Brian Gluckstein’s four tips to create a Scandinavian-inspired holiday home

Catch Brian Gluckstein on Cityline, where he is a regular guest expert, shop his collection, GlucksteinHome, at Hudson’s Bay and follow him @briangluckstein on Instagram.

I know many of us are so looking forward to the holiday season, even decorating a little earlier, or with a little more gusto, than years prior now that for many, holiday celebrations with loved ones are back on.

This year, one of my favourite looks for holiday décor is the Scandinavian theme inspired by those rustic Nordic chalets. The look is modern, cosy, full of charm, and perhaps most importantly, it’s calming. Considering we could all use a little extra calm in our lives these days, it’s no surprise this decorating style is so popular.

Want to achieve this style in your own home? Here’s how to get the look:

1. Think monochromatic

Do as the Scandinavians do and go with a one-tone colour palette full of soothing shades of white for the bulk of your décor — from ornaments to nutcrackers to angels to any other figurines you may have. This will keep things feeling light and airy, and keep your space feeling calm as any well-designed minimalist space should. Bring in a hint of shimmer with neutral-hued metallics as accents on top of your base décor for a bit of glamour.

2. Go natural

Adding to the soothing esthetic of this holiday style, incorporate organic materials like woods, matte ceramics, and plenty of greenery — real or faux — to bring the outdoors in. Make use of wooden décor, ornaments, wicker baskets, and pile up some logs next to the fire for a nature-inspired look. Add greenery in the form of garlands draped along a mantel, railing, or console, wreaths on the front door or hung indoors, and Christmas trees of all sizes — tabletop, pencil, or full size. If you’re going faux, opt for pre-lit trees with warm LED lights to keep the set-up simple.


scandianvian gnomes
Courtesy of Hudson’s Bay

3. Add some whimsy

I love to bring in some personality to my holiday décor with cute characters, and gnomes are one of my favourites. Gnomes are quintessentially Nordic and add such whimsy to a space. I like to arrange them in a small group together on the mantel, on open shelves in the kitchen, or even in an unused corner of a room. I also love to use animals in my décor whether that’s reindeer or penguin figurines set throughout the house, or ornaments in the form of furry creatures scattered throughout the tree. These little details always bring a smile to people’s faces.

4. Bring in the Hygge

If you haven’t yet come across the term “hygge” before, it’s a Danish word used to describe cosy moments and the contentment that surrounds them. This couldn’t be more fitting around the holidays, when being warm and cosy indoors brings us more joy than ever. As a designer I always prioritize comfort in my projects, and holiday decorating takes no exception. To bring in some Scandinavian-inspired warmth, I love using faux fur throws, birch-wrapped candles, and hurricane vases filled with ornaments and twinkle lights. Finish it off with a soothing tea or hot chocolate and you’re all set to cosy up and enjoy the season!