Summer Residential Interior Design Ideas, Scandinavian Style

June 27, 2017

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Nordic summer living is the envy of the world and our residential interior design team have been taking some pointers from summer, Scandinavian style.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to own a summer cottage on an idyllic Nordic island – you can pretend!

One thing we have in California is a lot of summer and for the rest of it, we can improvise. So, maybe you don’t have a cottage, but you might have a summer house that can be adorned in a similar way.

And no summer house is no problem, you could simply turn your apartment or house into a Nordic log cabin.

Here’s how.

Dark Interior Walls

The most modern look in Scandinavian chic, is actually in much darker colors than was previously associated with the style.

We will look at some darker shades of gray, to contrast your rooms with other features.

The trend for dark colors, is not limited to the interiors of the home – the exteriors of Scandinavian cabins and summer houses have begun to be painted darker shades, of late.

Traditionally painted red, these summer houses are now contrasting with the greenery around with them, to a far greater degree.

But don’t worry if you don’t want a complete black out in your home. We can achieve a beautiful toned effect with some far lighter shades of gray.

It doesn’t have to be the walls that are colored muted grays, it could be a gray couch or some other piece of furniture.

Free Standing Stoves

In any traditional log cabin, you will find a wood burning stove. If you are decorating a summer house, we would expect to see this as being the focal point of your cozy, open planned room.

If this is your only or main residence, we could still instill a wood burner into your living room, or kitchen or perhaps, think about having a combined kitchen diner.

Painted Wood Paneling

The walls in any Scandinavian cabin or summer house will be wooden panels and this is an effect we can help you to achieve, even in your thoroughly modern American apartment!

Despite the wealth of color available, you still might feel tempted by the pure white of the traditional Scandinavian cottage.

…And Painted Wooden Flooring

Because your cabin or cottage is open plan in nature, you will need to denote separate areas somehow.

This is also a consideration for anyone attempting an open plan style apartment, but just with a Scandinavian twist.

Often, rugs are employed as the natural way of denoting a separate zone or space in your room.

And this is something we still recommend, maybe with a colorful rag rug, for example – or perhaps Sheepskin bringing that touch of Hygge to your summertime cabin experience.

But rugs are not the only way of bringing the changes. Simply painting a separate area of the floor a different color to the rest of it, can achieve this effect. And, you will never slip or trip on it!

The painted flooring has the added advantage of bringing a little cool to your room, if it is exceptionally hot outside and in. And remember, you can still cover it over with a rug, should you suddenly feel the temperature drop, or just appreciate the texture of some lamb’s wool between your toes!

Minimal Furnishings

To bring the summertime Scandinavian look truly to life in your apartment, we will indeed be looking towards minimalism.

This means simplicity of design, not the lack of basics though!

Traditionally, a summer cottage would be fairly small, so there wouldn’t be a lot of space for clutter.

Maybe, clever storage ideas will need to be sought out. We might look at couches or chairs with hidden areas.

Shelves In The Place Of Furniture

One way to add to the minimalism of the residential interior design is to simply remove big heavy pieces of furniture and replace them with shelving.

A shelf can take the place of a large, cumbersome cupboard or dresser, for example.

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Outdoor Bathing

The Scandinavian love of the outdoors in summer time, extends a bit further than it does for most North Americans.

In fact, an outdoor shower room is quite an unremarkable thing in some parts of Scandinavia.

If this sounds a bit much for American sensibilities, then at the very least a bathroom with a view could be an idea!

A room with a view should not be limited to the main living areas. If at all possible, look at opening your bathroom windows out to its surroundings.

Naturally, we don’t expect you to do this if your bathroom opens out onto the street! But if it is relatively private and facing the rear of your property, then what is the need to keep those heavy drapes covering all the sunlight up?

Getting as near to bathing al fresco as possible, is an essential part of Scandinavian bathing culture.

… And if you have space for it, why not consider having a sauna installed?

And if you are lucky enough to have your own summer house, then there’s nothing to stop you in making it as authentic as possible.

Summer Residential Interior Design Ideas, Scandinavian Style -03Instead of compartmentalizing your outhouse or summer house, think about making it open plan, but cozy, like the Scandinavian ones are.

To get the look spot on, you could incorporate pine boards and the very Swedish looking period 19th century kitchen table, placed in the center of the room.

This room will most likely have eating, cooking, relaxing and possibly even sleeping in it.

The true open plan cabin may only have a ladder to access the upper echelon and the beds, or maybe will have cleverly in-built bunk beds.

You won’t want to skimp on things like the beds, for all the midsummer parties you are going to throw, to celebrate the midnight sun!


White, gray, blues as well as the newer, darker color schemes of late, will be the major players that our talented residential interior design experts will be looking at.

Muted color schemes are well known as being predominantly a Scandinavian design.

In particular, the light blue shades seen in Scandinavian design are unique to the homes in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. This is a color scheme less seen in our Northern American homes, when we do minimalism, it is usually more of a white on white affair.

The Scandinavian look goes a bit further than this. A few streaks of sunlight yellow can brighten up the look of the stripped pine and the whitewashed look.

Monochrome, the darker look, or gentle pastels, are the basic palette options for your new Scandinavian design.


Materials are predominantly wood, with pine finishing the top of the list. But also, let’s look at sea grass and rattan as well as other natural finishes.

Don’t forget the hidden ingredient – Mother Nature. You can’t design the perfect Scandinavian cabin without bringing in at least one green, leafy plant!

Simple Elegance

The stripped back pines don’t have to be the whole story.

We can bring elegance to your Scandinavian summer house with polished wooden flooring and even, maybe, a chandelier.

We just won’t overdo it!

Summer Residential Interior Design Ideas, Scandinavian Style -04Don’t Forget The Garden

Finally, a word about the outside.

This is a summer cabin look, so we will of course be wanting lots of summer flowers. Rustic wooden outdoor furniture can add that final natural touch.

Don’t be obsessed with tidy planters and neatly pruned bushes.

A wild garden of summer flowers, is far more in fitting with your Scandinavian style cottage look.

And if you don’t have a garden? Don’t panic, we can help recreate one from even the smallest of window boxes, to give the right impression because residential interior design does not begin and end with the front door!