The Idealist

Get The Look: How to decorate your home for Christmas like a Scandinavian

Once the more public expressions of the holiday season are done, focus naturally turns to the home front. Decorating to welcome friends and family for seasonal festivities is hugely rewarding this time of year. And you could do worse than adopt the Danish concept of hygge as your northstar.

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is the term used to acknowledge a feeling or moment as cosy, charming or special. The idea has been impacting home design around the world for several seasons now, largely because it is so achievable.

If your furniture style is rustic, mid century modern or Scandinavian already, you have a head start on channelling hygge as a design strategy. Just add a few Nordic touches – soft blue or forest green textiles, organic greenery, lots of white and red, and plenty of candles. If you’re looking to refresh with new furniture, there are plenty of options for simple Scandinavian-inspired pieces out there.

Here’s our take on Christmas for a Scandinavian style family room – all minimalist cosy comfort for the holidays.

Serving Tables

Start with a few basic furniture pieces. This oak coffee table designed by Danish studio Says Who features classic Scandinavian lines and materials. It’s available with a white table top as well £129 A more contemporary reading might involve this round profile ash version (with a handy removable tray top). £195


This shapely saffron yellow two-seater sofa is a more European twist on the northern aesthetic (which would typically call for pale cream upholstery). The yellow adds a pop of colour that won’t jar with the rest of a pale Scandi palette – but if you’re a stickler it is available in cream as well. £450

Lighting The Decor

An all-white lighting fixture is not going to fight for attention, and this one’s marble base and adjustable matte metal shade will fit well with any Scandi theme. Use it for reading or task lighting or, augmented with candles and other glowing low light fixtures, for ambient illumination. £235

So, candles. They are an integral element of Scandinavian design, especially at holiday time when they are loaded onto Christmas trees, greenery wreaths and candlabra of all sizes. Real candles on the tree can be if-y, but go for the same effect with these sweet house fairy lights. £21

Add Christmas Touches

We also love this black iron reindeer holder for pillar candles in red or white. £20 And this glass holder for tealights.

Cuddle Up

For ultimate hygge cosiness, stock your family room with throw blankets and cushions in soft colours and cushy fabrics. A monochromatic scheme featuring black, white, grey is a no-brainer, but subtle graphic patterns, as in this lambswool beauty from Loaf, or this iconic red and white reindeer blanket, will fit the bill also. £155/£55

Add a wool blend footstool for shopping-weary legs, a clutch of super soft textured cushions and a lambskin or two for the ultimate Scandinavian chalet fantasy. £102/£23/£50

Final Touches

Finally, seasonal decorations – we’ve saved the best for last. Scandinavian decorations tend to be hand-made from natural, even humble, materials – birch and balsa woods, salt dough, straw – and often feature woodland references. It’s the antithesis of the bling and sparkle that is so abundant everywhere you look at this time of year. Check out these wool-wrapped baubles for a pinch of colour from Habitat. £10-16

Or pile your tree, mantlepiece and tabletops with these charming baubles from John Lewis’ Into the Woods collection –birds, mushrooms, moss – mixed in with homemade ornaments and the living greenery of pine or spruce boughs, holly or cedar. £4-10

Your Christmas can and should be a hygge Christmas – it’s a reminder of the good things in life, like friends, warmth, light, nature and comfort, that we all deserve year-round.

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All photos courtesy of respective brands.

  • Joan is an interior design project planner and freelance writer from Boston Massachusetts who lives with her husband and two bulldog terriers outside Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

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