Scandinavian Architecture & Modern Homes: The Ultimate Guide

Updated April 10, 2019

Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

Venturing across oceans, searching amongst mountains, and surveying cities around the world, you’d be hard-pressed to find homes that embrace modernism, minimalism, and functionality more than those of Scandinavian architecture.

These homes are breathtakingly simple, yet extremely livable. And it’s no secret that here at Sustainable 9, some of our homes have definitely been influenced by Scandinavian architecture & design elements.

But to boil-down Scandinavian design to simply the ‘minimalism’ buzzword we hear so often today would be deceiving. These crisp, smooth homes are much more than that. Today, we’ll talk about the history of Scandinavian homes, their exterior design elements, and how to properly decorate the interior of one of these homes.


Allow your creativity to flow and work alongside our team of talented and experienced designers who are determined to create the best modern and sustainable home for your budget.

What Is Scandinavian Architecture?

Floating Steel Staircase in Scandinavian Modern Rowhomes; scandinavian architecture

Scandinavian architecture uses Scandinavian design elements such as merging the structure with the surrounding environment, integration of wood and natural materials, natural light, clean lines, neutral colors, and more. The overarching theme of Scandinavian architecture is minimalistic and simplistic design.

Merging Scandinavian Architecture With Your Surroundings

Scandinavian countries consist of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (and depending on who you talk to, Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and the Aland Islands). These countries all have one thing in common: long, dark winters and mild, temperate springs and bright, sunny summers.

At times, the conditions can get quite harsh — particularly in the winter. When it comes to thriving in chilly temperatures and gusty winds, then you have to set aside elaborate design elements and instead go with clean lines and sturdy structural foundations.

Scandanavians are in-tune with their natural surroundings, and it shows in their home designs. If you spent a day searching the Scandinavian countries for home inspiration, you’d have a hard time finding a home that didn’t fit perfectly with the environment around the property.

More home builders and designers could learn a thing or two from Scandinavian architecture and how to expertly mold design with nature.

Scandinavian Exterior Design Elements

We’ve already talked about a few of the design features you’ll see with these homes, but here is a full list:

  • Merging the structure with the surrounding environment
  • Designing with simplicity in mind
  • Use of natural light
  • Integration of natural materials
  • Incorporation of functionality and comfort

Looking at these elements, notice how each feature has a distinct purpose. Because of the respect Scandinavians have for nature, they make sure that they don’t take anything away from their gorgeous lands and surroundings by creating gaudy, distracting homes. Making their homes simple in design helps with this.

Large windows are used to incorporate a large amount of light Scandinavian countries get in the summer, and they use natural materials like wood — once again to help their structures blend into the environment.

Last, to combat those long winters, the homes need to be functional and comfortable for when it’s too cold to go outside.

Let’s look at some examples of some Scandinavian homes using these different elements.

modern home cabin looking home designed with Scandinavian architecture
Courtesy of Design Boom

Despite being surrounded by snow, this home still possesses a warm and inviting feeling. In the winter, it is a place of sanctuary. In the summer, it will mesh perfectly with the surrounding forest. The light wood mixed with the black makes for a gorgeous combination.

black home designed with scandinavian architecture
Courtesy of Honka

With an inversed color scheme of the previous home, this property still incorporates the simplicity of the Scandinavian home style, while still looking modern and functional.

This home perfectly incorporates the use of natural light into the home. Despite this picture being taken at night, it’s not hard to imagine the afternoon sun lighting up this home with little help from interior lighting.

Interior Design Elements

What you see on the outside is very similar to what you’ll see on the inside of a Scandinavian home. Modern, simple, natural shapes, and the use of natural elements.

A great way to think of the interior of these homes is to imagine a space where you would feel stress-free — in other words — decluttered. Less is always more when it comes to these homes.

Also, just like with the exterior using straight, crisp lines, you’ll see the same inside.

Here is an example of a Sustainable 9 home that uses some Scandinavian influence. Notice the natural elements, the lines, and the simple Minnesota modern design of the space.

scandinavian kitchen with brown cabinets

According to Decor Mag, here are the other interior design elements you’ll find in a Scandanvanivan home:

  • Warm textiles
  • Simple decorative accents
  • Wood combined with metal finishes
  • Plants and fresh flowers
  • Neutral colors
  • Clutter-free
  • Limited window treatments
  • Appropriate lighting
  • Form and functionality throughout

Take a look at some of these other interiors, courtesy of some of the best Scandinavian architecture companies in the world, and see which design elements you can spot.

office with lots of wood designed with scandinavian architecture
Courtesy of Wienberg Arkitekter

Another Scandinavian interior that we designed for a client here at Sustainable 9:

Scandinavian Designs – A Home For All Seasons

Whether you’re building a home from scratch or are looking for a remodel, taking some of the elements that Scandinavian homes have perfected is definitely not a bad idea. A hot trend in the home industry right now is functionality, and few do it better than these Northern European homes. You simply can’t go wrong with embracing Scandinavian architecture in your home.

Contact Sustainable 9 For Your Scandinavian Design Projects!

Sustainable 9 is a premier modern builder in the Minnesota metro area. If you’re interested in learning more about a Scandinavian-designed home, reach out to us. We won’t just design a simple modern home. We’ll customize the design so that the final product fully exemplifies who you are and what you want out of the home. Check out our recently completed projects for some more inspiration!


A custom-built home means you don’t have to sacrifice the details that make your home one-of-a-kind. View our award-winning work and get inspired.

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Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

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1 year ago

Thank you for writing this amazing article! I am an architectural and civil engineering student and I am extremely fascinated with Scandinavian architecture and design! I am actually using your information and pictures as inspirations for my designs for class projects!


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