Saying “Less is more” defines the Scandinavian interior design.
What is with those Scandinavian people, anyway? Hmmm … Maybe all this time they have to spend inside during long northern winters helps to account for the fact that everybody in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden has an absolutely perfect home. Scandinavian homes are renowned for their simplicity, utility, and elegance.
We would like to present you some tricks you can use to gain such super-stylish look in your interiors.
A bit of history
Scandinavian design was born in the 1930s and belongs to modernism, a movement characterized by functionalism and simple forms, that he tried to humanize by using natural materials (leather, wood, etc.) and to democratize by using advanced techniques to manufacture objects in series at reasonable prices. Scandinavian design is supposed to improve our daily life and that’s why many designers focus on the interiors: furniture, textiles, lighting, dishes, etc.
The first golden age of Scandinavian design is a period between the 1930s and 1970s. Its main founders are Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, Alvar Aalto, Borge Mogensen, Poul Henningsen and Verner Panton. They have created the model and set of basic values which are still valid in Scandinavian design: functionality, reliability, durability but also less material values such as equality, simplicity, joy, daily pleasure. Scandinavian interiors are arranged in total agreement with these values. Let’s see now how these beautiful spaces are created.
Shades of white: ivory, vanilla, eggshell, cream, champagne …
A restrained color palette with an emphasis on white is one of the elementary aspects of Scandinavian decor. Greys, browns and blacks are also very popular. All these colors create a clean and calming look. Walls are painted white allowing for furniture and other objects to captivate.
Never too much wood
Scandinavia is one of the most forested parts of the world so there is nothing unusual in the fact that timber is commonly found in the design of homes there. Wood panels, wood floors, wood furniture. Natural wood is harmonious with bright Scandinavian color schemes. It adds warmth to a room and makes it a welcoming place to stay in.
A touch of nature
In Scandinavia is very often too cold to go outside so people bring nature indoors as much as possible, trying to beat the winter blues. Different elements of nature such as flowers, plants or even dried bouquets and branches are present in all Scandinavian homes.
Let the light in
With 60 days or more of Polar Nights, good lighting is crucial in everyday life. Scandinavians open their homes to light with big, floor-to-ceiling windows and they get rid of all unnecessary window treatments. Blinds and heavy drapes make a room darker by blocking light. If somebody doesn’t like bare windows, can try sheer fabric which diffuses light and doesn’t block it.
Without a sauna, a home is not a home
As Finns say: “Two places are holy: church and sauna”. Saunas are part of the Scandinavian lifestyle. Only in Finnland, there are over two million saunas (it’s the only country in the world which has more saunas than cars!), so hop into this relaxing cultural pastime by creating a sauna within the privacy of your own home. If you are going to use some public sauna in this country, remember that such places involve taking off all your clothes; naked bathing is a key feature of Finish sauna culture.
Add a fireplace
Scandinavian winters are long and quite cold, so a fireplace is a must! In the past, fireplaces were supposed to provide warmth and a place to cook. In modern homes their functionality is not so important, they have become a bit more of an artful focal point, cool design element. How do they look like? For example in Sweden, a fireplace usually resembles a column. It’s basically a white, round chimney pipe and the top of it features a crown, in the spirit of the monarchies traditions.
In such harsh climate countries, it’s nothing surprising that part of the decor comes in the form of various warm textiles like wool, soft cotton, sheep skins and mohair throws. They add another layer of texture to the interior and provide a feeling of coziness and warmth.
Furniture – less is definitely more
Scandinavian furniture is a perfect marriage of beautiful simplicity and practicality. The simplicity of tables, chairs and other objects is achieved through gentle curves, right angles and minimal use of decorative flourishes. This furniture is designed to make our daily life much easier, which means for example that is’s easy to assemble (according to Ikea within just five minutes!). Like it was already mentioned, wood is basic material typical for Scandinavian interiors and it is commonly used also in furniture production. Other natural materials, like leather and furs, are also popular.
Scandinavia with its natural views and beautiful homes is certainly a tempting place to live, but not everybody is able to move to Sweden, Norway, Finland or Denmark. However, we can try to mimic the Scandinavian design within our own homes. All you need is to follow our design rules presented above. Scandinavian design is achievable no matter where you live!