Those familiar with the various types of interior design styles will agree that there is something to be said for the less-is-more look. But where the minimalist style tends to focus on empty space, the Scandinavian design opts for adding in some colour and character via a blend of textures, soft hues, and inviting furnishings / décor pieces.
The end result? A beautiful room that still only holds the most important pieces (meaning no valuable space is wasted), but which doesn’t look and feel like a ‘look, don’t touch’ design. Instead, one is immediately made to feel welcome and cosy.
So, how do the Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians (and, to some extent, the Icelanders) accomplish this inviting look with Scandinavian décor? The same way you’re going to achieve it…
First thing to know about Scandinavia? It’s very, very cold up there! Thus, the last thing those people want to see when they enter their homes are surfaces and finishes that are cold to the touch.
That is what makes warm textiles a must-have for Scandinavian décor. From throws and carpets to cushions and blankets, think of where in your Nordic-style space can you bring in wool, sheepskin, or mohair (or other equally warm-and-comfortable fabrics). Laying down a few warm textiles is the perfect way of making a Scandinavian-style space look and feel cosy and inviting.
➣Read more: Enhance your Home With Textiles
The Scandinavian look is all about simplicity. So, get creative with those decorative accents and go with the ones that flaunt simple designs.
Perhaps you have a window seat that can do with a few scatter cushions and a throw? Or a coffee table that can be styled up an elegant ceramic vase, a runner and a potted plant? Simple geometric prints are sure to grab attention, but don’t mix and match a plethora of different prints – keep it calm and casual.
Contrary to sunny South Africa, lots of sunshine is not common in Scandinavia, especially in winter. So, do what you can to usher in generous amounts of sunshine to (literally) highlight those minimalist colour palettes, cosy accents and striking modern furniture. We’re thinking large windows, glass doors, open-style spaces to spread more light around, etc.
Don’t overlook Mother Nature’s touch when choosing Scandinavian décor. A few indoor plants and flowers can be just the thing for that extra touch of character, especially with glass or geometric-shaped potters.
Scandinavians love to use lots of wooden elements in their interiors, not only for the floors but also in their furniture and fixtures. So, when copying the Scandinavian style, be prepared to bring in lots of wooden coffee tables and chairs.
In recent years, the Scandinavian design has opted to bring in a touch of metallic finishes as well, such as copper sconces and brass pendants in a wooden ceiling, or stainless steel faucets added to a wooden vanity in the bathroom. A touch of glimmer and shine never hurt anyone, right? Plus, those metallic surfaces are great for helping to reflect and spread the light around.
Although Scandinavian interiors veer more towards the modern side, they often like to include a slight mash-up of periods and styles. It adds to the layered and cosy look you’re going for.
In this kitchen, for instance, industrial-style lighting was added to the Nordic-looking kitchen. Does it subtract from the overall clean-and-tranquil look of the cooking space? No. Does it add functionality and ensure a more illuminated space for working? Yes. Does it enhance the overall design of the kitchen? Most definitely!
Greys, off-whites, browns and blacks make up the majority of Scandinavian colour palettes. Thus, whether you’re styling up a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or hallway in your home, be sure to focus on these neutral colours for the backdrop. And your walls should be white (or off-white) in order to make the furniture and décor pieces become more prominent.
However, don’t be scared to sprinkle a few bright spots around in the form of a singular scatter cushion, a few coffee mugs on the floating shelf, or a floor rug in the corner – it adds to the character.
➣Read more: Calming colors that will perfect your home
The Nordic people are experts at making a space intended for relaxing (like a bedroom and living room) seem cosy and inviting. And their secret is layers.
For a Scandinavian-style bedroom, this often includes a blend of linen sheets, fluffy blankets, plus a few scatter cushions (often in muted tone-on-tone tints).
And don’t forget to add iconic lighting which, in Scandinavian bedrooms, is often fixed to the ceiling or walls to make a modern statement.
To make those bits of colours, geometric shapes and inviting textures come to life you’re going to need to scale down on your choice of Scandinavian décor pieces. That means keeping spaces free of clutter and committing to keeping storage areas smartly organised. (Read more: 8 things to know about Swedish Death Cleaning)
Remember, the “less is more” mantra rings very true with the Scandinavian style.
We’ve got more where these tips came from; see how you can Style Your Home Like A Scandinavian.