It’s been a trend in interior design for longer than we’ve known about IKEA. So how do you master this international flair? Scandinavian design in a nutshell is all about curved, modernist furniture in muted tones and an overall simplistic design. But far from falling on the plain side, it strikes a perfect balance between liveable comfort and artistic decor. Here’s 5 of the best features of Scandi design to bring to your home.
Subtle colour palettes
The first thing you’ll notice in a Scandinavian design home is that there’s very little colour. Taking inspiration from minimalist and modern decor the typical colour palettes are shades of white, black and grey. This isn’t to say colour can’t be a feature; just that it’s not front and centre. You could add a splash of colour with throw cushions to liven up a grey sofa. Pastels and muted tones are preferred with pale blues, yellow and green featuring often.
Less is more
You may also notice many rooms are stripped back to the bare minimum. One word we would never use for Scandinavian design is cluttered. Every item has a purpose in the home which is one of the reasons this design style is so well-suited to small spaces. A highly functional room is one that includes only the necessities. Apply the less is more mantra to your bedroom by asking yourself what you really need in the room versus what is nice to have. Your desk may be convenient near your bed but is it making for the most attractive, functional space? Move it out into the living room or find another space to turn into a study and see if you don’t enjoy using your bedroom that little bit more.
Shapes and textures
With muted colour palettes and a flair for the minimal, how do you keep your home from looking like a hospital?
First off, ditch the harsh edges. They’ll only add severity to your home instead of the warm and welcoming vibes you want to be putting out. Instead opt for everything curved; from coffee tables to artworks. Round shapes and fluid lines will keep a softness in your decor and steer you clear of asylum chic.
Next, you should embrace the Danish method Hygge (pronounced hue-guh). Hygge has no direct English translation and as such you can take many meanings from it. It’s a lifestyle and a feeling that comes from good food, great friends and the cosy contentment of a warm, welcoming home. Adding textures to your decor is sure to bring more of this mysterious element to your home. Achieve Hygge in your bedroom with an inviting bed layered in throw rugs and fur cushions. Plus light some candles that will fill the room with pleasant scents and a warm glow.
Remember when we said green was a popular feature colour? Well here’s why; Scandi decor is a big believer in natural elements. From wood furniture to potted plants, there’s rarely a room without a touch of the outdoors. Plants in particular are a great way to bring a touch of life to your decor and balance out those simple colour palettes. They’re a perfect addition to your kitchen, bathroom, entryway or any space that doesn’t fit the bill for typical decoration.
Where function and art combine
If there were one overarching design theme to employ in your Scandinavian dream home it’s that everything is art. From an open-air closet to industrial style lamps, every element of your home should border on being a stand-alone artwork. Thus, when combined it creates a livable museum of interesting and practical design.
This is also why it leans toward minimalism and designers work hard to only include items that serve a purpose. The same way you can’t view a museum with excessively encumbered walls, your home will view better with a number of carefully selected pieces filling its rooms. When shopping, consider if your furniture or decor choice would make a striking addition if there were nothing else in the room. If the answer is yes, you’re probably on the right track.
It takes a keen eye to pull off a Scandinavian design but that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable for the everyday home. Knowing the features to focus on and what to ditch in your home is the easiest way to transform your living spaces into a Scandinavian dream.
Julia Hammond is a Melbourne-based freelance writer who has worked with major brands and blogs from The Urban List to MyDeal.com.au. You can find her online at LeftHandScribbler.com.