The Scandinavian design
came onto the scene in the 1950s when it grew trendy in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark. It became popular in America later in the 1950s and has remained a popular style of interior design ever since.
Do’s and Don'ts
Scandinavian style has several characteristics, and there are quite a few common mistakes people make when trying to achieve the look.
Wood, wood, wood! Scandinavian style incorporates a lot of natural material in its flooring, walls, and especially furniture like a Scandinavian bed frame
and Scandinavian couch
. Beautiful wooden furniture is one of the main signature characteristics of Scandinavian design, which is why many people flock to furniture stores like IKEA, which emulates the style in many of its furniture.
However, a common mistake is only using wood furniture. It is a common material because it is sustainable, durable, and malleable, and it comes in many options, like a solid oak coffee table, but that doesn’t mean it should be the only material used. There are other materials, like metals, marble, glass, and synthetic materials, that are available, and they give a nice contrast to each other.
In Scandinavian style, there is a lot of emphasis on neutral colors, like white and beige. This is because these colors can help brighten up a room; Scandinavian winters are long and dark, which is why this aspect of the style is so important.
One of the common mistakes that people make when decorating the interior of their home in the Scandinavian style is only decorating with white. While white is commonly seen in various examples of the style, there are many other neutral tones that can be used for walls and furniture. And even then, Scandinavian style is known for having small pops of color, so really, you shouldn’t spend so much time struggling with the color. The walls and primary furniture pieces should be in neutral colors, but everything else is fair game. Color is easy to achieve; simply put a few decor items on a Scandinavian coffee table
or re-stain a Scandinavian dining set
or Scandinavian sideboard.
Scandinavians have a great love for the outdoors, which is why nature is so incorporated into their homes and is part of the Scandinavian style. The style calls for large, open windows to bring nature closer to the home, as well as the introduction of nature into the home. Nature can be brought in through various ways; whether it be potted plants, pine cones, or branches, the possibilities are endless.
While potted plants are gorgeous and can bring beautiful colors to a space, not everyone has a green thumb. Many individuals grow so focused on meeting the requirements of the style that they go all out for beautiful plants that they either don’t know how to care for or don’t have the time to care for, which leaves the plants dying.
There are many different ways to achieve the natural characteristic of Scandinavian style. Natural colors, like teal, earthy green, amber, and brown, can be used in pops of color in furniture like the cushions of a Scandinavian sofa, as well as natural elements like branches and pine cones, which don’t require any care. There are also plant options that don’t need as much care or water as others, such as cacti and succulents, and fresh flowers can be placed on a Scandinavian dining room table to add flair.
Within the Scandinavian style, there is a lot of emphasis on natural light. Scandinavian winters are long, and they use as much daylight as they can, with lighter-colored walls that can brighten up a room and wide, bare windows that allow in the maximum amount of light. Towards the evenings, other natural lights like candles were once commonly used in Scandinavian homes.
A common mistake people make when trying to incorporate the Scandinavian style into their homes is forgetting lighting entirely. Instead, they’ll use whatever light fixtures were already in their home, which may not be Scandinavian style at all. Pendant lights are perfect options, as well as standing and table lamps. One of the characteristics of Scandinavian style is sleek, clean lines, which these styles of light can easily show.
Minimalism is a key component of Scandinavian style. It’s based on the history of Scandinavian homes. In the past, these Nordic homes were built smaller, so those living in them only had a set amount of space for furniture and decor. Because of this, simplicity and minimalism are prominent in the style, and function over form is encouraged.
There are two common ways people get the styling aspect of Scandinavian style wrong. One, people go too minimal. While minimalism is definitely a personal preference, a Scandinavian styled home that is completely devoid of decor gives off a cold feel, which is the opposite intention of the style; Scandinavian style is meant to be warm and inviting. Individuals trying to decorate in this style need to add personal touches to their homes with decor and color, not create a bland, white space devoid of personality.
Or, people go in the complete opposite direction and over style their homes in an effort to achieve every aspect of Scandinavian design. While this definitely indicates that personal touch has been given to the home, overly cluttering it with decor and furniture goes against what Scandinavian interior design is intended.
Scandinavian style is not a difficult design to decorate with, and you don’t have to walk a fine line when trying to attain the look. Have fun with it.