So, you want a Scandinavian-style living room?
Maybe you simply want to
declutter. Maybe it’s the appeal of being able to enjoy fuss-free,
feet-up style relaxing at the end of your work day, or you’re
already minimalist but your living space is stark and sombre, rather
than inviting. Whatever your urge to go Scandi, here’s how to nail
it in your living room.
Colour tones, ambience
and general Scandi style
The Norwegian, Danish,
Swedish, Icelandic and Finnish interior decorating style – known
collectively as Scandinavian interiors – have a few easy-to-grasp
As there could be as little as
seven hours of daylight in these Nordic countries, everything is
about allowing as much light as possible inside. The aim here is
almost to bring the outside indoors through natural and mood
lighting. A deal-breaker lighting-wise in Scandinavian style is a
dark space, or a space harshly lit up with fluorescent bulbs.
Complementing the light, airy
aesthetic is a neutral or monochrome colour palette. Greenery is
often used as a highlight colour, as is dove-grey. Accent pastels,
provided only one pastel or so per space is incorporated, work well
Various textured accents are used
to create a warm ambience, along with mood lighting. This is
imperative to set off what could otherwise be overly harsh
Think sleek, functional,
space-optimised, inviting spaces.
living room – furnishing Dos and Dont’s
An updated, on-trend take
on Scandi style allows you to veer away from the strict neutral
parameters so you can incorporate copper, brass and rose-gold
accents, the emphasis being on ‘accent’. There are some basic
style principles that are best adhered to though:
Stick to lightwood floors and
neutral tiles as well as earthy, stoney colours. Do not go overly
earthy, as that is more Mediterranean than anything else.
Wall-to-wall living area carpeting
is a definite no-no. Create warmth with faux animal skin rugs,
natural-fibre rugs and the like.
When it comes to furniture,
lightwood chairs and cabinets, Ikea-style functionality, patio-style
ease; and rattan and cane wicker materials hit the mark. If you love
solid and ornate mahogany furniture, for example, this style is not
for you – one statement piece if you have to, but be sure to
completely balance out the heaviness in the rest of the space.
As for your walls,
keep them uncluttered and neutral, ivory or grey. It’s fine to add
a statement piece such as art or a few elegantly framed photos.
Remember though that symmetry is important, as is having only one
focal point, so keep the arrangement fairly conventional and neat.
Popular wall cladding features
include using a lightwood veneer, but stick to one texture. A
creative treatment such as a column of stone in the wall could add
warmth and panache.
As with all neutral spaces,
greenery in the form of indoor plants is always welcome.
Indoor plants are
particularly suited to Scandinavian interiors. Thanks to
photosynthesis, they improve the air quality in your space, so they
make for both beautiful and functional additions.
Always killing plants? Opt
for good qualify fake green ones, or have pots of flowers, if your
budget allows. An elegant flower choice that will last for about two
months is the pink or white potted phalaenopsis orchid. Remember
though that orchids tend to be the diva of the flower kingdom and are
likely to die after flowering if you don’t have the perfect indoor
conditions in which it can thrive.
You could always try these
Peace lilies and anthuriums –
medium light and most soil required
Boston fern – low light and
Aloe – not fussy at all; a hardy
succulent. Do not overwater.
English ivy – can tolerate high
light and grows very quickly; training it around a pillar could be a
style statement on its own.
Light is a critical
central feature in Scandinavian spaces. Opt for the biggest window
possible, and adorn the frames with sheer fabric or even no fabric at
all. Purchase triple-glazed windows if your budget allows. Heavy
drapery will clash with Scandinavian interior décor principles.
Candelabras, candles and
pendants add an inviting glow to the interior ambience, as do pendant
lights and mood lighting. The lighting could be the singular focal
point in your living room if you please.
Also exploit the art of
reflection. If you have a glass-topped table, why not position a
mirror nearby so as to create a play of reflecting light.
Opt for the highest raised ceiling
your budget allows, as well as exposed beams.
Incorporate texture touches such
as sheepskin, mohair, wool or leather.
Reclaimed timber makes for great
Scandi-style furnishings. Alternatively, if you have oak or pine
furniture, strip away any lacquer, sand it down and then add a
Incorporate floating shelves
rather than traditional ones, and keep them clutter-free.
The Scandinavians are surprisingly
fond of outdoor, barbeque-style dining, even if just a small outdoor
space is utilised. Open up your living room onto an equally earthy
and understate outdoor grill patio area. Think Australian or South
African barbeque areas, but on a scaled-down level.
Concept modern fireplaces encased
in stone or concrete are a feature of every Scandi living space.
However, it should be in a discreet nook rather than acting as the
stand-out feature. Think of the fireplace as the unobtrusive but
welcome guest, rather than the life of the party.
The more enviro-friendly in
general, the better. Scandinavian living is consciously kind to the
designer and decorators − find interior designers and decorators in
Stuck with your
Scandinavian style project? Our handy guide of local interior decorators will make sure you
don’t miss the mark!