17 Scandinavian Christmas decor ideas to hygge your home for the holidays

Scandinavian decor is the one at Christmas. Kick off the festivities with these iconic Nordic looks

Scandinavian Christmas table setting with pink and blue color scheme, kraft crackers, 3 glass fluted pendants, artwork on a shelf, natural table runner, gold cutlery, pink charger plates
(Image credit: Industville)

If your go-to festive style is pared-back but aesthetically beautiful, it's no surprise that Scandinavian Christmas decor ideas will be your main source of inspiration. After all, no one decorates for winter like the Nordics and it's honestly one of our favorite way to deck the halls too. 

It’s cold outside; the fire is going; mulled wine is on the stove and you can pretend for just a second you are actually living in that Norwegian or Swedish cottage of your Pinterest dreams. Combining custom-made decs with shop-bought Christmas decor additions is often the way to create a display that sleighs on all levels. So to keep your dose of hygge high, we've rounded up the most stunning Christmas decoration ideas that bring all of the best Scandi-style vibes to your space, whether you're working with a small rental or sprucing up your family home.

1. Create a cozy and welcoming entryway

Christmas hallway/entry way with Noel hanging sign, bench with sheepskin, baskets and presents, Christmas cushion, box with huge pine cones, wooden beaded garland, rug

(Image credit: Urbanology Design/Ralph Lauer)

Whether you're zhuzhing up a rental or forever home, your hallway is the first space that you can make a real difference to. And, as the first place guests see when they walk through, you'll want to make a good impression that brings together all the festive feels this holiday. Cute festive signage over a wooden bench will combine function and cool Christmas style. Display wrapped gifts, choosing black or even newspaper wrap, and enjoy all the Scandi vibes. 

A gallery wall made up of various framed art prints and posters on wall above small round dining table

(Image credit: Desenio)

While most of us focus on decorating our trees this festive season, sometimes are walls can go neglected especially in a dining room, Instead, why not decorate with a simple gallery wall? Switch up your art to seasonal posters and bring the magic of the holidays to your home with simple Nordic-style prints in beautiful neutral colors.

3. Elevate your dining room with a Scandi scene

A grey and blue Christmas-themed dining area with printed mountain motif wallpaper, star decor and geometric plastic chairs

(Image credit: Homesense)

The holiday season is the best opportunity for loved ones to call by and visit your home, but if you have a studio apartment or open-plan lounge, these living and eating spaces can blend into each other.

However, there are ways that you can transform a room and help to zone areas in your humble abode. If you're looking for small apartment Christmas decor, create a designated eating area with wallpaper.

This mountain-like motif will make you and guests feel like you're on cloud nine while you tuck into turkey and all the trimmings. In a snug space, you don't want heavy furniture. So these lightweight, geometric chairs are just the ticket.

4. Go for a modern Christmas tree alternative

A wooden artificial Christmas tree decorated with baubles

(Image credit: Habitat)

Dreaming of a minimalist, Scandi decor? Then this thoroughly modern, wooden alternative Christmas tree was made for you.

What's more, with no pine needles to hoover up, you'll only have to wipe it clean with a damp cloth to keep it looking dapper. We love how the Nordic theme has been continued with the brown wrapping paper and faux fur throw thrown into the mix.

5. Place a small tree on the table 

Christmas dining space with small tree on table, white and wooden chairs, side table with festive decor, advent calendar on the wall

(Image credit: Urbanology Design/Ralph Lauer)

Scandinavian Christmas decor style means pared-back accessories and you can't get much more Nordic than a simple tree on the table. Obviously, size is key here and you could use a branch in a vase as an alternative to hang small decorations from it instead. 

6. Take five with a cozy window seat

Christmas decor in window seat with Christmas wreath on the wall, tree in foreground, faux fur cushions and throws, presents, baubles, hurricane lamp

(Image credit: The White Company)

As much as the holiday season means we get to spend time with family, it's still important to make space for me-time. Plus it makes a great excuse to decorate your window seating.

Create an immersive and multi-sensory scheme that will feel like a total cocoon when it's cold outside. Add throws, candles, pillows, and perhaps a cinnamon latte before using this spot to perfect your gift list or make a start on wrapping...

7. Switch out candles for LED lights  

A hallway with wooden floorboards, white painted Staircase with candle lighting in hurricane vases and greenery on banister

(Image credit: Neptune)

And since having constantly lit candles dotted around your house probably isn’t very realistic, recreate that cozy glow with plenty of artificial lights. Obviously the best fairy lights are a given in chilly season, but consider picking up some LED candles (Amazon do some really realistic wax ones) that are also perfect for recreating candlelight. We love how candles look in hurricane vases as a source of staircase lighting

Becky Martin, interior design leader at Ikea says how lighting is so important to create an authentic Scandi Christmas setting. "What we are after is a cozy and peaceful setting." Says Martin. "The best way of achieving this is by adjusting the room lighting." 

8. Keep your tree super simple

A Christmas-themed dining room with light wood dining chairs, table dressed with light tablelinen, with real Christmas tree decorated with an assortment of baubles

(Image credit: Garden trading)

If you can’t live without a real fir, just keep your Christmas tree decorating to a minimum. We aren’t dismissing your pink tinsel and techno-colored ornaments, but if you want all the Scandi vibes, leave those in the basement this season. 

Keep your color scheme simple and neutral and choose three or four bauble designs to decorate with.

9. Keep things simple with a string of lights

A bedroom with white shiplap decor, gray bedding, small round side table, green leaf bunting and string of fairy lights

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

White shiplap walls, flannel bedding, and simple string lights can be all you need to bring a Christmas glow to a Scandi-style bedroom. Add in a touch of greenery to soften the look and enhance those au-natural vibes for the perfect finish.

