Scandinavian Style Bathrooms (Color Palette, Textures & Decor)

Tied to nature with sculptural simplicity and clear geometry, the Scandinavian interior, also termed the “Swedish Grace Style,” remains a desirable modern style for domestic spaces. What better space to explore this popular design than by going for Scandinavian style bathrooms? 

Different scandinavian bathroom designs

Scandinavian-styled bathrooms exude not only simplicity and comfort but also ensure an enduring space that is adaptable to other style types. This means you not only get a highly functional space but also an opportunity to bring in personality for a unique bathroom design tailored to your needs. 

In this article, we’ll learn more about the key characteristics of Scandinavian bathrooms.

Scandinavian Bathroom Key Characteristics

Scandi bathroom with shower area sink and accent lighting

Here, we share the key characteristics of Scandinavian bathrooms, focusing on their minimalism and serene aesthetics.

Color Palette

White hygge bathroom with tub and floating vanity

The Scandinavian color palette is all about blended harmony of pastel tones and base color of neutrals. The peaceful color palette is muted to give visual balance as elements’ forms, textures, and lighting can shine through.

Although tinges of vibrancy can be used sparingly in the Scandi color scheme, it is important to have a controlled use of tones. Also, consider material colors such as light wood, a staple in Scandi interiors. 

Neutral Colors: Scandi interiors are all about getting much natural light into the interiors. The neutrals, black, white, and gray colors are excellent in creating a minimalist interior with layered lighting and shadow.

With the right lighting strategy, you can manipulate the visual size of a room, creating depth and airiness in the bathroom. A typical Scandinavian interior will use black and gray sparingly but can be used to exude sophistication to the space as well when used on architectural features. 

Pastel Colors: Any color with high value and low saturation is considered a pastel color. With a wider range of color combinations, pastel tones are great options if you’re looking for unusual colors for your bathroom.

Pastel tones that are commonly used in interiors go along with the following tones: Beige #F2DCD3, Thistle #EED7DB, Light Steel Blue #CCE0DA, and Pale Goldenrod #F1D7BB. These tones are soft and relaxing, desirable qualities for bathroom areas. 

Chalky Whites: These whites have that powdery texture that gives a matt finish. A good example is Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Wall Paint. Aside from white, other colors are also available. Another alternative is Craig and Rose emulsion paint. 

Contrasting Tones: Using black and white gives a modern and simplistic palette. Utilize texture to add visual interest in a two-tone color scheme. Usually, whitewashed walls with a few light wood pieces are typical for Scandi bathrooms. Then, add black accents that will line up mirrors, art frames, or black matt hardware. 

Earthy Color Palette: Beiges and other sand colors have been popular recently, such as Sherwin Williams’ past color, 2023, and Redend Point. Earthy tones with pale tinges give that familiar tone from nature, go well with white fixtures, and can be accented with metallic or matte black hardware to give a modern contrast. 

Becky Shea, founder and creative director of BS/D, offers insightful advice on achieving the Scandinavian style in bathrooms. She emphasizes the importance of minimalist fundamentals and functional design, which are both beautiful and practical. Shea suggests simplifying color choices to light neutral shades like gray or beige to create a clean, minimalist vibe, ensuring the space feels open and airy.

Materials and Textures

minimalist bathroom with scandinavian elements

With cool summers and long, cold winters, Nordic places typically use cozy fabrics such as wool, Nettle, cotton, knitwear, hemp, tartan, plaid, chunky knit throws, sheepskin rugs, woven fabrics, and flax. These textiles, such as area rugs or bathmats, are often used as accents.

Hemp is an excellent option for your Scandi-styled bathrooms, but cotton is preferred because of its easy maintenance. Another option is microfiber, where you can find a design that can mimic natural materials. 

Wood in light or pale tones is often used in a bathroom as the organic material adds warmth. Common wood species used in Scandi interiors are walnut, ash, oak, and beech. However, ash alight wood-toned lumber showcases long, hard fibers but can be difficult to work with.

