Scandinavian style is a minimalist design style which emerged in the 1930s within five Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. At its very foundation, is a strong relationship between design elements and nature, abstract and natural shapes, as well as hard and soft materials and surfaces. Scandi style is all about layers, lighting, texture and simplicity.
Background to Scandinavian Style
The term ‘Scandinavian design’ came about from a design show of the same name which traveled throughout the United States and Canada between 1954 and 1957. Natural daylight being a rare commodity in Nordic countries led to the basis of Scandi design. This is a design style which is carefully curated to ensure that natural light is celebrated and bounces around the room.
Extremely popular between the 1930s and 1970s, it’s a design style which stands the test of time due to its simplicity and ability to be easily recreated at home.
Notable Scandinavian Style Designers
Notable Scandi style designers include:
- Alvar Aalto
- Arne Jacobsen
- Borge Mogensen
- Hans J Wegner
- Maija Isola
- Poul Henningsen
- Verner Panton
These Scandinavian style designers rewrote design history with innovation and capturing the true beauty of natural finishes.
Key Characteristics of Scandinavian Style
The features of Scandinavian style furniture makes the most of natural lighting, layering, varying textures, combining hard and soft finishes and materials, and white. White is the cornerstone of Scandi style furniture. To create an authentic Scandi style the main color palette of white needs to be implemented. Furniture, soft and hard furnishings and the entire design is based on layers, textures and natural finishes.
Scandinavian style materials embrace nature - stone or timber flooring, wooden statement furniture, rugs made of hemp, sisal or wool, soft furnishing made of cashmere and wool. Furniture and hard surfaces should allow natural light to bounce around the space. Soft furnishings and surfaces should create a sense of warmth and comfort.
The color palette for Scandinavian style decor is white, white and more white. White ceilings, white walls and white-washed or very pale timber or stone floors.You may deviate by introducing grayed down colors of pale neutral grays, gentle gray greens and soft duck egg blues.
If you need a bit more color - introduce color with natural timber or a strong accent color via artworks and accessories. Another option is to create definition with the neutral tone of black frames for artwork or darker tones in upholstery or fabric.
Furnishing a Scandinavian Style Home
Looking for a Scandinavian style guide? We got you covered. With Scandi style, careful consideration is given to selecting just a few beautiful statement pieces of furniture per room - think a striking armchair, a handcrafted sideboard, a wooden dining table.
Next comes lighting. Consider using many different types of lighting - dimmable down and wall lights, floor and table lamps for layered mood lighting.
Choose furniture with simple joinery and skilled workmanship which is as important as the beauty and integrity of the piece. Accessories should be selected for their simplicity, authenticity and craftsmanship. Think natural finishes, layers and varying textures - rugs made of hemp, sisal and wool in soft natural colors, cable knit woolen throws, soft cashmere blankets and warm fluffy cushions.
When styling a Scandi home less is more. Keep the spaces free from clutter, don’t over decorate and ensure the lines are clean and simple.
Remember, with a Scandinavian style home it all comes down to - light, white, texture, simplicity and natural finishes.