Marrying understated elegance with an appealing functionality, Scandinavian design gives a home a sense of soulful simplicity. Here’s how to add a touch of Scandi style to your interiors.
Last year, we all went mad for Hygge – a Danish concept, which roughly translates as ‘the art of cosiness and little pleasures’ (think: scented candles, warm throws and roaring fires). This year, a cooler sensibility is set to nudge Hygge off its pinnacle. Lagom, a Swedish term, meaning ‘not too little, not too much, just right’, is all about balance, and is the perfect philosophy for creating a beautiful home.
Bright, light and airy are the cornerstones of Scandinavian design. When it comes to a colour palette, it’s all about playing it cool with white, black and blues dominating the look.
“Muted mid-tones, grey, caramel or soft blue, are restful, yet stimulating and help to create a clean and balanced design,” says Kasia Wiktorowicz at Valspar Paint, available at B&Q. “Chalky whites also blend quietly with these colours so you are left with a calming interior that will rejuvenate your mind after a busy day.”
Flooring is a good route for adding some warmth to a room with a cool colour scheme. Carpetright’s Carousel carpet in Aqua sets the tone perfectly, as does the brand’s Triangle Scandi Rug – cosy on scrubbed floorboards.
When it comes to furniture – look for clean lines and classic design. Wharfside’s Danish Retro coffee tables and sideboards add an instant style statement. Meanwhile, Neptune’s stand-alone cabinets and dressers in shades of white or grey are perfect for kitchens. Of course, nothing says Nordic as much as an open fire does and Morso’s log burners are an atmospheric addition to a living room.
Alicia Zimnickas, interior designer and owner of Cambridge-based AZ Interiors, gives her advice: “Clean lines, natural materials and lots of light are key. Remember: ‘less is more, but not too little’ is the primary ethos of Scandi cool.”
GET THE LOOK
Eliza Miller, Interior Designer at Arcadia Home Interiors, gives her three tips for achieving a Scandi look
Whitewashed floors and painted furniture keep interiors bright– essential in long, dark Nordic winters.
Add interest to a simple room scheme with textural sheepskin rugs, faux fur cushions and pendant lighting in stainless steel or glass.
Gather around a flame – inside or out – to bring to life the Scandi concept of ‘your home is your sanctuary’.
Keep bedrooms soft and inviting. Go for neutral colour schemes – soft greys, chalky pinks and cool blues. Add textures and layers by using candles, cosy bedspreads and pillows. Casual contrasting in tonal colours works well – look to Vanessa Arbuthnott’s Swedish Collection range of textiles – inspired by Nordic colours and motifs – for a subtle clashing effect.
Darren Marcangelo, co-founder of mattress experts, Herdysleep, says: “Adopt a soft palette of tonal whites, creams and warm greys to generate a soothing environment in the bedroom. Consider layering chunky knitted throws and cushions with sophisticated linens. Lastly, team this with a hand-finished and traditionally-tufted Herdysleep mattress for a peaceful night’s sleep.”
Lighting is key to create atmosphere. Vita Copenhagen’s small Acorn pendants are perfect for hanging either side of a bed. A fuss-free look is essential, so do away with ornate curtains and go for a crisp look with shutters. Shutterly Fabulous offers an affordable range of colours and styles as does The Shutter Store. Go for an all-white look or opt for a pop of colour to make the windows the room’s focal point.
Claire Hornby, creative stylist for Barker and Stonehouse which offers a range of furniture and home accessories that fit the Scandi theme, gives her take: “Characterised by clean lines, minimalistic styling and natural textures, a Scandi approach to decorating has taken the interiors world by storm in recent years. White backdrops will help to maximise natural light, and will come to life when styled with cosy sheepskin throws, geometric prints and organic materials.”
Three ways to achieve a Nordic sleep by Sandie Wallman, founder of Nordic House
Don’t share! Scandinavians each have their own king single duvet which allows you to choose the right one for your individual needs.
Thoughtful. Bedrooms should be a sanctuary so remember the “just the right amount” ethos of Lagom when you decorate a room.
Layering. Scandinavians use lots of texture in the home and especially in the bedroom – use cushions, throws and rugs.
From cosy winter feasts over laden tables to relaxed, al fresco dining once summer arrives, the Scandinavian approach to eating is all about focusing on those special moments with family and friends.
Start with a timeless table. French furniture company PIB‘s eclectic range features Scandinavian retro, vintage and industrial-style tables. “Scandinavian vintage furniture is iconic and timeless,” says the company’s co-owner Thomas d’Estienne d’Orves. “It never goes out of fashion as it’s so simple and elegant.”
Then, invest in some nostalgic Swedish enamel and porcelain tableware, courtesy of Isak. Its Midnattssol (Midnight Sun) range of eco-friendly home accessories is inspired by Nordic heritage. Sandra Isaksson, Isak’s Swedish founder and designer, says: “Enamel and wood are perfect materials for al fresco dining because they are durable and practical. The Midnattssol collection is a reflection of how I live with my family. We are very connected to nature and often cook on the beach or in the forest, we grow our own vegetables and we like to forage, pickle and preserve.”
My top ten Scandi home accessories
Geometric Glass Lantern, £30, Nordic House
Norway Blue Cushion, £55, PIB
Midnattsol Burchwood Round Tray, £28, Isak
Petals Dusty Pink Decorative Bowl, £49, Be and Liv
Stockholm Ceiling Lamp In Metallic Brass By Madam Stoltz, £165, Ovo Home
Log and Kindling Table with Wooden Top, £319, Angela Reed
Tress Lampshade, £85, Sianelin
Montana Stool, £99, Barker and Stonehouse
Design Project No 021 Throw in Evergreen Grey, £120, John Lewis
Koivukuja Lichen Fabric £19.90 per metre, Vallila
This article is also published in the May 2017 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine