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8 Danish Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)

Danish Scandinavian Interior Design_Followtheflow_Shutterstock

Danish interior design is growing in popularity. Its focus on small spaces, minimalism, and warmth is attracting a lot of people who are looking for a way to brighten their homes. Danish design is perfect for apartments, small homes, cold climates, and families. If you want to add a little bit of Scandinavian flavor and Danish warmth to your next design, here are some interior design ideas to inspire your next project and hopefully get you started.

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The Top 8 Danish Interior Design Ideas For Your Home

1. Keep It Minimalist

Scandinavian minimalism is a philosophy that has swept the globe and has its roots in places like Denmark. Danish design very much follows in these footsteps. Clutter is frowned upon. Rooms should always have open space and strive to feel light and airy, even if the space is extremely tight.

Danish designers will implore that some floor space, windowsill areas, or corners are left open and unimpeded to increase the feeling of flow and minimalism even if the square footage is not there. Everything should have a place, and loose items should be stored creatively or hidden away. The only time Scandinavians eschew their commitment to minimalism is in the pursuit of coziness (more on that later.)

2. Pragmatic Trumps Stylish

Spaces in Europe are often much smaller than they are in North America. That means that every space must be configured to operate in the most efficient way possible. Efficiency is not always super stylish, and that is okay. The Danish, and many Europeans, appreciate pragmatic appearances and items more than they do stylish ones that serve no explicit purpose.

Do not fill your home with furniture, pillows, or other accouterments if you have no intention of actually using it. Everything should have a purpose. Make sure you are choosing things you like to look at and will use regularly. Nothing is more stylish in Danish design than objects that serve two functions and are pleasing to the eye.

3. Use Tans, Blondes, and Grays…

A popular color pallet in Denmark is the use of soft tones to brighten a space. Some of the best contrasts in Danish design are the opposites. Contrast pairs such as cold and warm, light and dark, cozy and pragmatic. Using light colors like tan, blonde, rose gold, light gray and others brings this sense of warmth and color to your space. For half of the year, the scene outside the window is usually dark with lots of whites, blacks, and grays. Danish design rarely features bold, bright, or pastel colors that are seen in other designs. The color choices for Danish interior design are very muted and are either cool or warm.

4. As Well As Black and White

Black and white is still a staple of Danish design. Some rooms are designed entirely out of blacks and whites, while other rooms feature warmer tones. One of the easiest ways to add a splash of Denmark to a design is to use black and white striped accents. Getting a rug, throw pillow, or painting that features clean lines and black and white colors will quickly enhance the Danish influences. Some people go all in and design an entire room out of mostly black with white accents. Some designers think that the prevalence of black makes a space feel cozy, especially with the right ambient lighting.

5. Keep It Cozy

Coziness is one of the most important factors of any Danish design, some spaces are meant to be minimalist and practical while other spaces are meant to be cozy. Having areas where people can unwind while feeling safe and warm is important in every Danish household.

Sometimes this means creating a window bench with extra blankets and some candles, but sometimes it can mean dedicating entire rooms to this idea. Bathrooms can be cozy. Bedrooms can be cozy. Having an outdoor space where people can sip hot drinks and enjoy a blazing fire can be cozy. You must dedicate at least one area of your home to warmth and coziness in order to have a truly authentic Danish-inspired design.

6. Light Some Candles

A pillar of cozy Danish, and Scandinavian, design is the use of candles. Winters in Denmark and Scandinavia can be long, cold, and dark. Nothing brightens and warms a space more than the judicious use of candles. Candles are used everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. You can add tall candle holders to flank a window or simple tea candles to light up a coffee table.

If you are worried about having numerous open flames around your house, there is no shame in getting artificial candles that are safer but still provide that cozy look. Dimming the lights and snuggling in to read a book with a cup of tea in your favorite corner by the glow of a candle is the very essence of hygge and of Danish design philosophy.

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Denmark is known for its furniture makers. Danish furniture is unique, stylish, and built to last. Instead of buying into a culture of planned obsolescence and continuous turnover, the Danish have leaned heavily into a culture that promotes reusing old furniture, upscaling used pieces, and reducing their waste and clutter.

Before running out to buy the perfect bookshelf from the store, see if a family member has one, they are not using. Check local antique shops and thrift stores for bargain finds that can be refinished and put into your home without buying something completely new. The result will be a look that is a mixture of old and new, fresh and worn, that respects some of the Danish people’s most important values while creating a unique design aesthetic.

8. Use Plenty of Texture

One of the hallmarks of Danish interior design is the use of texture. Texture can be found in Danish designs, from fuzzy throw pillows to thick rugs or rough stones in the kitchen. Texture breaks up the clean, minimalist design while adding warmth, character, and personality. Textures can be warm, such as plants, blankets, and rugs. Textures can also be cool such as texture from stone, metal, or wooden furniture.

When choosing the right texture for your design, make sure to add warm textures to the cozy hygge areas and cool textures to the more utilitarian areas. Blending these two and keeping them in balance will give you a vibrant layered look that screams Denmark.

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What Is Hygge?

When reading up on Danish, Norwegian, and other Scandinavian designs you are likely to come across the word hygge. Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga” is a feeling that Scandinavians seek to cultivate. It is a feeling of warmth, fun, family time, safety, and coziness. Quality time spent with out-of-town family around a fireplace during the holidays would be considered hygge. Sitting down by a window with a good book when the weather is bad is considered hygge. It is a feeling, an atmosphere, and an ambiance.

Many staples of Danish and Scandinavian design strive to bring this feeling into their homes. Certain spaces are designed and arrayed to increase the potential to cultivate hygge. Many spaces are configured to fit friends and family. Some areas are dedicated to reading, drinking, and lounging. Many homes have outdoor areas with fireplaces and ambient lighting to enjoy a cool evening under the stars.

According to Visit Denmark, hygge can be defined in the following way. “In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” This warm atmosphere is present in all Danish designs.

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Bringing Denmark into your home can be as simple as redesigning your favorite sitting area or as complicated as walking into IKEA and ordering entire room sets. Danish design is simple, clean, and minimalist. It is also warm, cozy, and inviting. It mixes the glow of candlelight with the pragmatism of folding desks. This kind of design, especially the focus on hygge, is more popular than ever, and for a good reason.

Featured Image Credit: Followtheflow, Shutterstock


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