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Scandi Style: This Home is a Perfect Specimen of Scandinavian Interior Design Style

If you love a minimalist aesthetic but want something that’s a little more warm and organic, then Scandinavian design might be just the thing.

What is Scandinavian Design?

Scandinavian design is an interior design and furniture style hallmarked by clean lines, minimalist features, and warm, light woods contrasted with darker-toned woods or metals such as iron. A mix of mid-century forms with minimalist, curated styling, Scandinavian design is definitely a less-is-more style. It’s all about a clean and minimal aesthetic with an organized and styled vibe. Functionality is also key in Scandinavian design. This no-frills style, while it tends to have a beautiful aesthetic, values function over form. So, in a Scandinavian home, everything should have a purpose—even the decor!

In terms of color palettes, Scandinavian interiors tend to have a black and white color scheme. They feature a neutral base, with a lot of whites and creams. But there’s almost always some dark contrast in a Scandinavian space, which—combined with the use of natural materials—helps keep the look from feeling sterile. Scandi design also celebrates the use of natural light whenever possible. Fabric curtains and layered lighting keep the look cozy at night, but during the day a Scandinavian space should be bathed in sunlight!

scandinavian interior designThe Origins of Scandinavian Design

As the name suggests, this look has its roots in Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. So, it’s no surprise that this interior design style celebrates nature—which is embraced in all its forms in Scandinavia. This is done by bringing natural-toned and raw-edge woods indoors, giving the look a more organic vibe.

Scandinavian design as an interior design style hit the scene in the mid-1950s, around the same time as Mid-Century Modern design began to rise in popularity. While there are a ton of similarities between these two styles, there are some distinct differences, especially in the materials used.

Learn more about the differences between Mid-Century and Scandinavian design styles on our podcast episode that’s all about Mid-Century Modern design!

scandinavian interior designThe Popularity of Scandinavian Design

Today, this Nordic style continues to grow in popularity for its calming nature and aesthetic appeal. People are drawn to the clean lines, simple storage solutions (see: IKEA), and the appeal of neutral base furniture crafted in light woods and whites. Nothing about this style is too “in your face,” which means it can be personalized in terms of colors, patterns, and decorative accessories.

We’re seeing Scandi styles being reimagined across the design world today. You’ll see a lot of Scandinavian-inspired design elements in the popular Hygge design style—which makes sense since hygge is a Danish concept! In fact, it’s really a mix of the coziness and approachability of rustic interior design ideas with the minimal forms and organic materials of Scandinavian design. And then there’s “Japandi” style, which is a mix of design influences from Japan-inspired rustic minimalism and furniture forms, but with a focus on that Scandi functionality. There are so many ways to personalize this design style, whether you go for straight-up Scandinavian design or mix it with other design styles.

Want to see this look brought to life? Keep reading for a room-by-room tour of a home designed with a Scandinavian interior design style.

scandinavian interior design

Scandinavian Entryway

This entryway is all about minimalist function. There is no clutter and no unnecessary objects in this space. It’s all about optimizing functionality—but doing so with beautiful furniture. This bench is a lovely combination of Scandinavian-inspired materials, with its warm wood finish and iron base.

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The Key Elements:

Embrace minimalist styling. When it comes to a Scandinavian-inspired entryway, you don’t need much to complete the look. Take a no-frills approach with your Scandinavian decor and just include the basics—some hooks to hang your coat, a place to set your shoes, and perhaps a surface for your wallet, purse, or keys.

Opt for function over form. While this entryway is beautiful, it’s functional above all else. The bench gives you a place to sit down as you come and go from the house, gather your belongings, and put your shoes on or take them off. The hooks give you an easy place to hang your coat, with a mirror right beneath to check your look before heading out the door!

Incorporate moments of warmth. A minimalist space can easily feel cold. But, as the welcoming space of your home, you want this area to feel inviting! So, we made sure to incorporate some visual warmth through the warm wood of the bench, the layered sheepskin rug (giving your feet a soft place to land when you take off your shoes!), and the textural pampas grass.scandinavian interior design

Scandinavian Living Room

Warm, cozy, and welcoming, this Scandinavian living room is both functional and relaxing. Everything in this room has a place and function—which helps it from feeling overcrowded or overwhelming. Yet it also feels like a space you can easily unwind and relax in.

