What Does Nordic Furniture Mean?

Nordic Furniture

The term Nordic furniture is often tossed around during discussions of interior design, and it tends to be used interchangeably with the term Scandinavian design. What does Nordic furniture mean, and how does it relate to Scandinavian design?

What is Nordic Furniture?

Nordic furniture is another term for Scandinavian-style furniture. Scandinavia is made up of five different European countries that are often referred to as Nordic countries: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Norway. It is a design that has a focus on minimalism and clean, simple lines.

It is a style that has an aesthetic appeal, particularly due to its minimalism.


The Scandinavian design originated in the 19th century, during the modernism movement, which it was inspired by. The goal of the modernism movement was to produce designs that could be enjoyed by everyone that focused on minimalism and functionality. These were two characteristics that were very important in Nordic countries during the time because of the social changes in Europe that occurred after the first world war.

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The term Scandinavian design wasn’t actually used until the 1950s, and it came from a design show that conducted travels around Canada and the United States for a few years. There was a huge burst in popularity of Scandinavian design from the 1930s through the 1970s, where Scandinavian designers were creating unique designs to specifically work within Scandinavian homes.

The popularity of this type of design expanded beyond Scandinavian countries, and it today remains one of the most popular styles of design.


There are various different characteristics that are associated with the Scandinavian style of furniture.


There is a strong emphasis on neutral colors in the Scandinavian style, predominantly white and different shades of beige. Scandinavian winters are long and dark, so the lighter-colored walls and furniture can help brighten up a room. Vibrant colors were typically added with the addition of couch cushions, rugs, and accessories.

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The lighter wood that Nordic furniture is crafted from allows it to be versatile so that it does not clash with different colors.


One of the key materials that were traditionally found in Scandinavian furniture was wood because it was the most sustainable and durable option at the time. Wood still is the most commonly used material within the design, and lighter woods like ash and oak are typically used.

However, this style is also welcomed in newer materials, like stone, leather, fiberglass, and metals, to mix a traditional look with a modern look. This look can be achieved by using accessories made from newer materials or incorporating furniture with a mix of wood and synthetic materials.

Minimalistic and Functional

Furniture in the Scandinavian style is meant to be functional and simple. During the origination of this style, Scandinavian homes were designed to be much smaller than they are now, so every piece of furniture that had a place in the home had to serve a purpose. Some pieces of furniture serve more than one purpose, like a bed with drawers along the frame to add storage space.

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The furniture in this style is meant to be simple, without frills, with soft, versatile colors. Scandinavian-style furniture is meant to be versatile so that it can blend in with other color schemes and decorative styles. It’s one of the characteristics that has made Nordic furniture so popular.


Nordic furniture is meant to be comfortable. Nordic countries go through long, dark winters, so their furniture is one of the routes they use to promote comfort and warmth within their homes. The material of cushions of the furniture is soft and cozy, and they are often paired with other textiles, like wool blankets or fluffy couch pillows.

Nordic furniture has had a place in interior design for a very long time, and it is easily recognizable by its clean, minimalistic look.

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