The ‘Scandi-look’ is what I have requests for from a lot of my clients, they love the style and the feeling it evokes. The pure simplicity of clean lines and pared back elegance makes the space warm and inviting and is usually functional and minimal. The use of muted tones and earthy materials such as wood is a must for Scandinavian inspired homes.
What properties do you need to instil in your space for this look to work? Here I talk about a few key elements that you should think about changing up for this look to work!
Natural, earthy tones have pride of place in one of these homes, think pale but warm woods but don’t go towards pine (it’s too yellow). It has to be subtle to be Scandi-inspired and fit the look. Nature is celebrated in all its beauty and so wooden floors are always always the preferred option. Add some potted plants to your interior to further infuse nature.
Materials – add texture and warmth
There is a strong emphasis on using cotton, wool and linen rather than synthetics where fabrics are used and even this should be kept to a bare minimum. Think about bold, geometric patterns on cushions and rugs; be they chevrons, strips or squares. Flowery just doesn’t cut it in this look. Wood across floors and furniture is still a fixed requirement and you can never have too much!
Keep the geometry simple, that isn’t to be read as ‘don’t use curves’ but don’t have busy, fussy lines all over the space. Generally open plan living is the best type of space, this is in keeping with practical multifunctional spaces that can be used by the whole family.
The preference is for white and muted colours, these make the space look generous and keeping walls, cabinetry and other large pieces in the same tonal range make the space appear larger than it is. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use colour; rugs, vases, artwork, cushions and other accessories in bright shades can add character and personality to a space and will actually make them stand out more than if you had a busy, colourful interior as a base already.
Functional and liveable interior
The main focus of Scandinavian design is to improve the day to day functionality in daily life and to make life easier for you. So if you have to get inside a cupboard, to get inside a drawer to open the box to get a spoon it’s a completely un-Scandinavian way to live. The open plan model is one that is embraced by Scandinavians and lovers of the style. Make the open plan space work for you and allow you to complete daily tasks with ease so that it is a way of living.
Strong, bold and clean lines in furniture with a big focus on multifunctional items is Scandinavian. Again wood is the principal material used. There are some iconic mid-century furniture pieces that you can invest in and they lend themselves extremely well to this look. Examples of these include;
- The Eames Chair, by Charles and Ray Eames
- The Poet Sofa, by Finn Juhl
- The Egg Chair, by Arne Jacobsen
Do you remember seeing any of these? Do you like the look? Some are still available and are very popular, even just as focal pieces for the space.
Fireplace in the corner of a room
The cold is big factor in Scandinavian countries and so they always like to have a nice fire, whether that be open or closed. If you don’t have a fireplace or working chimney it’s not a problem, there are some great freestanding fireplaces that have no requirements other than access to power. The key is to have said fireplace offset in the space and not aligned centrally like we do here in Britain, it isn’t meant to be a feature but to keep the space warm and allow functionality around it.
Merge the inside and outside
Diffusing the line between inside and outside is so easy to do now, think of those nice, nearly frameless bi-fold doors that you can just open up the space and be instantly outside. I am finding that clients love having that freedom to move into and out of both zones and I try to design with this in mind. Knowing that the weather is unpredictable in the UK means extra precautions have to be put in place for all eventualities, but I think that is part of the fun!
Declutter and minimise your accessorising of any interior
Keep your space focused! I have boxes full of nice display items but I could never have it all out cluttering the space up. I regularly curate each of my rooms to make sure there is a different focal point from a piece of artwork on my walls to authentic chopsticks from a trip to Beijing or my original digeridoo bought all the way back from Australia. I do always collect items of interest because I know that they will have their day and be out for all to see. Sometimes though, the hard part is determining what a keeper is and what something to just get rid of is. More on that in another post though. There are also some really lovely inspired pieces out there, you just have to find the right suppliers!
Light and airy
Natural light is increased by any means necessary. Windows are generously proportioned. Window treatments, if used at all, are kept sheer or translucent. Mirrors are placed strategically to visually expand the space and reflect any available ambient light. The dominant colour palette is generally a light-reflecting neutral.
So actually, to completely overhaul what you have in your space currently and adopt a Scandinavian way of living isn’t so hard, in fact it could be the best thing you did, a way of living’ rather than just creating a look. Do you think its something you want to replicate? Will you be taking your space apart? Be great to hear your thoughts.