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The Key Elements:

Look for minimalist-inspired furniture. In this living room, Scandi style comes alive through the accent furniture. The chair has a spindle design which is very common in trendy Scandinavian styles. The minimal design of the cabinet and the no-frills sofa keep the overall look simple and streamlined.

Layer in comfortable accents. The textiles in this space—from the plush rugs to the pillows and throw blankets—are what make this living room feel extra inviting. They all add touches of warmth and contrasting textures throughout this neutral space.

Add in high-contrast elements. Dark accents, such as the pendant, accent chair, and cabinet, offer a nice contrast to this neutral space. These high-contrast elements help offset the neutral base and add visual interest to the room.scandinavian interior design

Scandinavian Dining Room

This sleek, organized, and minimal dining room is discerningly styled. Even so, the vibe in this space is warm and welcoming because of the wood tones and textures that are used. Scandinavian design style shows up in this space particularly in the furniture itself. The dining set is a classic Scandi design with streamlined, minimalist legs that have a slight taper to them—though not enough to be classified as super Mid-Century.

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The Key Elements:

Embrace warmer wood tones. In your base furniture—the dining table, chairs, and a credenza or sideboard—look for wood pieces with warmer finishes. You could also go for a light natural finish which is still very Scandinavian but would give your space a slightly different vibe! For a Scandi dining room, you’ll also want to look for furniture with softly tapered legs—but nothing that’s too loud or mid-century modern.

Layer in touches of contrast. In this space, the accent decor, light fixture, and sheepskin rug bring some visual contrast to the space. Without these darker elements, the space would just be light neutrals and wood tones, which would make it lose that inviting warmth. Speaking of which…

Bring in elements of textural warmth as well. Unexpected textiles like the layered rugs, along with the fabric drapes, help offset the visual monotony that can come from wood-on-wood styling.

scandinavian interior design

Scandinavian Bedroom

Can you say cozy?? This space is all about softness and plush textures with a refined and relaxed vibe. Natural textures like cane, jute, and rattan mix together with warm wood tones to create an inviting warmth in the space. The Scandi vibe comes alive in this space through the furniture shapes, the metal finish of the light sconce, and the visual contrast in the decorative accents.

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The Key Elements:

Start with a plush base. A Scandinavian-inspired bedroom is all about comfort. An upholstered bed offers an element of warmth and comfort to the base layer furniture, which is complemented by a plush rug and cozy Scandinavian-inspired bedding. (Of course, you could also go with a minimal light wood bed frame and just add a couple extra pillows for added comfort!)

Use natural materials to bring in texture. The wood nightstands, dresser, and bench contrast nicely with the plush bed and rug. This helps incorporate that organic element to the space, with the clean-lined furniture supporting the Scandi vibe. Natural textures like pampas grass and a woven pendant light add visual warmth to the space, which adds to the feeling of coziness.

Incorporate subtle pops of color. To give this space a little more personality, we added small pops of earthy blue through the throw and Scandinavian decor on the nightstand. Since there’s less contrast in this room than other spaces of this home, the pops of blue help bring a little more life to the space!

Feeling inspired? Check out more of our home tours series on the blog, or browse our interior design ideas feed!

Want to bring some minimal and functional Scandinavian style into your home?

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A Peek Behind the Curtain: Here’s What a Modsy Design Project Really Looks Like

Maybe you’ve heard about online interior design services but you haven’t made the jump to check it out because you don’t really understand what’s involved. We get it! If you’ve never worked with an interior designer or used an online design service, this might seem like a foreign concept. But choosing online design services to help with space planning or home design can help you take your home to the next level.

Today, we want to pull back the curtain and show you what a Modsy design project looks like and why it might be the best thing you’ve ever done for your home! (See how Modsy stacks up against traditional interior designers if you’re still not convinced!) To help you visualize the process and benefits, we’re showing off a sample design project and walking you through what the Modsy design experience is really like.

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How Modsy Works

But before we dive in, you might be wondering how Modsy works. You start by choosing a design package and taking a style quiz to help us determine your interior design style. You’ll also give us the scoop on your budget and needs for your space and send us some photos and measurements of the space you want to design (eight photos and three measurements, to be exact). And we take it from there! (Meanwhile, you can kick back and explore some home design ideas or catch up on our podcast, The Render!)

