Decorating your space can truly make it feel lived in and like a home. But when you’re new to a country it can be challenging to know where to buy new items such as furniture and decor. If you are looking for ways to make your home feel more Swedish, we have the details on the Scandinavian design aesthetic, plus lots of tips on furniture stores.
Disclaimer: To keep The Newbie Guide free, we use affiliate links (marked with *) and may get a commission if you click and buy using these links. This does not affect our opinions and our writers always recommend their best for your Swedish experience.
Scandinavian/Swedish Design Aesthetic
When you think of the Scandinavian design aesthetic, often images of neutral colors such as light brown/wood/taupe and lots of white come to mind. There are often elements of nature as a clear spotlight in this aesthetic, such as items made of real wood, highlighted leaves or plants, geometric shapes, and you will definitely see an animal or two, or at least their fur. This aesthetic is largely minimalistic, with a focus on a few centerpiece items rather than many. It is also aimed at functionality. Often furniture is used as more than one item – such as an ottoman and a storage space. Yes, your mind may jump to, of course, Ikea, a classic Swedish take on function and affordability, especially for smaller spaces. But there are many other designers/stores to choose from for a classic Scandinavian design.
If you seek even more detail from an interior designer’s perspective, read our fellow blogger’s piece on how to really bring the Swedish design into your home. He also has great tips for several price ranges, e.g. for lower price ranges, check out Clas Ohlson and Lagerhaus, and for middle to high ranges – check out Design Torget*, Design House, and Svenskt Tenn.
Scandinavian Furniture for your home
Furniture in the Scandinavian design aesthetic usually marries function with minimalism. These pieces are made from wood, or other natural textiles. The design is clean, with a focus on simplistic lines or shapes and contrasting colors such as white and wood. Often, furniture of this style can be your centerpiece item in the room, or start as a base for decorative items that complement it. Scandinavian design is all about warm, mysig (cozy in English), feels – such as candles, furs, and soft lighting, paired with simple furniture pieces.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect new piece of furniture (or new to you: check out these secondhand shops as well). Mjuk* is also a great furniture option if you are eager to keep it sustainable, as their furniture is entirely second hand.
Check out stores like, BoboHome*, Granit*, Furniw, Balkongshoppen, Mio, Jysk, Royal Design and Illums Bolighus for prime Scandinavian furniture shopping. They all guarantee that your home will be designed the Scandinavian way and bring form and function to their furniture. But, don’t be surprised if your furniture looks a lot like your neighbor’s. Many people shop at these stores, therefore homes tend to look similar once designed/furnished. You will definitely find natural textures like classic wooden stools and simple shapes and designs like geometric or plant-inspired on textiles. Furniture tends to be more minimally designe but decorative items can liven up the simplicity.
Tips before buying
Take a look at these sites before buying, as they range in price and shipping options. If you are picking up furniture yourself, you can often get a discount on shipping, but delivery (and putting together) the items can be expensive.
If you’re looking for outdoor furniture to liven up your space, take a look at Folkhemmet or Rusta for your best options. They have a wide range of prices and options, and often have discounted days or campaigns.
Still not sold? Check out this post for more detail on what many of these incredible sites/stores offer, especially if you are searching for affordable furniture and home decor stores. There are a ton of options to choose from in just this article alone. If you’re still unsure and live near Stockholm, check out this list as well for more detail on the best furniture stores in Stockholm.
Decorate the Scandinavian way
Decorative items are where the Scandinavian design aesthetic really comes into play. If you buy a simple piece of furniture that is functioning well but you want something to cozy it up – this is when you check out the Scandinavian decor stores. Decorative items range from textiles such as pillow cases with geometric or nature-inspired designs, sheep’s wool/fur, candle holders in the shape of food and animals, metal fixtures or figurines, to warm, enticing lamps.
If you’re looking for that one (or two or three) specialty piece to show off the Scandinavian aesthetic, you have a wide range of options to choose from for decor in Sweden. Some are based in Denmark, but you shouldn’t have any issues shipping to Sweden.
Sheep’s Wool and Furs
Who wouldn’t want a Danish sheep’s wool item to decorate their home? Look no farther than at these får-tastic (that’s Swedish for sheep) furs. Danish Fårskinn* and Natures Collection* both offer a wide range of wooly items, as does Nordic Sheep*. They often offer other decorative items as well, so take a look at their sites to get the full picture.
If you seek an accent item to brighten up your home, you can find a range of options. Swedes are known for their love of candles, especially during the dark months. These can be found at places such as Ennelle*, H&M Home, Åhlens*, and many others depending on your price points. If you’re looking for Scandinavian brands to bring interesting items to your home, check out the metal figures at Älska plåt*, geometric wallpaper at Retro tapeter*, or candles, lights, and decorative pillows from Trendy4you*.
Another way to bring in the Scandinavian design aesthetic into your home is to introduce warm lighting. In Sweden, not only will you find candles and plants in every window, but inside the home are various light fixtures that give off that warm, cozy glow. Often the designs of lights can be nature inspired (think artichokes and pine cones or animals). Or they can just be a simple design that brightens the room. If you are looking for the perfect lamp, check out stores like Markslöjd*, Ikea, Nordic Nest*, Lights of Scandinavia, and Stockholm Lighting.
All in one
Many of the stores in this article have more than just lighting or furniture. Remember the functionality concept of Scandinavian design? That extends to the stores themselves. Many of them carry furniture, lighting, decorative art, candles, glassware, textiles, etc. all in one. Be sure to check out these stores for your one stop shop to all things Scandinavian design: Svenssons*, H&M Home, Åhlens*, Clas Ohlson, Hemtext*, Designtorget*, Confident Living*, and Nordiska galleriet*.
Kitchenware and Sustainable Choices
There are many uniquely Scandinavian options to create comfort. Sustainable choices are also available for furniture, kitchenware, and cleaning products.
For the Kitchen
The kitchen can be a great place to bring some Scandinavian design into your home. Many of the stores have functional and well designed kitchen items that make sense. For example, a biodegradable cloth that can be used to wipe up all manner of spills. Often you will find these with Scandinavian designs. Check out stores like Designtorget*, Cervera*, Kitch’n*, and Kitchen Time* for some great options. Nordic Nest* offers many textiles including tableware and other needed kitchen items as does Hemtext*.
Scandinavian design also comes in more sustainable options. Mjuk* has furniture and decor that are thoroughly cleaned and inspected but secondhand and cheaper than buying something new. They extend furniture’s life span and take care of the entire process for you. Live Home* is another great option for sustainable items. They offer cleaning and decorative items that are environmentally friendly and cheap. If you are trying to get away from using plastic, BeeLife* offers sustainable food covers that can be used many times, as well as gift cards and other presents made from beeswax.
Decorating and furnishing your home in a foreign place can be a challenge for many people. Especially if you are trying to find a specific design style – such as Scandinavian. This list is not exhaustive. You can easily find even more Scandinavian options online or just walking through a centrum or gallerian. These are located in both small cities/towns but on a smaller scale and in larger cities/areas with many more options. Start with gallerians as they often house many different stores in one place (think a mall or shopping area).
You have lots of options for choosing Scandinavian design, whether it be furniture or decorative items for your home. Also ask the locals as they can give you great tips on the best place to buy items.
What item are you purchasing next for your Scandinavian inspired home?