Design

All About Lighting: Best Scandinavian Lamps for Your Home

Scandinavian lighting is among the most sought-after design in the world. While many Scandinavian design brands also produce lighting, there are a number of Scandinavian brands that focus on lighting alone. These are some of the most well-made and renowned lighting brands in the world, including Louis Poulsen and Le Klint.

Scandinavian design is known for its quality and timelessness, and this extends into the tradition of lighting design and production.

Let’s take a deep dive into Scandinavian lighting, the brands to know, and the best Scandinavian lamps to buy:

What is Scandinavian Lighting?

Scandinavian lighting is made up of table lamps, floor lamps, and pendant lamps made by Scandinavian brands. Scandinavian lighting is characterized by clean lines and a focus on warm, diffuse light that feels closer to candlelight than to harsh, neon lighting.

Scandinavians typically do not have excessive lighting in their homes, instead opting for strategically placed floor and table lamps. When they do have overhead lighting, it is often quite subdued. Stronger lighting is reserved for rooms where it is necessary: the kitchen and bathroom.

 
 
 

Modern Scandinavian Lighting

Modern Scandinavian lighting walks the line between minimalism and a focus on handcrafted design. As with all Scandinavian design, functionality is key.

Perhaps more than other design items, lighting is highly technical and therefore requires a great deal of knowledge in order to produce well. As technology changes and improves over time, new innovations are integrated into Scandinavian lighting. This is particularly visible in terms of LED technology and portable lamps, which have become a popular alternative to table lamps that use bulky cords.

 
 
 

Scandinavian Lighting and Hygge

In Scandinavian, where it is dark so much of the year, lighting is incredibly important. Apartments are set up to maximise light without creating a harsh atmosphere, and much of this is due to the chosen lamps in the home – from pendant to floor.

Lighting is an essential part of hygge, the Danish practice of coziness. While candles are often used – both for light and additional warmth – it is the way that lighting is set up around the home, particularly in the living room and dining room

 
 
 

The Best Scandinavian Design Lighting Brands

Danish Lighting Brands

Louis Poulsen

Lighting giants Louis Poulsen are well known for their interior lights, including icons like the Poul Henningsen Artichoke. They’re perhaps lesser known for the fact that they produce a large amount of outdoor lighting (i.e. street lamps, lighting in public spaces, etc) all around the world; in fact, it’s the majority of their business.

With an eye to promoting the Scandinavian ideal of lighting – low, warm lights that bring a sense of coziness – as well as an ability to bring modern trends to their sleek styles.

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Louis Poulsen

 

 

 
 

Le Klint

Those folded lampshades you’re always seeing in Scandinavian homes? Those are Le Klint lamps. With a soft, diffused warm light and a charming but clean silhouette, these table, floor, and pendant lamps have become one of the watershed designs of Danish interior style.

First designed by well-known architect and designer Kaare Klint, the lightshades have been enormously popular since they launched in 1943. Le Klint continues to produce new lighting in their factory in Odense, Denmark, usually with a callback to the folded, geometric look of the original.

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Le Klint

 

 
 
 

Nuura

It was about time for a contemporary Danish lighting brand! Nuura has taken up the mantle spectacularly, with considered lighting that fits the modern Scandinavian home.

It is functional, beautiful, and sculptural without being overwhelming. Their ability to innovate while working within their own aesthetic parameters makes for a thoroughly cohesive brand.

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Nuura

 

 

 
 

New Works

Founded in 2015, New Works is a study in contrasts. New and old silhouettes; minimalist and decorative. They produce a range of lamps, furniture, and small accessories like vases and candleholders.
Their lighting is really something special; the array of materials, shapes, and textures present offers the chance to play with light in your space in a way that is truly unique.

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New Works

 

 
 
 

&Tradition

Danish production house &Tradition started as a way to bring classic design items back into production. With pieces like Verner Panton’s Flowerpot Lamp and the Little Petra chair by Viggo Boesen, it’s no wonder they’ve become a go-to brand for some of the most important Scandinavian relaunches.

In addition to their classic designs, &Tradition works with a number of top contemporary designers such as Space Copenhagen, Jaime Hayon, and Norm Architects, making future design icons.

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&Tradition

 

 

 
 

Menu

Though Menu was originally launched in the 70s, the brand has been reimagined as a serious design company. Their take on Danish minimalism draws on classic design while incorporating new pieces created by some of the top contemporary designers. From vases to chairs, Menu is producing design icons of the future.