We use some pretty cool technology to take the photos and measurements of your space to create an exact, 3D version of your room that’s built to scale. We sometimes call these “3D renderings” but all we mean by that is that we’ve designed a 3D version of your room so that you can better visualize what can go inside of it. We call it the Modsy 3D difference.

Once we have the model of your room built, your designer will get to work on your first two designs. They’ll show you two different layouts, color palette options, and real furniture and decor ideas all based on your preferences. This will help you see how different pieces will fit in your space and how the whole look can come together.

Of course, these are just the initial designs—your designer will continue to collaborate with you until you’re 100% happy with your design! And, along the way, all your designs will be in one place so you can see them all side by side and figure out what elements you like best.

Modsy designs

Peek a Modsy Design Project

Ready to see what Modsy room designs actually look like? Peek inside some real Modsy design projects and discover 4 reasons why it’s the best way to design your home.

Modsy behind the scenes shopping experience

1. View your space from every angle (including a view from the top)

Recognize this space? We helped Monica and Chandler from Friends design their iconic living room—and we can do the same for you. Each design in your Modsy studio features a catalog spread of lifelike images showing your newly designed room from each angle—including a bird’s eye and 360-degree view of each design. This lets you see your room’s design from every angle, helping you really understand how every piece of furniture and decor will work together in your space. The top-down view is great for layout planning, and the “on-the-ground” views help you feel like you’re standing in the space.

Want to explore Monica + Chandler’s design project more?

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Modsy designs

2. You can see real furniture and decor in your exact room

You can buy furniture and decor in-store or online—but sometimes when you get a piece of furniture home you realize the size or style of the piece doesn’t work in your space. That’s because understanding furniture and decor within the overall context of your home is so key.

Your Modsy designs are created with real furniture that’s sourced from hundreds of different brands. This includes more well-known brands like West Elm or Crate & Barrel, as well as a ton of brands that only interior designers can access. This lets you see how real furniture and decor will work together and fit into your space—AKA a total interior design game-changer.

Explore real room transformations from our customers

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Modsy designs

3. Swap in new furniture on your own

Skip the hassle (and 300-pound effort) of trying on sofas in real life. Once you have your initial Modsy designs, with a few clicks you can swap any item in your design for something new. And it takes less than a minute! It’s a fun way to sit in the designer’s seat and try out different items from the Modsy catalog. But don’t worry—your Modsy designer is still here to help and can lend a hand with additional design revisions if you want to see changes.

Learn More About Live Swap

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4. Shop your whole look in one cart

We know you have better things to do than run around to furniture stores all day. Since all of the items we use to design your room are real, the whole look is completely shoppable and lets you shop hundreds of brands with one cart. So, Modsy can also be your one-stop-shop—taking your designs from the screen to your actual room. To make it even better, we also honor all retailer sales and you can even apply Modsy-exclusive savings on top of those! Convenience and the best price around? What’s not to love!

Learn more about shopping through Modsy

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Ready to design your space with Modsy?

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Interior Design & You: Unboxing Your Interior Design Tool Kit

Welcome to Interior Design & You, a virtual design seminar led by Alessandra Wood, Modsy’s VP of Style. In this series, you’ll learn some of the basics of interior design, as well as how to personalize your own home. Watch session one, Unboxing Your Interior Design Toolkit, below—or scroll through the post for a recap!

Today, we’re digging into some interior design basics, which are some of the key things that interior designers think about when they’re designing a space. These five basic elements—color, pattern, scale and proportion, materials, and texture—are what designers use to create amazing spaces.

These interior design basics create something of a toolkit that gives you everything you need to think about your space in the way an interior designer does. And, armed with some knowledge about these interior design principles, hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of the basics of interior design! So, let’s get to it and unbox your design toolkit!

Interior design basics

Color

Color is one of the greatest ways to make an impact in your space. But deciding what colors to use can be a really tricky process! We’re all drawn to certain colors, and different colors may create different feelings within you. So, when thinking through how to decorate a room and what colors to include, there are a couple questions you can ask yourself, like how you’ll be using your space, what colors you’re naturally drawn to, and how you can align your color palette with your needs for the space—on a practical level, but also a mental and emotional level. Thinking about this can help guide your basic color choices.

