

best swedish design ideas

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 spend looking for tools and utensils when you're cooking.

08 of 20

Add a Personal Touch

best swedish design ideas

House of Chais

Even when you're aiming for minimalism, it's important for your home to be a reflection of who you are. Express your personality and make your space your own with personal touches. This floral wallpaper, placed within the home's natural arches, brings out a fun character while complementing the color scheme in the rest of the space.

09 of 20

Keep It Simple

best swedish design ideas

Sara Medina Lind

Simplicity is beautiful, especially concerning interiors. A sleek, minimal aesthetic really allows us to focus on the statements in a space. In the bedroom, for example, you can't go wrong with a calming white design that features a few darker elements, like a beautiful black-and-white photograph.

To bring texture to a white bedroom, opt for materials like linen bedding that have a lived-in feel without looking messy.

10 of 20

Embrace Earthy Tones

best swedish design ideas

House of Harvee

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to keep your palette limited to shades of white to achieve a minimalist look. Any earth-toned hue, like these muted rust tones, works perfectly in a Swedish aesthetic. Small hints of color can help make your design feel more dynamic by bringing visual depth to the space.

11 of 20

Leave Open Floor Space

best swedish design ideas

Julian Porcino

Swedes are all about minimalism, and minimalism is all about simple, open spaces: It's important to avoid making things feel cluttered. An easy place to start is by keeping your furniture far enough apart that you can comfortably walk around your rooms with plenty of open space to spare.

12 of 20

Pick a Theme

best swedish design ideas

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 up your décor. As long as it's within the theme, any new pieces will blend into your aesthetic. Here, varying shades of neutral hues and natural materials exist harmoniously together. 

13 of 20

Find Your Light

best swedish design ideas

Julia Robbs

Swedish design doesn't thrive in the dark, so try to find natural light wherever you can. Sunlight plays off of a Swedish color palette beautifully. Put your best design foot forward in rooms with ample natural light, and opt for window coverings like sheer curtains or Roman shades that allow for privacy while letting the light in.

14 of 20

Add a Pop of Greenery

best swedish design ideas

Calimia Home

A simple way to introduce color to neutral rooms is through the greenery. Similar to decorating with wood, plants add a natural texture along with muted earthy colors to a space. If you're not ready to commit to specific colors in your décor, a few leafy touches are plenty to liven up any room.

15 of 20

Add Modern Elements

best swedish design ideas

The House on Hillside Lane

While the ever-popular cozy Swedish living room is a style we'll never tire of, we're also fans of modern kitchens with sleek lines in a Scandinavian home. In this space, simple white walls are warmed up by natural wooden cabinetry. We especially love how the pendant light fixtures match the island for depth and contrast.

16 of 20

Play With Texture

best swedish design ideas

Sara Medina Lind

Textures amp up the interest level in an interior, so be sure to blend a few different types. The trick is to keep them within the same tonal family: If you mix too many textures, materials, and surfaces of different colors, the result can sometimes clash. If you have a white base, opt for similar beige, gray, and tan tones (or any colors you would see together in nature).

17 of 20

Use Cozy Materials

best Swedish design ideas

Design: The House on Hillside Lane

It's no secret that it gets cold in Sweden—and stays that way for much of the year. The region's design is largely inspired by the seasons, incorporating plenty of plush, cozy materials to weather the winter (which also explains the meaning behind hygge). Add a fur throw, fluffed-up rug, and plenty of throw blankets to keep your space comfortable all year long.

18 of 20

Add Woven Touches

best swedish design ideas

Leaf and Lolo

Woven elements have long been associated with Swedish interiors, and they're styled perfectly in this airy bedroom. A large fringe tapestry hangs behind the bed, and pampas grass carries the texture to the side table. Since the tapestry is woven in a light shade, it blends effortlessly into the wall behind it for a minimalist effect.

19 of 20

Match Décor to Furniture

best swedish design ideas

The House on Hillside Lane

For a cohesive design, choose décor in colors that matches your furniture. Here, a woven planter and light wood side table match the legs on the accent chair. We also love the way the wall art complements the rug, while the throw pillow brings out the earthy hues of the hanging plant.

20 of 20

Make a Relaxing Statement

best swedish design ideas

House of Chais

Even when you're working with a minimalist aesthetic, don't be afraid to make a statement. In this beautifully styled bedroom, a sleek white background is offset by a light gray scalloped mural and an impressive woven pendant light. The key is in the details: Thanks to its simple color scheme, the room feels bright, open, and free of clutter.

Layered lighting not only adds depth and dimension to your space, but serves as a functional upgrade: When you're ready to turn off the main overhead light, symmetrical bedside pendants can provide a soft glow before bedtime.

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