6 Mistakes You're Making When Decorating in Scandinavian Style

Neutral Scandinavian interior

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Scandinavian style is ultra popular all over the globe, but how do you know if you've effectively adapted the aesthetic into your space? What are some common mistakes that pop up when people try to embrace all things Scandi? To find out, we spoke with three home decorating experts who weighed in on the main issues they notice when people introduce Scandinavian style into their homes, as well as tips on how to resolve these errors.

1. Only Decorating With the Color White

According to home Instagrammer Krystal Dahaby, "thinking that to be Scandi everything has to be white" is a common misconception. But Dahaby is all for veering away from neutrals when embracing this design aesthetic. "Scandi style is the perfect base to work in some pops of color, whether it be a beautiful piece of art, cushions or throws, or even a rug," she says. "It doesn't have to be minimal and plain to be Scandi."

Home Instagrammer Aimee Allerton agrees. "When everything is white, the room becomes flat and uninspired," she says. "Often beige and off-whites palettes work really well with Scandinavian interiors and a warm feel to the space. Look for other warmer neutral palettes."

scandinavian style

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2. Only Incorporating Wooden Furniture

Think about the variety of other finishes you can choose from aside from just wooden pieces, Dahaby urges. “Yes, one of the main details in Scandinavian style is the beautiful timber finishes, but you can most definitely add other elements like marbles and metals and still have a Scandi overall look," she comments.

3. Veering Too Minimal

Allerton has noticed that sometimes Scandinavian style rooms are kept so minimal that they appear a bit one-dimensional and cold. But, she says, this can easily be remedied by incorporating lots of textural pieces into a space. "Although minimal clean spaces are an essential element of Scandinavian [design], different textures and materials are essential to bring in warmth," she comments. "So grab a textured rug, linen curtains, and cozy throw. This blend of textures against the paired back palette will bring a harmonious balance in the room and create a cozy, hygge feel."

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4. Thinking Scandi Style Is Too Expensive

By no means should one feel as though they have to break the bank to embrace a Scandi look, notes Allerton. Besides, she notes, "Less is always more with the Scandinavian style. Everything should be minimal and functional in the space." Shop your own backyard or discount stores to get started. "Bring nature in the space [with] as much natural light as possible, bring in plants, or go foraging, then select a few key pieces of furniture for the space," she offers. "There is also some great brands like IKEA that offer some great reasonably priced furniture!"

5. Not Incorporating Personal Touches

Scandinavian spaces should be full of personality, home influencer Kristina Rasmussen of The Scandinavian Stylist says. "Pinterest and Instagram can be great places to get inspired, but often I see homes that might have a strong interior look but are lacking personality. As Scandinavians it’s very important that we stay true to ourselves and therefore our homes are an extension of us." Rather, she explains, "Personality can be reflected in what you like to look at, which materials you like to touch, the sounds in your home, as well as the scent and light." And in true Scandi fashion, this means passing over fleeting styles. "We avoid quick trends and cheap plastic products, as we favor the authenticity of natural things," Rasmussen adds.

scandinavian style

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6. Designing a Space That's Overly Styled

"The danger with trying to achieve a ‘show-home’ look is that the focus moves purely on to the Scandinavian aesthetic, and the functionality and flow might be forgotten," Rasmussen says. Homes are meant to truly be lived in, after all! "The Scandinavian philosophy is quality over quantity," she adds. "You can benefit from making a masterplan for how you want your future lifestyle to look. This makes it easier to identify the items that are essential for the lifestyle you want and avoid the clutter of items which aren’t really needed." In completing this exercise, think about how you plan to utilize each space within your home, Rasmussen states. "Think about your life and work as you go through your home—what do you do when you first walk through the door, do you have designated spaces for your things?”