A perennial favourite among homeowners here, the “Scandinavian” design is a term we throw around a lot. But what does this style really constitute and mean? Propagated in the 1950s, as part of the movement for Nordic design that favours affordability and functionality over abundance and opulence, the Scandinavian style is as much a lifestyle as it is a look. Lets have to take a closer look at the way of life of these Nordic folks.
Scandinavians love their great outdoors, so it’s only natural that plants feature extensively in their homes. Because the style is all about minimalism and the organic, leafy botanicals – rather than florals – are usually the plant of choice. If you have black thumbs or just want something that requires less maintenance, include nature-inspired elements like natural wood accessories and tree branches that provide a connection with nature.
Tying in with their love for nature is their love for the environment. The Scandinavians are all for eco-friendly and sustainable designs. A good way to show your support for the environment is to use natural wood – whether in your surfaces or furniture – since it tends to have a lower environmental impact than plastic or metal. Light woods are a good choice in keeping with their preference for light and bright spaces, but darker shades work just as well if you pair them in a light-coloured setting.
Let in the light
Nordic homes have very long winters with few daylight hours so they can be very particular with natural sunlight and wanting them in every corner of their homes. Keep your windows open and free from obstruction. Bonus: sunlight is a natural disinfectant and can rid your homes of moulds. Paint your walls white since it helps to bounce the light off the walls so that every dark nook can be reached. If you need privacy, opt for sheer curtains, blinds or shutters rather than thick and heavy drapes.
Being enveloped in endless fields of snow for the bulk of the year is tedious enough, so it’s no surprise that the Scandinavians wouldn’t want to recreate that look in their homes too. While white walls are a design staple in this Nordic style, you should cheer up the space with measured pops of colour. Be mindful of keeping them to accents. If you’re looking to incorporate colour in a bigger area like a feature wall, neutral hues like grey or even blue should be safe choices.
While looking chic is a very important part of this style, it’s equally necessary to ensure that your home remains a functional space. The Scandinavians believe that less is always more, so no unnecessary decoration and keep your space free from clutter. Clean, simple and minimal should be your mantra when shopping. You can let the occasional white elephant slide, but make sure the rest of your furniture are practical ones. Choose pieces with good craftsmanship and are known to be durable so that they can last for a while.
This was adapted from an article originally written by Ho Pei Ying in IdealHomes vol. 8.