The use of wood or stone, rather than steel or other manufactured materials, characterizes Scandinavian modern kitchens and bathrooms, along with the simple uncluttered lines of the Bauhaus. – Kitchen and Bath Design Principles, Nancy Wolford, Ellen Cheever, NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) 

Scandinavian room interiors explore other modern materials such as stone, metal, and glass. Plaster finish such as polished plaster can be a gorgeous feature in your Nordic bathroom as it adds visual interest without the grout lines and makes it a great alternative to tiles.

Tadelakt plaster works great for bathroom walls as it is water-repellant. Marmorino Venetian Plaster is another alternative that has that glossy appearance likened to marble with subtle colors. 

If you’re planning a more youthful or chic Nordic bathrooms, add fun and playful geometric tiles to your floors. These patterned tiles, either in neutral or muted tones, can add dimension to your simple forms. 


spacious bathroom with shower enclosure and picture window

Nordic style is all about simplicity, clearness of lines, and coziness. Three attributes can be easily found in the wide range of lighting fixtures available in the market. Scandi lighting is all about complementing the soft and basic color palettes.

Choose luminaires with a calming color temperature and simple and clean shapes. We often see a marriage of Mid-century and Nordic themes that results in a sculptural piece perfect for a vanity space.

Probably a more recognizable lighting fixture is the Sputnik chandelier that became popular during the “Space Age” in the 1950s. This lighting can act as a focal point in your bathroom. Choose pastel tones for your lighting fixture to complement the existing color palette. 

Iconic Lighting Luminaires

Dokka Pendant Light: Has smooth contours and can be hung on different levels to create an interesting group of lighting fixtures to highlight an area. 

Parlour Lite Curve Pendant Light: This luminaire has a striking profile with a wide rim and an opal white glass shade. It’s an attractive lighting fixture that can be used in a vanity space. 

Wall Sconce Lights: Adjustable wall lamps are great for framing vanity mirrors and directing light on your countertop. If you’re looking for accent lighting, elliptical wall sconces are perfect for providing additional light to your ambient light. 

Tube-shaped Lights: Tube-shaped lights are becoming popular as they have that simple, clean profile like fluorescent lights, but they are usually held in the middle for their mounting bracket or hardware. 

LED back Lights: Beveled edges or circular-shaped mirrors are popular in bathrooms. Highlight the curved profile with LED backlighting. This usually is a strip of a series of LED lights that follow the perimeter edges of the mirror. 

Maximize Natural Light

scandinavian style bathtoom with stool and basket

Bathrooms usually have the least access to natural light, where small windows are specified to ensure privacy. You can maximize light by using opaque glass windows or using glass dividers for your showers. A key characteristic of Scandi interiors is that it is likely to use window treatments such as curtains, as Nordic homes receive little natural light all year round.

If privacy is not an issue, consider installing a bathroom skylight or clerestory. Solar tubes are an option for basement bathrooms that have no access to natural light. However, installing solar tubes can be costly as you need to provide provision for the solar tube to pass through the different levels from the room down to the bathroom. 

Vanities & Storage

scandi bathroom with wood vanity and white counter

Scandi-inspired vanities have that simple elegance as they fit the Scandinavian bathroom’s highly functional, clean, uncluttered look. Look for vanity cabinets with clean and simple profiles. These are often rectangular in shape with minimal or no visible hardware, whereas the cabinets usually use touch latch hardware. To open the cabinet door, apply pressure, push the ratchet and spring mechanism, and allow the cabinet to open. 

Another characteristic of Scandi vanities is the open shelving, distinct from the tapered legs. However, we are seeing Nordic-inspired bathrooms adopting the cleaner look of floating cabinets. When combined with sinks, the sink design is also often with a sleek and rectangular profile adapted to the vanity cabinet. 

Popular Storage Ideas

beautiful bathroom with tub and ladder

Wooden bathroom caddy: These are multi-layered organizers that are portable, much like a mini shelf, but are easily carried. It usually stores smaller items such as your combs, brushes, soaps, candles, face towels, etc. 

Free-standing baskets: Hampers come in a wide range of sizes and styles, and it is an opportunity to add natural textures such as wicker materials. There are hampers that can slid below a vanity or stack them on top of each other to maximize space. 

Leaning ladder shelf: The wall shelf is practical as it tapers upward, freeing up visual weight while still providing enough space to store smaller items on the top tiers, while the base of the lowest tier can house larger items such as towels. 

