Scandinavian style is rooted in minimalism and simplicity. It champions the use of neutral colors and organic elements, which, when coupled with natural light, results in a look that's cool, calm, and collected. Conveniently, those are just the characteristics that are essential for a productive home office, like the simple one above, designed by Mainstreet Stockholm.
While office furniture tends to be utilitarian, Scandinavian design offers a fresh twist, where form and function can be one and the same. Ditch the rough textures and overly lustrous metal finishes in favor of smooth surfaces and light wood. Then, introduce a pop of color here and there to create definition that takes it all to the next level. Regardless of which approach you take, inviting a bit of hygge into the workplace can be the dose of serenity your office was missing. Here are some good places to start.
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1. Keep it clean.
This serene setup in Anne Sage's Scandinavian-inspired home office is the definition of streamlined minimalism. The custom storage system features ample shelving plus built-in cabinets and plenty of surface area for a workstation. On the styling front, Sage stayed on-theme with a light, neutral palette, which extends to the books, wall art, and window treatment.
2. Stick to the basics.
Clean lines, subtle curves, and thoughtful art placement are just a few of the factors that comprise a quintessential Scandinavian office design. This artful workspace puts these principles into practice and shows just how impactful small details can be. While the furniture and accessories are simple, together they create a bold dose of style.
3. Create subtle contrast.
Nordic home decor and furniture brand Muuto never fails to inspire us with its effortlessly cool take on office staples reimagined in fresh hues. Here, a black vertical storage system cleverly conceals clutter, while also grounding a palette of light neutrals and pastels. The subtle color contrast is mirrored by the mix of textures in the room, from the wood-paneled walls to the matte cabinets and glossy floor.
4. Add a few plants.
Live greenery is yet another essential staple of the Scandinavian home office, contributing a natural element that can enliven and brighten your space. Plus, it's a major game-changer for areas that lack natural light altogether. (Find out which plants thrive in low-light rooms here.) Bring a few potted plants into your workspace, like Amber Thrane has done here, for a splash of color and a literal breath of fresh air.
5. Choose multipurpose furniture.
Decorating with Scandinavian style means embracing clean lines and being mindful of each piece you bring in. This is especially true for those working in a small space, where every square foot counts. If that describes your home office, consider investing in a combined desk and shelf, like the one in this Scandi-inspired beach house by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. There's no wasted space here, and the shelves provide a perfect way to show off plants and artwork.
6. Embrace the pegboard.
Step into a Scandinavian style office space and chances are, you'll find a pegboard being used in one capacity or another. We're all for outfitting your walls with this versatile material, allowing it to provide a platform for built-in shelving and even a writing surface. This clever setup in the Hunker House illustrates the functional beauty of pegboard, with adjustable ledges that can cater to any configuration.
7. Match your desk to its surroundings.
For a truly minimalist look, choose a desk that matches your walls and flooring, like the white setup in this IKEA-designed studio office. With plenty of natural light, this room is bright and airy, sure to support productivity and inspiration. The mostly white backdrop allows each outlying color to pop, especially the bright red stool.
8. Choose one accent color.
While shades of white, cream, and beige may be the mainstays of Scandinavian design, contrasting color accents are just as essential. Note how the sage green desk and chair in this Nordic-inspired office spotted on Skandium completely transform the neutral-heavy space. Adapt this look to your taste by choosing another color, like soft yellow or primary blue.
9. Play with pastels.
This mezzanine study by Hao Design hits all the right notes with its contemporary approach to classic Scandinavian design. In lieu of the traditional combination of white walls and light wood furniture, the designers opted for a playful array of pastels and subtly textured materials to give the scene a layered effect. Natural light and a large green plant complete bright, energizing look.
10. Opt for closed storage.
Cultivating simplicity in a workspace means creating ample storage solutions that can keep clutter out of sight. Take a cue from this home office nook, designed by Source Architects and interior designer Micaela Outtrim, that functions as a seamless extension of the kitchen and living room. The closed cabinets help establish a tidy finish, while the natural wood desktop brings a welcome dose of warmth to the scene.
11. Stick to neutral colors.
When pulling pieces together for your Scandinavian home office, go for neutral colors. Take a look at this space by Sara Albers. From the side table to the woven baskets, faux-fur rug, and art pieces, everything fits a soft palette of gray, brown, cream, and white. A color scheme like this is sure to prevent distraction and help you focus as you work.
12. Consider an alternative desk.
In a Scandinavian-style home office, you're unlikely to find a bulky desk. In fact, you might not even find a desk at all. For a truly pared-back look, opt for a writing table, like the one Amber Thrane selected for this kids' workspace. A surface like this gives you ample space to spread out your books and tools without taking up unnecessary room.
13. Dress up the walls with soothing artwork.
Creating a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired space doesn't mean swearing off artwork and other decorative touches. Instead, choose soothing pieces that fit a tonal color palette. We're swooning over this home office spotted on Fantastic Frank, where the framed art and sculptural light fixture create an inspiring atmosphere.
14. Go for a black and white palette.
While Scandinavian rooms lean heavily into the neutral, that doesn't mean you have to stick to shades of beige. You'll often find Scandinavian spaces with a black and white color palette, like this home office by Mainstreet Stockholm. The key is to choose artwork and other accents that look streamlined and lightweight to keep up the minimalist feel.