What is Scandinavian Style Interior Design?
You probably already know exactly how this prominent style feels. The Scandi style interiors are clean, inviting, beautiful and timeless. But what actually is Scandi style? And how we do incorporate it into our homes? In this guide, we explore the Scandinavian design principles to help you understand how the look is created so that you too can create this beautiful, practical interior style in your home.
The Scandinavian design movement began in the early 20th century, mixing old and new styles from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Norway. In Scandinavia, industrialization came later than much in Europe and, as a result, Scandinavian style blends contemporary design with more traditional craftsmanship. The style is simple and minimal with a strong focus on form, function and quality. At its heart, Scandinavian style centres on uncomplicated yet impactful ways of improving daily life, adding subtle design flair to the everyday.
How to bring Scandi style into your home
1. Less is more
Keep it simple, clean lines and white space help to create the sense of calm associated with Scandi style interiors. One thing a Scandinavian room is definitely not? Cluttered. That being said, rather than going full-whack into the ultra-minimalist life, aim for lagom, a Swedish term that means “in-between” or “just right.” It’s not too much, nor not too little. Keep walls and surfaces fairly clear and let a few well-considered pieces of furniture and decorative accessories do the talking. Scandinavian furniture, lighting, and home accessories items should have a contemporary, striking look while remaining relatively minimal and not too ornate.
Discover our favourite Scandinavian Furniture Designs
2. Light is key
Natural daylight is scarce for Scandinavians during the long winter months. With this in mind, rather than using colours that will absorb light, Scandinavian interiors are carefully considered to maximize natural light and let it bounce around the room.
As so much of the year is spent without a lot of natural light, it’s also important to pay attention to artificial lighting for a Scandi scheme. A range of dimmable ceiling, wall, floor and table lights helps create an inviting ambience. You probably won’t use them all at once, but a layered lighting scheme is a great way to introduce a little ‘hygge’ into your space.
3. Balance of functionality and comfort
With Scandinavian interiors, furniture should be both functional and comfortable. It’s helpful to really consider how a piece of furniture will function within your space and in your daily life. Opt for designs that will enhance your lifestyle, look beautiful and make you feel comfortable. Often the most functional designs are multi-purpose, for example, a stool that can also be used as a side table.
The quote, « have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful » sums this approach up perfectly.
4. Quality over quantity
It’s all about embracing those clean lines, the « less is more » approach and Scandinavia’s rich heritage of craftsmanship. By taking a leaf out of the Scandi design philosophies and investing in quality, well-crafted items you’re going to build a collection of furniture, lighting and home accessories that will last you a lifetime. By buying authentic originals (which is all you’ll find at Utility) you’re also ensuring designers can keep on designing, workers are paid fairly and waste is kept at a minimum.
Furniture and lighting designs from the mid-century play a big part in the Scandinavian style we see today. Designs from Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Charles & Ray Eames are synonymous with the style.
5. Muted colour palette
Bearing in mind the need for light, Scandi interiors opt for light and warm colours for your furniture and walls. This doesn’t have to be white, it could also be grey, beige, cream or gently greyed down colours like blue or green. This applies to the flooring as well as the walls and ceilings. In Scandinavian homes, floorboards are often white-washed or in very pale timbers creating even more light.
If you love colour don’t despair! Introduce accent colours with artworks and accessories. You can also introduce colour with natural materials, which nicely leads us onto…
7. Introduce natural elements
When working with a very simple light colour palette, it’s best to incorporate as many natural finishes as possible. With a pared-back, minimal aesthetic, the visual interest comes from layers of varying textures. Think wooden furniture, wool blankets, cotton rugs, marble tabletops and of course a few houseplants! These natural elements are an important part of the look and help to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Don’t forget the flooring! Scandinavians rarely install carpets, preferring to work with either natural stone or wood for their flooring, using rugs to add warmth.
7. Texture & warmth
As we just mentioned, the muted Scandi style backdrop is softened with layers of texture. To increase those ‘hygge’ vibes, add items that remind you of warmth and comfort. Think cosy candles, soft blankets, and tactile cushions. If you have a fireplace, make this a focal point of the room. Surround yourself with things you love, personal touches that give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside!
Browse our collection of Scandinavian furniture, lighting and home accessories here.
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