We all know what we should do to get good, restful sleep—get to bed on time, and turn those screens off, for a start. But in our modern world, there always seems to be one more thing to do (or watch) before we turn in for the night. Yet the benefits of sleep are many, and as difficult as it can be to let go of the day and crawl into bed, it’s important to get enough rest—and a cozy bedroom makes getting that rest a lot easier.
Here at The Modern Dane, we know a thing or two about keeping a comfortable bedroom. And in a time of sleep hacking, blue-blocking glasses, and relaxation apps, we think it’s helpful to take a step back and return to the basics. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to calm down your bedroom Scandinavian style—with a minimal, modern look, and a healthy dose of comfort. From big picture design to the little details, here are some time-tested ways to make the most of your personal sanctuary.
One thing that does not inspire relaxation? Strong overhead light. Instead, opt for softer lamplight, which will help you get in the mood for sleep. For an even more calming effect, choose lamps that are dimmable—whether that means buying one with its own dimmer, or installing dimmer switches in your bedroom.
When it’s time to sleep, aim for a room that’s as dark as possible. Too much light before bed or during sleep can have a harmful effect on sleep quality and even mental health. If you live somewhere with persistent light from buildings or streetlamps, consider layered blinds, with blackout panels behind sheer daytime curtains.
2. Calming colors
Color is personal. Some people love bright red; some people swear that yellow stresses them out. One thing that most of us can agree on is that neutral colors are calming. And while you might like bolder hues and high contrast in other living spaces, cozy bedrooms are best when they’re not so stimulating. Try neutral whites, tans, or grays, or contrast warm and cool neutrals to create an overall medium look. The idea is to give your eyes a rest so that your mind and body can drift off to sleep. A caveat: Scandi design isn’t all strict rules. Color is allowed, as long as it makes you feel good. Gentle pops of color will add bits of interest and excitement that make you want to spend time in your bedroom.
Sure, your bed is soft. But what about the other things in your bedroom? Try adding a rug to rest your morning feet on, a fleecy throw, or comfy slippers. Natural fibers, loose weaves, and touchable accents will help your bedroom more feel soothing and inviting.
Simplicity is a staple of Scandinavian design, and for good reason. A clear, uncluttered room inspires instant calm, and space to move, think, and be. In the bedroom, this can mean escorting what doesn’t belong there out of the room, and putting clothes away—whether that’s in the hamper and behind closed doors and drawers, or out on display on a garment rack. If your space is limited or you have a fair amount, try adding closet shelving or under-the-bed storage.
5. A personal touch
Keeping a simple, minimal bedroom does not mean that the room should feel sterile. Yes, at first glance, Scandinavian interiors can look “perfect.” But any meticulously styled room, like the ones you see in magazines, are missing something that only you can provide: a personal touch. A slightly messy bed, unfolded blankets, sentimental items that bring you joy—these are examples of your comfort on display. If you want your bedroom to feel cozy and inviting, it helps make it look a little lived-in.
6. Bring nature inside
We all have a relationship to nature. In Scandinavian cultures, the scarceness of resources and the harshness of winter have given people a deep appreciation and respect for what the wilderness has to offer. In your bedroom, you can honor the nurturing perspective-giving benefits of nature with houseplants, fresh flowers, sculptural wood, rocks and shells—really anything that speaks to you. And consider borrowing a healthy Scandinavian habit, which has been linked to better sleep: getting plenty of outside time.
7. Add some hygge
A key element of Scandinavian design, and many Scandi cultures, is hygge, or the sense of cozy togetherness and contentment. You can bring hygge to your most intimate space with items that are soft and warm, intentional time spent with loved ones, and anything that makes you happy—from photographs to your favorite smells, or memorabilia that carries a sweet nostalgia. Read more on hygge here.
To give your bedroom a hefty dose of hygge, try making a cozy corner, or hyggekrug. This is a place where you can fully relax and perhaps read a book, ideally with a cup of coffee or tea. The cozy corner can simply be your side of the bed, and extend to a bedside table with the necessary materials. Or, if you have space, you can add a soft chair by the window—a sanctuary within your sanctuary. Keep the bed in view, and you’ll be ready for sleep in no time.
8. Quality bedding
Quality bedding is important for many reasons—and we can name more than a few. Good bed sheets and duvets are attractive, comfortable, and long-lasting. And bedding made from European flax linen is all of that and more. It’s easy on the environment, and thermoregulating, making it ideal for hot and cold sleepers.
Flax fibers are hollow; and much the same way animal fur regulates temperature, Modern Dane flax linen duvet covers trap warm air when it’s cold, and stay breathable when it’s hot, so that you can the best rest possible. In the winter, use a thicker duvet insert, and in the summer, try a lighter one. Now all you have to do is set the thermostat.
For a more restful sleep (and an authentic Scandinavian aesthetic), check out our beautifully designed linen duvet covers and linen fitted sheets, and take the first step toward creating your cozy bedroom.