10. Vary your mantel decor

Christmas living room with tree, presents, mantel with foliage and wreath, stockings, open fire, baskets with logs, modern feel

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop/Chad Mellon)

Use both corners of your mantel for festive decor. We love how Lindye Galloway has used stockings at one end and beaded garlands at the other. It makes for a more interesting visual display and showcases Scandinavian Christmas decor well.   

11. Double up on your trees

A living room with two Christmas trees and various books on shelves

(Image credit: The White Company)

Forest feels and Scandi decor go hand in hand. So why have one tree when you can have two? This look is so cute with the larger decorated tree as the focus and then the smaller, simple tree in the window for a cocooning and comforting aesthetic.

12. Add in a grounding green accent

Scandinavian Christmas decor table ideas, green baubles, green table runners, cream table cloth, candle wreath, fruit, cake, white bowls, grey plates

(Image credit: House of Dome)

Transform your table into a Scandinavian masterpiece, Jane Nicholson, co-founder of House of Dome creates a stunning tablescape that echoes the Nordic theme like a dream. "This Christmas we are styling our festive table with a beautiful neutral linen tablecloth paired with festive green runners, tablemats and napkins." Says Nicholson. "Continue the green theme by introducing foliage to create a beautiful natural table garland — a simple and environmentally friendly way to add texture to your table."

Nicholson recommends keeping an eye out for foliage also to create a unique display that won't cost the earth. "Go foraging in your garden or local hedgerows for holly, ivy, fir branches, ferns and winter berries and you might like to introduce fragrance with some fresh eucalyptus from your florist, together with stems of rosemary."

Noting how investing in some quality basics will see you tablescaping beautifully way beyond the holidays. "Using a neutral tablecloth base, you can introduce seasonal theming by introducing table runners, placemats and napkins in different shades," adds Nicholson.

13. Go high with your mantel decor 

Christmas living room with fir tree on the mantel, mirror, blue vases, ornaments, two LED stars, open fire, grey contemporary armchair with pink blanket

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Create impact with tall stems of fir pine in vases on your mantel, it's a simple yet effective display that brings the outside in. Team it with festive ornaments and a couple of different-sized LED stars. You could even hang a couple of small ornaments from the fir too, so long as they are not too heavy. 

14. Team pastel shades with kraft and luxe gold

Christmas table setting with pastel pink and blue color scheme, kraft crackers, gold cutlery, clear glass pendant lights

(Image credit: Industville)

If classic Christmas color schemes aren't for you, consider a more contemporary look with pastel pink and baby blue. For an extra festive flourish use gold cutlery and Kraft crackers, and if you like a challenge learn how to turn your napkins into a tree shape! 

16. Keep it natural with all wood

Christmas table setting with wooden candles, wooden panelling on walls and ceiling, vintage rug, wood and off white chairs, lanterns, artwork

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop/Chad Mellon)

Wood features heavily in Scandinavian decor, so embrace it even more at Christmastime. Martin notes how including natural elements like wood or plant life can pull a scheme together but that you should still aim for simplicity. "We must not overload our living space." The wood paneling on the walls and ceiling give a winter cabin feel which carries through onto the table setting where candlesticks and grazing boards add depth. Decorate with neutral napkins and off-white blankets for the full Scandi effect. 

17. Be iconic with colorful elements

red and white Scandi table with floral runner, small tree, gifts and tea lights

(Image credit: Ikea)

A Scandinavian Christmas is all about pared-back colors with pops of red. Red and white are often seen in Scand decor, making us think of hand-crafted designs, and classic Christmas looks. "What we are looking for is the polar opposite of the traditional Christmas style, with that huge explosion of colors, in favor of a more northern style," says Martin, adding how letting a simple color palette take center stage is essential for the perfect Scandi finish. "Look for neutral tones, such as white and earthy colors. You can also add small blue or red flourishes, a very typical combination of traditional Swedish Christmas decor."

So be playful with color to for a brighter take on your holiday decor and your home is sure to bring all the merry vibes.

How can I decorate my tree in Scandinavian style?

"If your Christmas tree is a traditional fir, we recommend that you use white, red or blue Christmas ornaments. Remember to use your reds and blues sparingly. White ornaments are really easy to find and will give your tree a winter look, which is just what we're looking for. And try not to overdo it," says Martin.

"As a final touch, you can hang a garland of warm white Christmas lights and, if possible, use small LEDs for a more classy look. In fact, you can always choose a much more minimalist look by decorating with lights alone."

How can you wrap gifts for a Scandi aesthetic?

The more rustic and simple the better, lean in to simple techniques and wrapping materials. "Instead of typical wrapping paper with loud, multicolored designs, the Nordics (or at least those that decorate in the traditional style) wrap their gifts with a much more 'natural' look and with a more homemade finish," adds Martin.

"If you like this idea, it's as easy as wrapping your Christmas gifts with brown paper, such as craft paper, perhaps adding a nice gift tape (to add a splash of color) and a gift tag to include the name of the person the gift is for. Arrange them in a decorative way or use this idea to scatter the gifts under the tree."

"For another idea, what about replacing traditional wrapping paper with wrapping cloth? It's really easy to use, especially for those who don't want to waste much time wrapping presents or don't have the knack for it. Gift bags like these allow you to decorate presents in a different, Nordic and highly original way. As a final touch, why not wrap some twigs around the present with a bit of string?"

Simple, stylish and super festive, a Scandi decor scheme at Christmas is always the one.

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride. 

With contributions from