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Menu

 

 
 
 

HAY

With an ever-growing array of colorful and playful interior design goods and furniture, HAY has quickly become the new face of Danish design. Their 2017 collaboration with IKEA was a massive success, cementing the brand as a global trend-setter.

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HAY

 

 

 
 
 
 

Swedish Lighting Brands

Hem

With three showrooms – Stockholm, NYC, and LA – and a defined, playful aesthetic, Hem has quickly become one of Sweden’s biggest design exports of the last few years. Their ability to zero in on what will be “the next big thing” has resulted in a number of major design wins for them, including genuinely joyful pieces like the Last Stool by Max Lamb

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Hem

 

 
 
 

IKEA

You thought we’d have a list of Swedish design brands and not include IKEA? Not possible! The original mass-produced flat-pack furniture brand, IKEA has grown from a small Swedish company founded in 1943 to a major global retailer. Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a piece of IKEA design in their home?
From kitchen items to couches and even custom-made kitchens, IKEA has redefined what Scandianvian design means, and has reintroduced truly democratic design on a huge scale.

They’ve even given rise to the business of “IKEA hacks;” creative ways to upgrade your IKEA furniture that makes it feel more unique and high-end.

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IKEA

 

 

 
 

Fogia

Known as the “benchmark of Swedish design,” Fogia has been around since the 80s, but became its current iteration in 2011 under new ownership. The brand both designs and produces in their own factory in Gdansk, Poland.

Modern classics like the Bollo Chair have cemented Fogia as one of the most innovative and important voices in Swedish design today.

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Fogia

 

 
 
 

Massproductions

Focusing on modernist design principles, Massproductions has become an avatar for the future of Swedish design. The brand, which launched in 2009, has control of their entire supply chain, from production to distribution, and therefore present a fully-realized vision.

They have a handful of pieces that are already icons, including the beloved Crown Armchair.

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Massproductions

 

 

 
 

Design House Stockholm

Founded in 1992, Design House Stockholm sees themselves as a “publisher of design, rather than a conventional producer,” due to the way they work closely with designers. The brand makes everything from furniture to small interior accessories, with success across the board. Their Nordic Light by Jonas Grundell has become a ubiquitous design classic.

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Design House Stockholm

 

 
 
 

Norwegian Lighting Brands

Northern

Known for their fantastic lighting, particularly the gorgeous Oslo Lamp, Northern is an Oslo-based design house making furniture, lighting, and home accessories.

Their focus is on craftsmanship, natural materials, and functionality; a true Scandinavian trifecta. The result is sometimes playful, always refined.

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Northern

 

 

 
 

Finnish Lighting Brands

Secto Design

Secto Design began in 1995 when Tuula Jusélius and designer Seppo Koho began creating wooden furniture together. As it increased in popularity, people began requesting wooden lighting as well. Secto Design now focuses exclusively on handmade wooden lighting, from pendants and ceiling lights to floor and table lamps. The light is warm, aided by the hue and organic feel of the wood. It’s a beautiful combination that exemplifies Finnish design aesthetics and principles.

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Secto Design

 

 
 
 

Iittala

What began in 1881 as a small glass factory in southern Finland has become one of the best-known Finnish design brands in the world. Their lighting focuses on transparent glass pieces, offering candle-like lighting that’s charming as well as functional.

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Iittala

 

 

 
 

ARTEK

When Artek was founded in 1935, the idea was not just to sell furniture, but also to create an education platform that would present the apex of design, art, and technology to help people live modern and comfortable lives. They’ve been doing just that ever since.

Producing classes like the Aalto Stool 60 and Chair 66 (Alvar Aalto was one of the founders, alongside his wife, architect Aino Aalto), Artek has one of the most impressive and beloved Scandinavian portfolios of all time.

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ARTEK

 

 
 
 

Best Scandinavian Pendant Lamps, Ceiling Lamps, and Chandeliers

Louis Poulsen PH 5 Pendant

An absolute classic of Danish and Scandinavian design, the PH 5 Pendant was designed by Poul Henningsen (hence the PH) in 1958. The shades of the pendant are angled so that the light is not too bright, creating a lovely diffuse, but still significant, light source. Thanks to its clean, sharp lines, the PH 5 is typically used as a kitchen or dining area light. It comes in a range of colors and finishes to suit any style.

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Louis Poulsen PH 5 Pendant

 

 

 
 

Secto Design Octo 4240 Pendant

The wooden pendant by Finnish design brand Secto walks the line between organic and minimalist, for a true Finnish take on the warm minimalism aesthetic. The pendant itself is quite large, but the thin sections give it a light, barely-there feel. The pendant creates a warm, inviting light that is further warmed by the tone of the wood.

