4 Icelandic Design Ideas That Will Instantly Make Your Home Cozier

The name “Iceland” surely conjures up mental pictures of picturesque landscapes, refreshing waterfalls, and dazzling Northern Lights. While these descriptions are spot on, it’s worth noting that the country is also earning praise for its innovative architecture.

The success of Icelandic designers is a result of their distinctive aesthetic, which combines traditional features with contemporary accents.

DesignMarch, an annual exhibition supported by illustrious Icelandic businesses like Icelandair, brings together creative experts to showcase Iceland’s best ideas.

“Although Iceland is influenced by Nordic and Scandinavian simplicity, there is still an element that makes Iceland different,” says Icelandair’s communications manager for North America, Michael Raucheisen. “We want to showcase and highlight that unique style and share what makes Iceland so special with the world.”

“Anyone who is fascinated by creativity or design should come to our beautiful and otherworldly country to see what Iceland can inspire in you,” he says. 

But in the meantime, Apartment Therapy is showcasing some of Iceland’s best design concepts in the United States to inspire your cozy interior design esthetic. 

Here are four design ideas that have been directly sourced from some of Iceland’s top designers.

Include Playful Elements In Your Design

“Our favorite aspects of Icelandic design are spontaneity and playfulness,” says Stúdíó Flétta, headed by designers Birta Rós Brynjólfsdóttir and Hrefna Sigurðardóttir. 

The pair compares the aesthetic to the weather and asserts that there are no limitations or regulations when designing a room using Icelandic-centric ideas.

“Icelandic design is ever-changing — one moment it’s bright and colorful, and the next it’s dark and moody.”

Participating in DesignMarch since 2011, designer Hanna Dis Whitehead feels that including a lighthearted aspect perfectly captures the spirit of the Icelandic people.

“I think humor, a specific point of view, and a story are often intertwined with Icelandic design,” she says

She lists Icelandic designers like Sigurjón Pálsson and Orkell G. Gumundsson as illustrations of individuals who have a lively flair. Your home will become a more pleasant place with the addition of items that make you smile. 

Blend The Past With The Future

A place gains an eclectic air via mixing new and used pieces, which Whitehead emphasizes with Icelandic elements.

“There is often a nod to the past mixed with the modern in the country’s style,” she says. “Teak furniture from the ’60s and ’70s, for example, is still very much appreciated.” 

Whitehead adds that it’s typical to combine contemporary Icelandic decorating with IKEA accents.

“Icelanders are quite good at mixing eclectic things from here and there and making their home very personal,” she says.

Build Sustainable Collections

The ingenuity of Icelandic architects and builders is likewise well-known. Instead of buying something new, Stúdíó Flétta suggests reimagining what you already have, like a vibrant sweater or a fancy container.

“Collect one or all of these things, then take an old belt, scarf, or a used gift decoration and wrap everything together,” they suggest

By showcasing an unusual item or collection, you can highlight that beauty can be found in a wide variety of things.

Iceland’s focus on reducing waste, which is important to Stúdíó Flétta, is also a big part of the idea of “unexpected art.”

“We look for ways to use excess materials from local production or objects that otherwise would go to waste and turn them into something new and playful,” they say. “We are constantly working to find new and innovative ways of using these materials with the goal to upcycle rather than downcycle.” 

Icelandic aesthetics are a fantastic example of how to maximize the use of resources while minimizing waste sent to landfills.

Make Your Spaces Cozy 

Even though the concept of hygge is commonly linked with Scandinavia, the Icelanders are masters at creating cozy environments at home. Your home should be a sanctuary where you can unwind and relax.

“Make your home into a cozy cave — a place that makes you feel shielded against the ever-changing weather outside,” advises Whitehead

The cold climate inspires many of Iceland’s softer design aspects, such as the use of heavy afghans and warm lighting.

“Candles, candleholders, and lighting are also essential as our winters are dark and long,” adds Whitehead. “Every home must have at least one wool blanket as well.”

Whitehead suggests bringing in some natural elements in addition to using pillows and blankets to create a cozy atmosphere.

“Many Icelanders love to collect stones,” she says. “Don’t be surprised to see maybe a small lava rock just casually hanging out on a shelf.”

Keep reading below for some of our favorite items to cozy up your home!


Lowell Wooden Tree Candle
Dough Bowl Candle
Kindred Candle


World Market
Mango Wood Contemporary Candle Holder
West Elm
Wooden Lantern
Annie Selkie
Lava Rock Candle Holder

Throw Blankets

Wool-Blend Throw
Soften Linen Throw
Hearth & Hand
Faux Mohair Throw


Tufted Wool-Blend Cushion Cover
World Market
Ivory Geometric Embroidered Pillow
Wool Blend Cushion Cover

Other Decorations

Moss Terrarium
Loon Peak
Sheepskin Rug
Pottery Barn
Lava Rock Bookends

Share your tips for making your home cozier in the comments!

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