If your internet search history full of Scandinavian Christmas decor ideas – we're not going to judge. Because no one decorates for winter like the Nordics and it's our favorite way to deck our halls.
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.
So to keep your dose of hygge high, we have rounded up the loveliest Christmas decoration ideas to bring some of that Scandi-style into your home, from easy paper decs, to minimalist (but still rustic) tree decorating ideas...
The plus side of Scandi Christmas decorating is that it'll bring a minimalist chic vibe to your living spaces and it's heavily based on foraging and sourcing wooden ornaments, pine cones and cozy textures. Any excuse for a brisk walk in the park or forest to warm the cockles. And, if you have a dog, they're sure to be happy with the extra walks.
Scandinavian Christmas decor ideas
'Christmas lights play an important role in Nordic Christmas decoration. You need to bear in mind that it is better for the lights to be a single color and, if possible, they should be white or warm white, rather than some other color.' says Becky Martin, interior design leader, IKEA UK & Ireland (opens in new tab).
'Try to ensure that the lights give off a soft twinkle, so that they fill the living room with a touch of magic. As such, the bulbs shouldn't be too large or give off overly bright light that could overexpose the room lighting. This is ideal, because as well as getting a stunningly beautiful effect, you won't have to spend a fortune on Christmas lighting.'
1. Add foliage above your mantelpiece
You don't necessarily need to have chestnuts roasting on an open-fire to appreciate your fireplace. Whether you just want to admire the roaring embers, or this spot is for decoration only, make it look extra-pretty this party season by dressing it with some frost-effect foliage.
You can either go down to the woods for some wild greenery or seek faux, shop-bought, Christmas mantel decor. We love the contrast of the forest green garland against the warm wall paneling and button-backed nutty brown leather sofa.
2. Style like a Scandi with layered bedding and light wood
Introducing Scandinavian Christmas decorating ideas into your sleep space is easier than you think. You might actually find have some Nordic furniture in your scheme, it just needs to be styled for the season.
Should you find your walls covered in shiplap decor already – you're off to a great start. Got light wood furniture? Great choice. Now, one way to give your bedding that Scandi luxe look is to layer. For a cozy Christmas bedroom, get (nearly) all of your duvets, throws, cushions and chunky knits out of the airing cupboard and curate a stylish stack of cotton, linen and faux fur.
3. Create a rustic Scandinavian scheme
'Love the rustic Christmas decor look? Our festive Nordic trend might just be the style for you. Pair natural green and brown elements with bright reds, golds and whites, then use a cozy fabric sofa, like the Missouri to complete the look.' says Suzy McMahon, buying director, Sofology (opens in new tab).
4. Tuck into a Scandi tablescape
This twinkling Christmas color scheme of silvers, icy blues and frosted white and grey foundations has all the magic of a winter wonderland and if you close your eyes – you can almost imagine you're in Lapland.
'If you dream of mountain lodges, snowy escapes or Scandi simplicity, this cool and calm frosted scheme will have you feeling right at home.' says Jason Bilings-Cray, Partner and buyer, John Lewis & Partners (opens in new tab).
Make sure you're guest-ready with our guide to the best dining tables that are large enough to have all the family around the food.
5. Add a themed gallery wall
While most of us focus on decorating our trees this festive season, sometimes are walls can go neglected. 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.
Or, frame greetings cards from family and friends for a quirky Christmas card decoration idea?
6. Elevate your dining room with a Scandi scene
Christmas is a lovely 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.
7. Go for a modern Christmas tree alternative
Dreaming of a minimalist, Scandi decor? Then this thoroughly modern, wooden alternative Christmas tree was made for you.
With a sturdy, space-saving triangle frame standing 5ft tall, this Scandinavian decorating idea from Habitat (opens in new tab) is so simple and elegant. Handcrafted in solid wood with an attractive grain, it's fitted with black, powder-coated rods for decorations or cards. Just keep it simple and uncluttered for a clean and contemporary look.
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.