3 Different Ways to Think About Color

From there, you’ll want to think about the amount of color you want in a space. Ask yourself about the amount and intensity of color you want in your space. The three levels of color we tend to think about are neutrals, pops of color, and bold use of color. A neutral space will, like it sounds, use mostly neutral. In a room with pops of color, you’ll choose one or two colors, and “pop” them in small ways through decorative accents and art, or in bigger ways through a larger piece of furniture or accent wall.

Creating a Color Palette

After deciding if you want your space to be neutral, bold, or simply have pops of color, you can create an overall color palette for your space. A simple, foolproof way to choose a color palette that works is to look at a color wheel and choose complementary colors (colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. But, if you want a more bold look, you could also go for a monochromatic palette, which uses multiple shades of one hue in a space. So, while technically the whole room relies on a single color, using different shades gives it visual depth.

You can also think about color intensity and the color families that go together. On the softer end of the spectrum are pastels. You then move into primary and earth tones. And on the more highly saturated end of the color spectrum are jewel tones.

Need some extra help with colors? Check out our guide to decorating with jewel tones, designer tips for decorating with white, our designers’ favorite neutral paint colors, and some foolproof color schemes for blue rooms.

Interior design basics

Pattern

Pattern is definitely related to color, but in interior design, it’s a category all its own. Patterns often use a broad mix of colors and they’re a way to bring a lot of personality into your space. And the surfaces on which you can use patterns really are endless.

Where and How to Incorporate Pattern

Interior design basics

“Safe” Use of Pattern

If you’re someone who likes to use patterns but doesn’t want anything too bold, you can introduce patterns into your space in a way that feels more subtle and soft. We call this a “safe” use of patterns. Often, this looks like incorporating patterns in smaller moments around your space—in textiles like pillows, throws, rugs, and drapery; in decorative accessories and wall art; and sometimes even accent furniture like a chair or ottoman. This is a great way to introduce depth and pops of excitement to your space without feeling like you’re going overboard.

Interior design basics

Bold Use of Pattern

If you’re bold at heart and love to make a big statement, you might want to try a bold use of pattern. This means incorporating patterns in larger furniture like sofas, in wallpaper, through flooring. To go really bold, you can also layer patterns and mix patterns on your walls and furniture, in addition to decorative accents, textiles, and artwork!

Interior design basics

How to Mix Patterns

If you’re wondering how to mix patterns, you’ll want to think about scale, color, and style. A great way to think about this on a small scale is through the arrangement of throw pillows on a sofa. Think about it: you want them to coordinate without completely matching. To pull off pattern mixing, you’ll want to first land on a color palette, which will create a through-line for all the patterns. And you’ll definitely want to anchor your patterns with some solid colors to help ground the look. From there, play with scale by mixing larger and smaller prints together.

Interior design basics

Scale & Proportion

Scale and proportion are all about how pieces physically fit in a space and how those pieces relate to each other; together, they help create a sense of symmetry and visual balance in a room. Technically, scale and proportion are different things—but colloquially these terms are often used interchangeably. Scale most often refers to the size of a piece within a specific space and its architecture, whereas proportion is often used when describing the size and shape of one object in relation to another in the space. But, for our purposes today, we’ll just use the two terms interchangeably.

Below are some different ways and times to think about scale and proportion within a space.

Interior design basics

Scale Within a Space: Footprint

Think about scale within your space when you’re thinking about the footprint—so, the actual size of the space. This is a determining factor in how you design the floor plan and what pieces of furniture you pick out. Here’s how this works: Larger spaces can handle larger pieces of furniture and more zoned floor plans, while smaller spaces should have smaller pieces. Scale is the reason why you don’t want to cram a huge sofa in a small living room or an apartment-sized sofa in a large or long living room. This might seem obvious, but it’s important to think through. How do your pieces fit within the footprint of the space? You want to pick out pieces that will create balance and make the room feel thoughtfully full, but not too full.

Scale Within a Space: Decorative Accents

You can also think about scale within a space in how you use decorative accents. This gets into the idea of how a piece is used in relation to other pieces within a space, and how they create balance.

Rugs are a great example of this. This is a place where a lot of people get it wrong. Rugs not only have to fit with the scale of a room but also with the furniture that it’s arranged with. This makes it more of a challenge! So, you want to make sure your rug is the right scale for both your room and furniture. If this idea feels overwhelming, check out our guide on how to find the right rug size for your living space and our bedroom rug size guide. Layering rugs is another great way to visually play with scale if you’ve discovered your current rug is too small but you don’t want to get rid of it!

