Cheat Sheet to Scandinavian Design

Photo Via Fastighetsbyran

Photo Via Fastighetsbyran

Being from Scandinavia, it’s dangerously easy to throw around the fashionable ‘Scandinavian Design’ whenever asked about our design aesthetic. For many, (ourselves included) the term is tantamount to simplicity, utility and understated elegance - loose classifications that render it easy to mislabel. In a bid to make sure we’re not blindly leading people astray, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet with the basics of Scandinavian Design. Take a peak below if your interest is even slightly stirred…  

Beginning in the 1930’s but gaining credence in the 1950’s, Scandinavian Design belongs to modernism- a movement marked by functionalism, simplification of form and democratic design ideals. The guiding principle was to create beautiful and functional everyday objects that proved affordable to all, and would actually improve the user’s day to day. In true Scandinavian form, the hope was to promote equality and joy. 

Key words: Simplicity, Minimalism, Clean Lines, Functionality, Craftsmanship and Durability. 

Nature is at the very core of the design aesthetic: Cue the use of natural materials and simple shapes. 

The founders/designers you’ve probably heard of: Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Borge Mogensen, Hans J. Wegner, Verner Panton, Paul Henningsen, Maija Isola

The end-goal? To create a positive and warm home environment to influence your life and well being. Successful Scandinavian design should help you lead an unencumbered lifestyle, allowing you to overcome and even enjoy the harsh winters.  The method to this madness? (Tips loosely taken from homeaesthetics.net)

  1. Flood the interiors with light: large windows are kept clean and unobstructed to let in as much natural light as possible. Say goodbye to your bulky curtains or ornaments. 
  2. Invite the natural light to stay by using a lot of white - a natural reflector of light, enlarger of space and general brightener. Other means of capturing and bouncing the light: glossy and polished surfaces, mirrors, expansive light wood floors, and the use of monochromatic, light colors throughout. Did i mention light? 
  3. Add warmth to your home by incorporating natural wood, candles and a fireplace. 
  4. Bring the outside in by enlivening your home with plants and greenery thus allowing you to truly harmonize with the environment. 
  5. Invest more in timeless, quality pieces of furniture that will last forever. 
  6. Remove the clutter and opt for hidden streamlined storage. 'Less is More' baby. 
  7. Throw in some cozy soft furnishings and textures (i.e. the sheepskin you see everywhere…)
  8. Embrace the Danish ‘hygge’, the Swedes 'mys', or the Norwegians ‘kose' - an untranslatable sentiment for cozy moments of joy, connection and simple life-nourishing delights. Your space should bring more of this into your life.  
Photo Via Ultralinx

Photo Via Ultralinx

Photo Via Bjurfors

Photo Via Bjurfors

Photo Via Bjurfors

Photo Via Bjurfors

Let me blow your mind: While the term “Scandinavian Design” might lead you to assume it’s purely Scandinavian, it is more apt to call it “Nordic” as it emerged in the five countries of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. Leave it to the Nordics to try to pull a fast one on you without you ever picking up on it. 

If you’re feeling inspired by Scandinavian design, Nordic Design is a great resource for lifestyle tips and style trends.