8. Embrace textural and tonal variations
If you're blowing hot and cold when it comes to your living room Christmas decorating ideas – let us help you. Warm up a cool grey Scandinavian living room, with a warm wood-burning stove fireplace and log storage for the perfect balance.
Here, other examples of textural contrast include the off-white shiplap wall decor which stands adjacent to exposed brick wall in interior harmony. And, this Garda Medium Sofa Chaise - Left Hand by Next (opens in new tab) helps to zone an intimate family area in this large lounge space – however most of the best grey sofas will function in a similar way.
9. Create an inviting hallway
Whether you're zhuzhing up a rental or you own your property – your hallway is the first proper 'room' that you can make a real difference to. And, as your guests walk through your entryway, you'll want to make a really good impression.
Create a welcoming atmosphere and aesthetic with organically-derived materials and homely homewares. While many of us won't have a grand entrance space to display a second Christmas tree, you can pop a miniature fir in a woven basket instead.
And remember to use up any dead space effectively by storing a bench or occasional chair in this area. Trust us, it'll come in handy for place to pop your shoes on or storage presents when the under-the-tree space runs out. But be sure not to overload the space – that's one of the biggest Christmas decorating mistakes you can make.
10. Take five with a cozy window seat
As much as the holiday season means we get to spend time with family, it's important that we don't experience burnout in the lead-up to Christmas. Making time for some me-time is so important for our physical and mental health and is the perfect excuse for decorating your window seating.
Relish redecorating this space with soft floral designs in muted colorways. Add tactile touches to create an immersive and multi-sensory scheme that you can see, feel and smell. For example, if you have the space, a small side table with pot pourri or one of the best candles will do wonders.
It's the perfect spot to take five with a Christmas-themed beverage, get to work creating that Christmas card list, make a start on gift-wrapping, or spend some time learning a new hobby. And, if you have a ledge near the casement, a brilliant place to add ornaments. No ledge? No problem. Use the panes as a canvas for Christmas window decorating ideas.
11. Bring some festive Scandi vibes with a ton of texture
A really easy way to get a Scandi look is by adding a load of texture, easily done at this time of year really. Take inspiration from this living room by Neptune (opens in new tab) and pull out the (faux) pelts, pile up the chunky blankets and stack up the logs. The more texture the better we say.
Give your room a festive feel with candles, displays of baubles, evergreen sprigs on every surface and of course a Scandi-approved tree.
12. Light plenty of candles
If there isn’t an abundance of candles and warm, diffused Christmas lighting dotted around, can you even call it Scandi? The White Company (opens in new tab) is of course smashing the holiday candles this year, and while the classic Winter (opens in new tab) will always have a place in our hearts, we are also loving the comforting, earthy smell of Highland Escape (opens in new tab).
13. Switch out candles for LED lights
And since having constantly lit candles dotted around your house probably isn’t very realistic, recreate that cosy glow with plenty of artificial lights. Obviously the best fairy lights are a given at Christmas, but also pick up some LED candles (Amazon (opens in new tab) 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.
14. DIY a decorated ladder
As much as we love the smell of a real Christmas tree, this year we are really feeling the alternative options. This simplistic white-washed ladder has been decorated with an array of baubles and we love the understated (but of course still very festive) look.
It's a gorgeous DIY Christmas decoration that really doesn't take much time, money or effort.
15. Or just keep your tree super simple
If you simply 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 loft this Christmas.
Keep your color scheme simple and neutral and choose three or four bauble designs to decorate with.
16. Evergreen. Literally. Everywhere
We are talking wreaths, garlands and trees – as soon your house starts to resemble Narnia you are about halfway there. Scandi Christmas decorations are all about bringing the outside in, especially at this time of year. And if you can’t make it, fake it with our pick of the best artificial Christmas trees.
17. Hang things in abundance
Forget hanging stuff off the tree; in every Pinterest (opens in new tab) image of Scandi Christmas decorations there is something beautiful hanging from the ceiling.