Accent tables and lamps are another realm where scale and proportion can feel challenging—whether that’s a floor lamp or accent table in relation to a chair or sofa, or even a table lamp in relation to the accent table it sits upon. You can dig deeper into this topic with our guide to scale and proportion!

Interior design basics

Materials

When designing a room, a designer always considers a mix of materials. This is an easier concept to grasp, as it refers to what each piece in a room is made of. Look around your space. You’re probably surrounded by quite a mix of materials! Maybe wood, leather, textiles like wool or cashmere, fur, metal. Each material in a room brings in different colors, textures, and reflects light differently, which creates visual drama and intrigue to your space.

A room with only one material would feel pretty flat. It may even begin to feel institutional, evoking visions of white padded rooms. And no one wants that in their home! When you have a room that’s layered with a lot of different materials, you have a lot of different ways that light is playing with and interacting with a space, which creates a lot more visual interest.

Interior design basics

Texture

A close cousin of materials is texture. Texture is the tactile feeling of all those materials in a space. It’s really reactive to how light reflects and streams through your space. Mixing materials is the key to creating a space with layers of texture. Bringing in multiple textures and layering within your space keeps it from feeling one-note and creates depth and warmth.

Some simple ways to incorporate texture into your space are through layering materials like weathered wood, lacquer, marble, and metals; upholstery like wool, velvet, cotton, and linen; or woven natural materials like jute, rattan, or seagrass. You can have natural or manmade materials. But all of these different materials, when combined, create different touchpoints in the space that reflect light differently and keep your room feeling dynamic.

And there you have it! These interior design basics have hopefully given you a starting point to think about how your space works together and can transform into something really special! We know all this can feel a little daunting to get right. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to figure this all out on your own. With Modsy’s online interior design services, you can work with an expert designer to figure out everything from your floor plan and color scheme to designing the space with furniture and decor.

And if you’re feeling energized and want to dig a little deeper into the world of interior design, learn more with our interior design 101 guides, discover how to decorate a room in 10 easy steps, and get inspired with some interior design ideas! And don’t forget to check out session 2 and session 3 of Interior Design & You!

Want help from an expert designer for your space?

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Introducing Live Swap – Our Latest Feature That Lets You Try On Furniture With a Few Clicks

live swap

Designing and shopping for your home just got way more fun with our latest (and greatest) feature – Live Swap! We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes and are excited to bring swapping within your Modsy designs to life. Now, with only a few clicks you can easily swap any product in your 3D room for another.

Here are some of the most exciting things you can do with the new Live Swap feature.

Swap Anything

It’s like having 100s of sofas in your pocket. With Live Swap, our entire 3D catalog is at your fingertips. Once you get your initial Modsy designs, you’ll be able to easily swap in different pieces until you find a look you love.

Swap Anytime

Skip the hassle and expense of trying on furniture in real life. With Live Swap it only takes a minute to see something new in your exact room!

Don’t like that sofa? Swap in another! Want to see how that rug would look in a larger size? Swap it in! Keep swapping until you find the perfect pieces, then shop your exact look on the spot. It’s that easy.

Swap Anywhere

Live Swap feature works on desktop computers, mobile phones, and even tablets!

live swap

How does Live Swap work?

  1. Simply head to your Modsy designs (or start a design project if you don’t have one).
  2. Select an item you want to swap and choose an alternative from our 3D catalog to try instead.
  3. Click swap! Give us 30 seconds or so to work our magic, and watch as your new item swaps into your design.
  4. Love it? You can shop your new look directly from your design or keep swapping until you find the perfect piece for you.

But wait, there’s more! Live Swap works alongside Modsy’s 3D Style Editor. This is a unique tool that we created to give anyone, regardless of their experience with interior design, the ability to edit designs inside their 3D room model.

If you want to change the layout of your room, move products around or delete an item altogether, you can open up the 3D Style Editor and continue designing and discovering products. Save your changes and continue Live Swapping until you are ready to shop.

If you already have a Modsy design, you can start swapping and visualizing different pieces of furniture today. New to Modsy? No worries, you too can Swap till’ you shop, just as soon as you start your project.

Ready to try Live Swap?

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