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The Scandinavian design style alludes to comfort and enriching one’s life by creating a cozy and warm environment. For people that love minimal color, this style is perfect. Tidiness, the focus on natural light, simplicity, inspiration from nature, and decluttered design are why Scandinavian has become popular among people worldwide. Not only is this style great for cool climates, but it is also beautiful, affordable, and allows for more light to flow throughout the space. Benefits include creating an airy and livable home that maximizes warmth and comfortability.
COLORS & TONES
A neutral color palette with mainly white and sometimes black accents bring the Scandinavian style to light. Mixing the pallette with natural elements adds flow and intrigue. Gray, off-white, pale wood tones, soft pinks, sage green, taupes, tan, mustard, hunter green, navy blue, and metallic accents are important shades to note. Whites can be seen on walls and on moldings for added brightness. Bold colors are rarely seen within this style, as there is a focus on calmness and coziness. We include neutrals and muted colors and tones that are easy to mix. The flooring for this style is likely lightwood paired with white, taupe, or cream furniture. It’s not dark or moody and instead provides a peaceful approach to design. More colors that work with this style include pale or muted blue, pink, green, beige, and gray.
TEXTURES & FINISHES
It is key to layer natural elements in Scandinavian design in a minimal way. Bringing the outdoors inside the space creates a comfortable and liveable home. Soft furnishings and rugs that are neutral in color and natural in material work well. Wool, cotton, rattan, linen, cotton, animal hides or faux animal hides, velvet, sheepskins, cowhides, animal pelts, solid curtains, and paper lampshades are fun design decorative elements. Simple textures and finishes with a focus on neutral colors are prioritized over funky details. Scandinavian flooring consists of light-toned wood such as birch, pine, spruce, or painted. Laminates can be used as well and neutral-colored rugs are used to soften the area. Tile or vinyl can be used for bathrooms but it is common for the same flooring to be used throughout the entire home. However, carpet is rarely used. Adding indoor plants is a great way to accent this design style. Mixing different textures highlights the simplicity and homey vibe. Contrasting old and new elements (like vintage items), adding subdued artwork that takes up space, using different textiles, and utilizing natural light completes the Scandinavian look and feel.
FORMS & SHAPES
To bring a space to life, enhancing warmth and creating breathing areas is key. Simple forms and shapes in the design help to do this. Lighting is an important element in Scandinavian design and placing them carefully around a space creates a warm and comfortable environment. Minimal backdrops, the absence of nick-nacks and abstract art, a focus on fireplaces or candles that enhance and accentuate warmth, are all a part of creating balance. Common decorations include ceramics, glass vessels, elevated furniture for light circulation, lightweight frames, and carefully hung drapery so as to not block light. It’s more on the plain side in terms of color but beautiful functional elements are crucial to Scandinavian design.
HISTORY OF THE SCANDINAVIAN DESIGNS
From its’ Nordic design roots and necessity for raw resources, Scandinavian design is all about using what is around and creating togetherness and comfort. Long inspired from its surroundings, a less traditional, simple, and clean modern look emerged. Because winters are long, cold, and dark in the Northern part of Europe where the style started, attention to warmth became most important. It mainly started in the 1930s but took off in North America in the mid-century. Today, furniture pieces and decor in this style are easy to find, affordable, and common among many retail stores such as IKEA, and thus the style has risen in popularity.
PHILOSOPHY OF THE SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN
“Hygge” is a Danish philosophy of coming together in comfort and well-being that represents the Scandinavian design style well. The socially-inclusive cozy aesthetic is psychologically endearing and can enrich one’s life. Being selective of materials and using restraint when selecting and choosing colors can create a clean, simple, comfortable Scandinavian vibe. Decluttering a space enhances brightness and maximizes light, which is what this style is all about.