If you are lucky enough to have beams in your house, try hanging decorations and bits of foliage from it to re-create this look.
18. Bring some Scandi decs to the bedroom
If you can’t manage hanging a forest from your ceiling, try wrapping some evergreen around you headboard instead for a similar, more low maintenance effect. We'd go fake though – pine needles in your bed = ouch! Check out our picks of the best Christmas garlands for more inspiration.
19. Keep things simple with a string of lights
White shiplap walls, slubby bedding and a simple string of fairy lights – the beginner's pack to creating a festive Scandi bedroom. Add in a touch of greenery for contrast and you are done. Simple.
20. Check out Ikea
You can get creative with paper and scissors to make your own paper stars or you could definitely cheat with these decorations from Swedish store, Ikea (opens in new tab) . They come in the very Scandi-friendly shades of white and red so you can't really go wrong...
21. Go traditional Scandi
So far we have been all about the neutral Scandi Christmas decorations but you could try out a more traditional Nordic look and introduce some color (when we say color we do basically mean red).
These gorgeous hand-embroidered decorations are from Jan Constantine (opens in new tab) but Ikea (opens in new tab) are also great for more traditional decorations. Alternatively, get crafty and make your own.
22. Add festive feels to furniture
String ivy over the tops of wardrobes, drape boughs of evergreen along a dresser, tie holly to kitchen shelves.
As we have said many a time, Scandi Christmas decorations are so much about making use of natural materials, so just adding a few touches of evergreen plus some fairy lights and a scattering of Christmas ornaments to bigger pieces of furniture and (i.e. kitchen storage) will give your home a rustic, festive feel.
23. Give your Christmas table setting a Scandi touch
We know we have gone on a lot about bringing the outside in, but it really is such an effective, inexpensive way to make a space feel more festive.
Try strewing your Christmas table setting with some branches, stems of eucalyptus, pine cones and even dried fruit and cinnamon sticks for an on-trend Nordic look.
24. Add in some warmer hues
Scandi Christmas decorations don't have to all be about cool wintery tones and monochrome color schemes. Try adding in some warmer colors – just something as simple as switching up your cushions and throws could add a load of cosy vibes to your living room.
25. DIY paper decorations for a rustic look
Easiest, Scandi Christmas decorations out there. You know how it goes. Get your piece of paper, fold it up and just get chopping into it. Ok, maybe it's a bit more technical than that, here are some steps:
- Start with a square piece of paper, fold it in half diagonally and then fold it in half again to create a smaller triangle.
- Fold the triangle into three. You can do this by taking one corner of the triangle and fold it into the middle, then take the other corner and fold it over the top.
- Cut the top off at an angle.
- Chop into it to create the shapes in your decoration. Use scissors to cut out whatever shapes you fancy.
- Gently open it out and just wait for the ooooh and ahhhhs.
- Alas the beautiful decorations you see above, are not hand made by the Real Homes team (the ones we just made with Post-It notes are far less intricate), but you can cheat and buy them online – no judgment here.
26. Double up on your trees
Yep here we are again banging on about greenery, but it really is the key to that Scandi feel at Christmas. 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 – it creates quite a cocooning and comforting, forest feel.
If this interior style tip feels a little intimidating, just treat your firs as you would any other plant. The benefits of houseplants can do wonders for your mental and physical health – so we say: the more, the merrier.
What are Scandinavian-style Christmas colors?
'What we are looking for is the polar opposite of the traditional Christmas style, with that huge explosion of colors, in favour of a more northern style. Essentially, we must build a space where the following take centre stage.' says Martin.
- A simple color palette: 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.
- Including natural elements, such as wood or plant life.
- Aim for simplicity: we must not overload our living space.
- A soft warm effect. What we are after is a cosy and peaceful setting. The best way of achieving this is by adjusting the room lighting.
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.'
What are some Swedish Christmas decorations?
'If we want that full Nordic decor experience, we have to take care of the smallest details, and we mustn't forget the Christmas gifts that go under the tree.' says Martin.
'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.'
'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?'