scandinavian dining room ideas

Simple And Minimalist: 5 Scandinavian Dining Room Ideas

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Scandinavian style dining room, a distinctive style marked by minimalism and functionality, emerged from the Nordic regions. Recognized worldwide for its understated elegance and simplistic beauty, it responds to the Nordic environment - long winter months and light-filled summers.   

Incorporating the principles and ideas of Scandinavian style into your dining room makes it more aesthetically pleasing. It creates a place that fosters special gatherings of guests, encourages conversation, and creates lasting memories. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the best Scandinavian-style dining room ideas  

1. Furniture Selection   

In Scandinavian design, the selection of dining room furniture centers on simplicity, functionality, and minimalism. Essential furniture items in a Scandinavian dining room include a wooden dining table and molded chairs, which should have clean lines and be free from excessive ornamentation.   

Light-colored woods, such as pine, beech, and ash, are preferred for furniture. These materials not only reflect the Nordic love for nature but also help to enhance the brightness of the room. Additionally, they offer durability, ensuring your dining room is stylish and long-lasting.   


Beyond the wooden dining table and chairs, it may be necessary to include additional pieces of furniture, such as sideboards, shelves, or buffets. These should also reflect the principles of Scandinavian design—they should be sleek, minimalistic, and highly functional, offering additional storage without contributing to clutter.   

Different furniture combinations can achieve a timeless design in the dining room. For example, a white table can be combined with black chairs or a set of wooden chairs. The use of natural wood table, bench seating, and wooden chairs is the perfect reflection of a Scandinavian style dining room.   

2. The Importance Of Light   

In Scandinavian inspired dining rooms, light holds a position of paramount importance. Given the long, dark winters typical of Nordic countries, there is a strong emphasis on maximizing natural light. This is achieved through various means, including keeping spaces uncluttered and using reflective surfaces such as black and white art on walls to make the room bright. Additionally, you can have large dining room windows that will ensure the dining room looks bright.  

For instance, dining spaces should be kept as open as possible to allow light to flow freely. Windows should be devoid of heavy curtains or blinds, and mirrors can be strategically placed to reflect and amplify the light. This approach brings a sense of spaciousness and freshness to the dining area.   

However, during the darker months, it becomes necessary to incorporate artificial lighting into your dining room. A mix of overhead fixtures, pendant lights, floor lamps, and table lamps is recommended to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. The goal is to create the soft, bright light of summer evenings, contributing to the overall comfort and appeal of the dining room.   

3. Choosing The Right Colors   

Choosing the suitable color schemes is integral to achieving a Scandinavian style dining room. The traditional Scandinavian color scheme is dominated by neutral and light colors, such as white walls, as they enhance the dining room's sense of light and space.   

These colors, which include shades of white, gray, and blue, help to reflect natural light, making the dining room appear brighter and more spacious. These hues for your dining room walls, furniture, and decor will ensure a cohesive and visually pleasing aesthetic.   

However, the Scandinavian dining room color palette is more than just neutrals. Pops of color can be introduced through accessories and decor items.   

For instance, bright pieces of art on a white wall, or brightly colored cushions on a gray sofa, can add interest and personality to the room. The key is to balance neutral and accent colors to create a serene atmosphere in the dining area.   

4. Textiles And Materials   

The natural environment heavily influences materials and textiles in Scandinavian dining room design. Commonly used materials include dark wood, wool, and leather. These natural materials bring warmth and texture to the dining room, making it more inviting. You should have a wooden table, dining chairs, dining table, and mixed leather seats for a Nordic dining room.  

Textiles are also crucial for a warm and cozy dining room, a concept the Danes call 'hygge.' Soft rugs, plush throws, and cushioned seating can make the dining space more comfortable and inviting.   

Incorporating these elements requires a careful balance. Too many textiles can make the dining area feel cluttered, while too few can make it feel cold and impersonal. The goal is to create a sense of 'hygge' - a balance of comfort and minimalism that makes the dining room feel like home.   

5. Accessories And Decor   

Scandinavian dining rooms promote 'less is more' regarding decor and accessories. Instead of filling the dining room with ornate objects, the focus is choosing simple, functional items that contribute to the overall aesthetic.   

Including potted plants and other natural elements is a crucial characteristic of Scandinavian dining rooms. Green plants can add a splash of color and calm to the dining room. Other accessories, such as simple artwork, can add personal touches without overwhelming the dining area.   

It's important to remember that in the Scandinavian style, every item in the dining room should have a purpose. Decorative items are kept to a minimum to avoid clutter; where they are included, they should enhance, not detract from, the dining experience.   

Tips And Tricks For Maintaining A Scandinavian Dining Room   

 Creating and maintaining Scandinavian dining rooms is more than just the initial design process. It also involves a sustained effort to preserve this style's minimalist charm and functionality. Here are some tips to try:   

  • Keeping Clutter To A Minimum   

Scandinavian dining rooms are characterized by their minimalist and clutter-free approach. This design principle extends to maintaining these spaces as well. The goal is to ensure that each item in your dining room has a purpose. This is not just about aesthetics; it's about embracing a philosophy that promotes simplicity and functionality.   

Start by decluttering your dining table and surrounding areas. Avoid the temptation to add unnecessary decorative items or leave items lying around that do not contribute to the functionality or aesthetics of your space.   

Items on the dining table should be limited to essential tableware and simple decor pieces that reflect the Scandinavian style, such as a candle or a small plant. Remember, the idea is to create an open, breathable space that exudes tranquility and organization.   

  •  Regular Maintenance And Cleaning   

A Nordic dining room shines in its cleanliness and neatness. To uphold these aspects, regular maintenance and cleaning are essential. Ensure that your dining room is always clean, not just before and after meals. Wipe your dining table regularly to keep it dust-free and shining. Promptly clean up any spills to avoid stains and keep your dining room looking fresh and new.   

Additionally, maintain your furniture and fixtures according to the material specifications. For instance, wood, commonly used in Scandinavian furnishings, may require occasional polishing to maintain its luster. Similarly, regularly clean your lighting fixtures and windows to allow maximum natural light, a key characteristic of Scandinavian design.   

  •  Seasonal Changes And Adaptations   

One of the unique aspects of Scandinavian design is its adaptability to seasons. Even though the base palette remains neutral, you can add color accents reflecting different seasons. For instance, incorporate warmer textures and colors in your dining room during the cooler months, like woolen throws on the dining chairs or autumn-themed table mats. Conversely, opt for lighter, more fabulous shades for table linens or curtains during warmer months.   

It is essential, however, to remember that any seasonal addition must still reflect the minimalist aesthetic of the Scandinavian style. For example, consider a simple potted plant or a vase with a few fresh, seasonal flowers rather than a large, bright centerpiece on your dining table for summer.   

Through these tips and tricks, you can maintain the essence of Scandinavian dining space—clean, minimal, functional, warm, and welcoming. It is about creating a balance and harmony between design and functionality, embodying the quintessential Scandinavian lifestyle in your dining room.   


Creating a modern Scandinavian dining room design involves a thoughtful blend of minimalist design styles, functionality, art, and natural elements. Emphasizing light, choosing the right wall colors, selecting simple yet functional furniture, and using natural wood and textiles, art, and minimalistic wall decor can make this transformation possible.  

However, it's essential to remember that the heart of this design philosophy is simplicity and functionality without compromising on beauty. Let your dining room reflect these core principles, and don't be afraid to infuse your personal touches with the Scandinavian dining room ideas. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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