In the past ten years or so, anybody who has taken a quick look at a fashion magazine, or happened to be looking over somebody’s shoulder while they were scrolling through Instagram, will have encountered Scandinavian design. Even though it had become popular across the world in the 1950s, its sway on modern-day interior decorating can still be seen, and its singular, combination of sleek and cozy style still captures the hearts of those who favor minimalism.
In countries that aren’t part of the Nordic region, Scandinavian design tends to be found in places where there is a strong focus on craftsmanship – like a café that has specialized in artisanal coffee – or in environments where it is best to keep things tidy and organized, such as home kitchens. These spaces are luxuriously spare, thoughtful, and warm. They are just right.
SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN EXPLAINED
The principles of great Scandinavian design have always been appreciated, yet now more than ever. We spoke to professionals to determine what aspects of Scandinavian design give it such a powerful impact and to get insight into where it stands in the present.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN?
Nordic countries brought forth Scandinavian design in the 1900s. Though it shares similarities with modernism, this style is characterized by a basic look and a Nordic feeling.
Maija Rasila, an interior architect at the Scandinavian furniture store Finnish Design Shop, expresses her design philosophy: “It should be clean, straightforward, and most importantly, it should be practical.” Scandinavian design is rarely driven by appearance alone; instead, the utility of the piece serves as the primary impetus in the design process.
Can’t picture it? Scandinavian design slides gently into rooms just like a wooden spoon would slide into milk. Imagine a room with a light, airy feel, characterized by plain walls, straight edges, and not a lot of stuff. There are streaks of minimalism here, no doubt. However, whereas minimalist interiors are close to severe, Scandinavian designs tend toward tranquility – with a preference for natural components and illumination from the sun, an inviting ambiance is created.
Nina Bruun, based in Copenhagen and in charge of the Nina Bruun Design Studio, acknowledges that the winter is lengthy and very darker in the year, leading to the population putting a large amount of focus into making their homes comfier as they invest much more energy indoors. We attempt to construct a warm, inviting (you all understand the concept of hygge, which is what I am talking about here) and bright atmosphere.
The inhabitants of Nordic nations invest a great deal of their day inside, and thus, the atmosphere around them influences their feelings and health significantly. Those white walls you’ve seen in Scandi-Cool spaces? They have a purpose. Surfaces that are white act to boost the amount of light in areas where there is not a lot of natural light, specially during times of the year when days are shorter and winters are more extended. The overall brightness brings warmth to every corner. What this means is that the design focuses on creating areas with open airiness where practicality is a priority and mess is not allowed; lights furnishings and adaptable arrangements increase the feeling of ease and relaxation that suits any situation.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS OF SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN?
Maija Rasila of Finnish Design Shop insists that wood is the most important factor of Scandinavian design. It is commonly found in neutral colors like oak, birch, and pine, and is an essential fixture in the Scandinavian interior design scene and the pieces that go with it.
In conventional Scandinavian design, natural wood is presented on bare floors and simplified furniture, which creates contrast with neutral and light colored walls. The Nordic love of nature and the outdoors is mirrored in the preference they have for organic materials and is evident when looking at Scandinavian interiors.
Scandinavian design gets much of its influence from the natural elements of the Nordic landscape, including woodland, plus soothing colors and materials like linen, wool and stone. Rasila emphasizes that it’s essential to use authentic materials and have understated aesthetics.
Scandinavian Interior Design Characteristics
- Influences: Local organizations, such as the long-established Swedish Society of Industrial Design, influenced this philosophy with a mission to encourage design that the general people might appreciate. Social developments in Europe at the time had a significant impact on such aims. Although the designs were democratic and intended for the public, they were not stripped of all beauty to make them as simple to use as possible, which was a novel idea at the time. Scandinavian architecture style was recognized for necessity of this equilibrium early on and have maintained it ever since.
- Features: With the foundation of The Lunning Prize in the 1950s, the distinctive components that came to characterize the Nordic style- minimalist white walls, wood flooring, and modern decor began to take form. The Scandinavian design incorporates a range of ideas and features to create a balance between utility, modernity, and comfort. Designers exploited negative space to their advantage, making room layouts straightforward with a minimalistic approach to the number of components needed.
- Colors and Materials: The Scandinavian interior design is more than just form-bent wood furniture in varying hues of white and patterns and shapes inspired by nature. Colorful splashes have long been a staple of Nordic home design. Scandinavian design uses white walls to emphasize light. A neutral-heavy palette is fused with pops of color.
WHAT ABOUT SCANDINAVIAN FURNITURE?
To create a space that is both versatile and attractive, Scandinavian design’s reliance on plain lines and natural components in mid-century furnishings has made it a classic of craftsmanship.
Maija Rasila, an interior architect with Finnish Design Shop – an organization specializing in Finnish and Scandinavian furniture – exclaimed that the Scandinavian design identity has a solid footing in their distinguished furniture design tradition. ‘Our pioneers and designer icons — e.g. The four esteemed designers – Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen and Alvar Aalto – were pioneers by merging traditional artisanal aspects with contemporary minimalistic gestures in a novel fashion.