If you’re looking for popular Scandinavian-inspired furniture and accessories, you can look into famous Nordic furniture makers such as IKEA, Hay, Muuto, DWR, Norman Copenhagen, and Skandium showrooms. 

Decorative Elements and Accessories

bathroom with wooden platform and vanity area

Most decorative items for Scandinavian bathrooms include functional accessories or are made by iconic designers, especially for luxury or high-end designs. Iconic designers include Alvar Aalto, who is known for his works such as Stacking Armchairs, Paimio Lounge, and Chairs, as well as convertible furniture.

As observed, these are sculptural pieces by themselves but are highly functional as every curve and part of the Scandi furniture has its purpose. Another notable piece of furniture is made with that Mid-Century Modern style. Although the following are unlikely to be used in a bathroom setting, the basic forms are perfect inspirations for those who are selecting their furniture. 

Arne Jacobsen: The Danish architect and designer is known for his two Mid-century pieces that explore sensual curves and generous shapes. 

 Egg Chair 

 Swan Chair 

Hans Wegner: Another Danish furniture designer who designed a popular chair from today, the Wegner Chair. 

Alvar Aalto: The Finnish architect is well known for his Aalto stacking chair. 

Useful accessories for Scandinavian bathroom styles usually have a similar simplistic geometry with clean lines. The colors are usually monochromatic, with the use of ceramic, marble, glass, metal, and other natural materials.

Soap holders, baskets, soap and shampoo dispensers, and towel holders made out of wood are popular. Other bathroom accessories that can be made out of wood are bath mats, bathtub bridges, stools, and floor stands. 

Other decorative elements you can add: 

 Scented candles: Simple-shaped candles can easily add warmth and character to your bathroom’s layout. 

 Table baskets with lids: Store smaller items on wicker baskets and keep them from being cluttered. 

 Apothecary jars to hold soap bars and sachets: These glass jars are both decorative and functional and versatile enough to be used as vases. 

 Bathroom Caddy: Choose a wooden caddy to add texture. A trolley can be an alternative to your caddy; the difference is that the small shelves have wheels. 

 Indoor plants: Perfect décor pieces that filter the air and provide visual interest to your bathroom. 

Incorporating Warmth

bright bathroom with plant tub and blinds

Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is a Danish concept that embodies a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. It often involves creating a warm, comfortable atmosphere and enjoying good moments with loved ones. This idea is reflected in their interior design by embracing warm organic materials and a minimalistic style. Here are some designer tips to help get the look.

Utilize natural light: A key element in setting up the atmosphere in a room is natural light. If there’s a lack of natural light, don’t use heavy window treatments that can block the sun. If you’re concerned with glare, use translucent glass for your Scandinavian-styled bathroom or reposition your vanity mirror if possible. A well-lit bathroom space by daylight not only lifts the mood but prevents mold, as daylight has a UV light that kills and prevents the spread of bacteria.  

Add texture: Warm textures such as wool or sheepskin have that organic quality and add comfort to your bathroom. At the same time, it is a practical option to place rugs on the doorway or as you step out from the shower or bathtub as it prevents slippage.

Texture not only comes from fabrics, but architectural features like fluted wood panels as an accent wall to your bathroom, for instance, are a great way to offset sleek surfaces. Although, be sure that the texture or material you specify can be easily maintained.  

Pops of color: While Scandinavian encourages pastel, monochromatic, and neutral tones, surprises of bold colors are welcomed as they give the eyes direction and focal point. This may be an accessory such as a planter, a wall art, or a towel holder.

Metallic Elements: Scandinavian-styled bathrooms are known to combine with other styles and metallic hardware such as bronze, brass, and rose gold, bringing tinges of warm luxury to your space. This can also add a layer to your colors, balancing neutral tones or pastel colors. 

Add Personal Touches: Monogrammed towels, labeled soap dispensers, and your signature fragrance or scent can add warmth to your Scandi bathroom. 

Add Plants and Greenery: Placing interior plants in your bathroom can easily lift your mood and add a personal touch to your design.

See more related content in our article about craftsman style bathroom designs on this page.

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