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Secto Design Octo 4240 Pendant

 

 
 
 

Nuura Apiales 9 Chandelier

Modern Scandinavian lighting is exemplified in Danish brand Nuura’s clean but soft forms. The Apiales 9 Chandelier, designed by Sofie Refer, has nine bulbs and a sleek design that somehow still feels soft thanks to its inspiration: a bouquet of flowers.

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Nuura Apiales 9 Chandelier

 

 

 
 

Vitra Akari 26 Pendant

Designed by Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi for Vitra starting in the 50s, there are over 100 Akari lamps now in production. They are handmade from bamboo ribbing and translucent washi paper, making them incredibly lightweight and delicate-looking.

The 26A is one of the most beloved designs for its simple but slightly quirky shape. The horizontal oblong means it fits into a number of spaces, even small ones, and works well over tables or beds.

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Vitra Akari 26 Pendant

 

 
 
 

Hem Dusk Pendant

Swedish brand Hem’s take on Scandinavian design is a blend of contemporary innovation and a love of classic shapes, wrapped up with a touch of humor. The Dusk pendant lamp is made from handblown glass in a shape reminiscent of old train stations or banks; a little bit glamorous, a little bit business-like.

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Hem Dusk Pendant

 

 

 
 

&Tradition Formakami JH5 Pendant

If you’ve been on Pinterest, or flipped through an interior design magazine in the last five years, you’ve probably seen this pendant lamp. Created by Jaime Haydon and inspired by Japanese lanterns, the JH5 pendant is a more geometric, heavy take on the classic lantern. Its unexpected shape and contrast banding gives it a modern look.

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&Tradition Formakami JH5 Pendant

 

 
 
 

Best Scandinavian Table Lamps

New Works Kizu Table Lamp

Designed by Lars Tornøe for Danish design brand New Works, the Kizu lamp is a study of contrasts. The large head balances seemingly precariously on the slim marble body. Actually, the lamp is very sturdy. It’s playful shape and sleek materiality has made it immediately popular with design-lovers around the world. The light itself is significant thanks to the large head, but not harsh.

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New Works Kizu Table Lamp

 

 

 
 

Iittala Putki Table Lamp

Finnish for “tube,” Putki is a cylindrical lamp made by master glassblower Matti Klenell in 2018 for Sweden’s National Museum. It is both eye-catching and subdued, with a warm copper glow thanks to the rippled, colored glass. The lamps can be used on the floor, on a table, or windowsill.

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Iittala Putki Table Lamp

 

 
 
 

Louis Poulsen PH 3 1/2 Lamp

Along with most of the Louis Poulsen PH collection, the 3 1/2 table lamp is a classic of Danish design that is as timeless as it is ubiquitous. It may be the perfect desk lamp, thanks to the shades that offer targeted light that’s not hard on the eyes.

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Louis Poulsen PH 3 1/2 Lamp

 

 

 
 

Nuura Blossi Table Lamp

A more modern and minimalist take on the PH table lamp above, the Blossi by contemporary Danish lighting brand Nuura has a light silhouette and a warm light. It’s a versatile piece that can be used anywhere in the house and adds a touch of glamor.

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Nuura Blossi Table Lamp

 

 
 
 

IKEA FORSA Writing Desk Lamp

It’s beloved for a reason! The FORSA is a classic work desk lamp. With it’s long, bendable body and concentrated light, it’s ideal for desks as well as bedsides. The price is right.

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IKEA FORSA Writing Desk Lamp

 

 

 
 

HAY Matin Table Lamp

Designed by French designer Inga Sempé for HAY, the Matin has become an instant design icon. With its retro sensibility thanks to the pleated shade and modern color palette, the Matin adds a little bit of fun to any space. It is also available as a sconce.

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HAY Matin Table Lamp

 

 
 
 

Vitra Lamp de Bureau

Made from a bent steel sheet, the Lamp de Bureau is ideal as lighting for desks; can’t you just imagine it in a large university library space? It was designed by Jean Prouvé in the 19030s but it remains as modern as ever.

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Vitra Lamp de Bureau

 

 

 
 

Design House Stockholm Mini Block Lamp

This one’s a bit of fun! Designed by Harri Koskinen in 1996, the Block Lamp is made of two clear glass blocks enclosing a light bulb; it looks like the bulb is stuck in ice. As a result, the light is soft and diffuse, but a bit colder than the typical Scandinavian lighting. Yes, it’s quirky, but it’s also beloved as a Scandinavian lighting design classic.