The impacts of Scandinavian-style furniture, particularly the mid-century designs that have impressed people in Europe and America, can still be seen to an extent in present-day furniture designs. Without a doubt, you are familiar with Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chair – a sleek piece of furniture, characterized by a gracefully curved back, inviting bentwood armrest, and a seatcrafted from paper cord rope, stitched in an envelope shape. Arne Jacobsen, a Finnish architect and designer, designed the Stool 60, the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality. It can be used as a stool or a side table, and the three “L” shaped legs make it able to be stacked. It would be impossible to overlook the famous Egg Chair, designed by Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen, which is widely recognized as the first item of furniture ever created using a resilient foam interior shell.
Sigmar’s Thott and Nina Hertig claim that there was a connection between architecture and furniture in the 20th century, as many architects were involved in designing these items. The concept of the edifice and its interior as one harmonious work of art was central and assisted in developing the part of furniture — plus other components — within the up-and-coming architecture.
History of Scandinavian Design
For centuries, Scandinavians have highly regarded practices of ecological design before it was popular. Despite the prominence of Scandinavia in the 17th century, it has often been poor and disconnected from the rest of the world due to the challenges of interacting with other countries. This battle caused design to be tailored to areas, with factories and craftsmen using the materials that were native to their environment for one-of-a-kind products. This style of art began at the end of the 1800s and start of the 1900s, and has been well received globally. The secret behind achieving greatness in Nordic design is its incorporation of humanistic beliefs.
During the period of Napoleon’s rule, Scandinavian design was once more shaped by tangible aspects like darker woods and the mainstreaming of furniture for military campaigns. The Arts and Crafts movement saw a new interpretation of it. During a time of great hardship, with one fifth of the population of Sweden relocating to America due to poverty, starvation and appalling living conditions, the people were motivated to protect their national customs and architecture. This led to a resurgence of Swedish culture, where classic elements were combined with modern minimalism and individual touches.
The founding of IKEA during World War II sparked the development of the mid-century minimalist design style. This underlined the main concepts of Scandinavian style, which are making components fit the body, giving each element an identifiable purpose, and making design accessible to anyone.
Tips for Designing Scandinavian Homes
Scandinavian interior design has the power to give one a feeling of worth and happiness regardless of what stage of life they are in. Individuals are instinctively drawn to Scandinavian furnishings and designs due to their attractive and pleasant high-quality textures.
Blend Metallic in Accents and Finishes
The idea of having fewer items to start with is associated with keeping a room uncluttered. In Scandinavian home decor, there is a focus on minimalism with little to no embellishments. There is no negative opinion regarding the employment of walls without decorations and unfilled spaces. Wood can be included in the design of a room by having walls, wood panels, and wood flooring. Handcrafted wooden playthings, for example the esteemed Kay Bojesen wooden monkey that was presented in 1951, can be deployed as amusing accents in home décor.
Recently, Scandinavian interior design has been adding a combination of metal and wood components in its designs. Wooden ceilings can be adorned with copper sconces and brass pendants in order to add a hint of sparkle and shine to the area.
Neutral and Natural Palettes
A neutral-heavy color palette is common in Scandinavian design. Given that Northern Europe’s winters are typically lengthy and dismal, Nordic design typically incorporates whites, grays, and tans to give a space a continuous and cheerful ambiance. Strong shades of blue and other eye-catching colors are regularly used.
Wood is the most popular choice for wall claddings and ceiling designs to bring a cozy, textured atmosphere to the room.
Sleek and Clean-lined Furniture
Designers from the mid-century, like Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto, and Arne Jacobsen, have made a lasting impression in the sphere of Scandinavian architecture and furniture; their artistry is still admired and celebrated even generations later. When using furniture for a Scandinavian design, it should be apparent that the lines are straight and neat. The Scandinavian furniture should be smooth and curvy, such as tables, chairs, sofas and other items.
Lighting is the main key in Scandinavian interior designs.
In Scandinavian design, the need to incorporate lighting is paramount, due to the limited amount of sunshine it receives during the winter months, which can be as low as seven hours. During winter, people tend to be indoors more often since sunlight is for a limited time. It is essential to consider different forms of illumination when arranging a Scandinavian room, not only to generate a friendly and inviting atmosphere, but also to help elevate one’s spirits.
Blend of Textures and Patterns
Interior designs of Scandinavian origin are characterized by comfortable blends of textures and patterns, featuring simple furniture and muted grayish colors that can give off the vibe of being both cozy and welcoming. A pleasant combination of different fabrics, such as the kilim carpet and the sheepskin, makes for a cozy and inviting environment.
Scandinavians love experimenting with different designs. The designs are extremely striking. The emphasis is on recognizing design elements that are characteristic of functionalism, which can then be combined with wood flooring and fabrics.
WHY IS SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN SO POPULAR?
You can’t deny the influence of Scandinavian furniture on the modern home decor trend – IKEA has a major influence in bringing a more current variation of the style worldwide. Furthermore, mid-century designs often help give a space a Scandinavian feel, and will prove to be a worthwhile investment for those looking for furniture pieces.
According to Nina Bruun, by using basic shapes like circles, squares and lines as well as a minimalistic style, we can create designs and interiors that are easy for people to understand and connect with. This approach can also keep people from becoming tired of the design quickly. I can see it in the things I have created, like art prints from Paper Collective and rugs from Menu design. Reflecting on the past, the people of Scandinavia have always been inquisitive and consistently focused on pushing limits with various techniques and materials, which has brought more and more attention to this part of the world.
Given that Scandinavian design began having an impact in the 1950s, it has had a long time to progress. In the years that followed, designers chose to add a bit of color, which is still evident today. This serves to contrast — and work in tandem — with other more robust interior designs trending today.