These Inspiring Decor Ideas are Beautifully Icelandic

Reykjavik | © JasonParis/Flickr
Photo of Camille Buckley
17 July 2017

Interior decor in Iceland has certainly developed over the years under the influence of the natural environment. The climate and place, as usual, affect the design trends of a certain area, and Iceland is no exception. You can count on Icelandic decor to be genuine and full of personality.

As Iceland is, of course, a part of Scandinavia, it is sometimes seen as the wayward nation of the group with its quirky, bold artistic and design statements that reflect its unique history and environment. Check out Hrim design shop for a great selection of design elements to add to your home and Hugdetta for more unique Icelandic design elements.

Local History and Culture

You can often find a map of Iceland in many homes. The vintage kind that can be found in Geysir shops is very popular. This is often a conversation starter and is helpfully when visiting family members are telling stories or for when you are planning a road trip. Other place-based accents are very popular, such as prints of Icelandic flora and fauna.


There is an interior design quality of simplicity that remains so even when there are private trinket collections lining the walls. Perhaps it is a natural result of the stark landscapes that can be reminiscent of other planets – endless sea, sky, and snow or green. Simplicity is the key notion when choosing furniture, of which a lot is often of the IKEA variety. Patterns can be bright, yet subtle, and toned down by other simple aspects in the space so that it is never loud.

Light Colors

To accompany those huge windows, interiors are often donned with light colors, especially white. In the winter, when the days are short and the only sunlight is a hazy few hours at late-midday, having these light colors can really work to brighten up the atmosphere. White is the most popular color, however, combined with tasteful hues like beige and pale pastels, it creates a clean, comfortable atmosphere that is very in line with the design choices of Iceland’s neighboring Nordic countries.

Bright Accents

To go along with those light colors, a few bright accents here and there in the form of throw pillows, especially the colorful knotted wool pillows by Icelandic designer, Umemi. These bright accents usually follow a harmonious line of color, without distracting from the general flow of the home. Colorful wool throw rugs from Geysir are also a popular interior decor item.

Minimal Art

Icelanders love art and especially art that is passed down through the family or made by friends or relatives. Many Icelandic homes have an iconic landscape painting of the late 19th-century Romantic style in their homes – usually above the sofa in the living room or over the piano, at least for a certain generation. Sculptures and ceramics are also a common unique art display in Icelandic homes, especially ones that mirror some part of the natural landscape.

Natural Light

Light is a very important factor in Iceland, as it greatly affects the living conditions throughout the year. With such minimal light in the long winter days, it is usual to have large windows open to catch as much as possible. If large windows are not in the space, it is common to use cold light sources to underline parts of the space.

Raw, Local Materials

Sheepskin is an often used material in Icelandic homes. The versatility of colors and hues in the sheepskin creates striking displays that inspire a warmth and relaxed coziness, that is also connected to Icelandic heritage. The use of rough, raw material such as lava stone is also a popular accouterment in Icelandic homes. Check out these ceramics made from sulfur by Icelandic designer Garðar Eyjólfsson.


The person occupying the home naturally expresses their own personal style and interest in the way they design their living space. In Iceland, it is very natural to express your personality in your interior design choices – it is definitely not something to shy away from or keep hidden. It also tells a story and is also part of the genuine quality that Icelandic design and art is well known for.

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