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Design House Stockholm Mini Block Lamp

 

 
 
 

Menu Torso Table Lamp

Want a serious table lamp? This is a serious table lamp. With its curvy ceramic base and classic textile shade, this lamp can be styled in a number of ways to suit any interior. It was designed for Menu by Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen and has a dimmer switch, so you can control the brightness of the light.

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Menu Torso Table Lamp

 

 

 
 

Ferm Living Vuelta Lamp

This playful lamp is inspired by the travertine columns of Ancient Greece, but adds a little bend for a fun silhouette. The light is quite diffuse, giving it a feeling of glowing rather than harsh light. This one looks great in a bookshelf, a kid’s room, or on a desk.

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Ferm Living Vuelta Lamp

 

 
 
 

Best Scandinavian Floor Lamps

Vitra Aalto A811 Floor Lamp

Designed by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto in 1965, this elegant floor lamp uses strips of metal on the shade to create a diffuse, warm light. The minimalist silhouette is contrasted with the richness of the material: glass, steel, and leather. A timeless piece that you’ll have for a lifetime.

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Vitra Aalto A811 Floor Lamp

 

 

 
 

Louis Poulsen Panthella Floor Lamp

The king of weird silhouettes, Verner Panton, designed the Panthella floor lamp in 1971. It comes in a range of sizes and colors, but the classic opal floor lamp is an icon of Danish design. It manages to be both playful and minimalist at the same time, and provides a glowing light that is suited to a wide swath of spaces.

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Louis Poulsen Panthella Floor Lamp

 

 
 
 

Northern Oslo Wood Floor Lamp

Modern without being trendy, this tripod floor lamp has fast become a design-world, and customer, favorite. The upward-facing cloth shade is attached by a gimbal, so it can be rotated in any direction. As the shade points up, it offers a diffuse glow that can be quite effective for providing light even in a large room.

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Northern Oslo Wood Floor Lamp

 

 

 
 

GUBI Grässhoppa Floor Lamp

A classic since its release in 1947, the Grässhoppa was designed by Swedish designer Greta Magnusson. The bell-shaped shade is reminiscent of a head, and is connected by a ball-joint to be easily adjustable. The thin tripod legs offer a bit of playfulness – as well as sturdiness – in an otherwise minimalist silhouette.

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GUBI Grässhoppa Floor Lamp

 

 
 
 

FDB Møbler U5 Hiti Floor Lamp

There’s something so charming about this floor lamp, designed by Australian Philip Bro and Icelander Dögg Guðmundsdóttir. It doesn’t pretend to be minimalist, yet it exemplifies Danish lighting design in a way that feels organic. The shape and size almost make it a piece of furniture in its own right, rather than lighting. You do need a bit of space to make this lamp work, but boy is it worth it!

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FDB Møbler U5 Hiti Floor Lamp

 

 

 
 

IKEA NYMÅNE Floor Lamp

Sleek and minimalist with a slight industrial edge, this floor lamp is ideal for those looking for a reading lamp next to the sofa, or some extra light in a room’s corner. The level of light packs a punch for the size, but it’s not overwhelming. A great price point for good quality and timeless design!

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IKEA NYMÅNE Floor Lamp

 

 
 
 

Best Scandinavian Portable Lamps

HAY Portable Table Lamp

A small lamp that’s ideal for gardens, balconies, kids’ rooms, or anywhere you need a bit of light. The design is playful and organic – it looks a bit like a mushroom – and it comes in a range of color options.

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HAY Portable Table Lamp

 

 

 
 

MENU Carrie Lamp

A portable lamp that’s more than just useful outdoor lighting; the Carrie lamp is truly beautiful lighting with added functionality. This is a great piece for parts of your home where you need lighting but may not have an outlet nearby.

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MENU Carrie Lamp

 

 
 
 

&Tradition Flowerpot VP9 Table Lamp

The Flowerpot, produced by &Tradition and designed by Verner Panton, is a classic of 60s lighting. Fun, with a sense of humor and a unique take on proportions, it has been beloved since its arrival. The lamp comes in a number of iterations, from table lamp to pendant. The newer VP9 portable version can be moved around at-will, which is ideal for a lamp like this because it brings a quirky pop of color and shape to any space.

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&Tradition Flowerpot VP9 Table Lamp

 

 

 
 

IKEA Storhaga Lantern

A straightforward-looking latern lamp that works well as outdoor lighting or as extra lighting for any occasion. You could even use them as candles and dot them around your space for a low-light glow in the colder months (definitely very hyggeligt.)

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IKEA Storhaga Lantern

 

 
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