Scandinavian design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What is the Scandinavian style?

Before the rest of the world was privy to the now coveted Scandinavian style, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland), were producing a style of design that fused functionality and aesthetics together long before it was discovered as a “trend”. It was only in the 1950s that the greater population caught onto the fact that attractive, good quality design could be produced on a large scale. The focus was on locally sourced materials, outstanding craftsmanship and of course, practicality. If you think about the climatic conditions of these countries, nine months of winter is followed by three months of summer, so it is imperative that the homes of Northern Europeans felt warm and intimate in an attempt to escape the reality of the blistering cold outside. As a culture, in Denmark in particular, they are obsessed with the notion of ‘Hygge’, which loosely translates into English as the sensation of being and feeling cosy in ones own surroundings.

Furthermore, in a society where egalitarianism is favoured by both government and people, it is essential that homes and interior design products were accessible and affordable for everyone. It is from these ideals that the Scandinavian style was born, and it is precisely the reason why it has flourished and lasted through a myriad of changing fashion and trends.

What characterises the Scandinavian style? And how does it differ from modern design?

The Scandinavian style is characterised by clean lines, quality material textures and simple, functional design. The line between modern and Scandinavian design has blurred in recent years, with the terms being used interchangeably. It must be pointed out that although the ideals of both do indeed run alongside one another, they are, to a degree, quite different. Scandinavian design employs more texture and exposed material finishes. The idea is to create a functional space that feels lived-in, homely and warm. This is usually achieved by leaving wood grain, raw metal or stone finishes exposed, and by using material textures such as wool, linen and leather. Colour is not commonly used, with schemes and palettes being neutral and earthy.

How do I bring the Scandinavian style into my home?

The hype for Scandinavian style interiors at the present time is huge, and it is very easy to bring it into your own home. If you follow the principles below (some of which have been mentioned above), you will be on track to creating the perfect Scandinavian style home:

- Choose warm and cosy textiles and fabrics

- Pay homage to nature, and leave materials in their most raw and unadulterated state

- Try to limit the colour palette to no more than three tones, ensuring that they are pale, neutral and complementary

- All rooms should have a practical use, maximising each square metre through clever space saving solutions

- Make the most of natural light and scenery through correct orientation and high quality glazing