Design Inspiration

Tiny Scandinavian Cottages And What We Learned From Them

11 design lessons in small-space living.
Anna Kocharian Avatar

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Come summer, there’s nothing like escaping to a beach retreat or a little cottage in the woods. While either option may not be necessarily accessible to all, a little inspiration couldn’t hurt. So we rounded up a handful of charming Scandinavian cottages, whose interiors taught us a few things about living simply and beautifully. Here’s what we learned.

This Gothenburg-based cabin is about as charming as they come. Nestled within a heavily wooded area of the Swedish city, it was the lawn and garden that prompted Elin Lannsjö to purchase the place. Don’t let the compact size fool you, there’s plenty of style and bold design moments inside!

Bring art into every room.

What your space lacks in square footage can be made up in character. In this quiet seaside cabin—appropriately dubbed the ‘Captains Rest’—, small vintage portraits charm every tiny nook and corner—kitchen not excluded. Of all the reasons to hang artwork in your cookhouse, topping off a teeny spot with a bonus dose of soul is our favorite excuse.

You can see more of this restful haven (which, yes, you can rent IRL) on My Scandinavian Home or on owner and interior designer Sarah Andrew’s Instagram.

Get creative with storage.

This rustic kitchen island comes with a handy, built-on rack, utilized for hanging everything from cooking utensils to cutting boards. A

matte black

pendant, overhead, contributes a subtle hint of modern flair to the otherwise bucolic build of the space. 

Blend the old with the new.

This is one decor trend we can’t wait to get on. Mix and match various decorative styles to achieve an eclectic finish. Stick to a complementary color scheme to keep the look cohesive. Here, an understated color block imparts the living-meets-dining space with a bold touch of character.

Tour the rest of this Swedish cottage on Lovely Life

When lacking space inside, utilize the outdoors.

A dining table can be a considered a commodity in a small space, especially one that’s lengthy enough to fit more than a party of four. For those fortunate enough to have an outdoor area, invest in a sturdy and weather-proof table for endless hours of outdoor entertaining.

The entry can also double as a reading nook

. Cramped on space? Take a two-in-one approach to the decor scheme to make the most out of limited square footage. Here, a cushioned entryway bench comes paired with a set of wall-mounted shelves, transforming the area into a multi-functional zone. 

Contrast is key

. Modern elements blend seamlessly well with the rustic backdrop of this Danish cabin. Don’t be intimidated by pairing strictly contemporary furnishings with a seemingly contradictory backdrop. Play it safe with a monochromatic palette and utilize textured decorative accessories to bring the overall look together.

Tour the rest of this cabin on Bolig Magasinet.

Pops of color are always encouraged,

especially when it pertains to a whitewashed space. This Swedish cottage’s all-white decor scheme looks both refreshing and new, despite the rustic nature of the build. Modest pops of color, via the dining chair and green vintage glass collection, lend a dynamic detail to the finish.

Utilize outdoor space where you can.

Even if

that means resorting to an outdoor shower. An exclusively matteblack exterior paintcleverly conceals the spot, transforming it into a well-kept secret.

The outdoors count

. We often spend so much time and effort on decorating an interior, the outdoors become an after-thought. Stay ahead of the curve and carve out a spot on the patio or deck, that’ll complement your summer living situation. We’re all for a comfortable seat and a spacious side table, perfect for a morning coffee or post-work drinks. 

Curtains come over doors

. When kitchen cabinets aren’t a given, a linen curtain can function just the same. Here, a gray-toned cut of fabric imparts the whitewashed kitchen with a farmhouse-inspired aesthetic, managing to effortlessly incorporate the Scandinavian vibe. 

Bring the outdoors in

to create a more seamless transition within the decor and the natural greenery of the surround. Be it florals or upcycled branches, an organic element can go a long way in a small space. Just ask

whitney leigh

Morris of the Tiny Canal Cottage!

This story was originally published June 1, 2017. It has been updated with new information.

Read More:

12 Scandinavian Dishes You’ll Want to Make All Summer The Best Scandinavian Feeds to Follow On Pinterest 8 Scandinavian Dream Homes, and What We Learned From Them

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Anna Kocharian Avatar

Anna Kocharian


Anna has a penchant for travel, fresh flowers, and books. You can usually find her on some sort of culinary adventure, seeking the best burgers or waffles in the city.