Scandinavian Design Takeover


Relaxed yet stylish, here’s why everyone’s gaga about Nordic design

Perfecting the art of emitting a stylish yet relaxed vibe doesn’t come naturally to many design philosophies. Yet Scandinavian style has not only succeeded in achieve this combination, it’s managed to throw functionality, practicality and comfort into the mix as well. Whether decorating is a passion project, a necessity or your career, you’ve probably come across this word before. Hello IKEA! Many have simply defined it as minimalistic living, but there’s more to this design style than that.

Scandinavian Design Defined

It’s easy to see why people confuse minimalism and Scandinavian design; they both detest clutter. Minimalism is a design style that favours a monochrome colour scheme and relies on geometric configurations, all within an open, flowing space. The materials you’ll often find in this space are of an industrial nature such as chrome, stainless steel and lacquered plastics. Minimalist design started out essentially rigid within its simplicity and function concept, but the furniture has grown to include softer pieces of furniture, as well as a wider range of textures.

Although Scandinavian design also encourages open spaces and a pale colour scheme, it uses natural material such as wood, leather or hemp. Scandinavian style based its design principle on the surrounding climate. Due to its short days and long winters, they needed to create interiors that were brighter than the exterior and extremely functional. To make it through those winters, they needed a bright and cosy interior. That’s why, unlike the dark hues of mid-century modern interiors, the shades used maximise on light.

Now that you understand the difference between the two, these are some of the reasons why, this preeminent interior style is still relevant to date:

It’s Got Some Deep Roots

Beginning at the end of the 19th century, Scandinavian design, illustrates a people’s culture and a way of life. It incorporates designs from Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, even though the Scandinavian Kingdom only encompasses the last three. The modern phase of this movement gained global recognition around the 1950s and has been a fixture in the design and interior décor industry since. Like waves, Nordic design gets new burst of talent and innovation that excites old and new generations of home owners.

Encourages Versatility

Getting in as much light as possible into a space is crucial for this principle. Enter spare elegance. This is where practical considerations are made, when it comes to forms and colours used. But it’s also how open you keep the space. Remember clutter acts like a black hole and sucks up more light than you think. One way to avoid unnecessary furniture and ornamentation is to keep your home as open-plan. Instead of a designated living room, which may only be used when guests come around, it should be flexible enough to accommodate a number of activities.  Making the entire house as practical as possible.


Belonging to the school of modernism, this movement focusses on forms that are simple and functional. But this doesn’t come at the cost of the quality of its craftsmanship or the price tag. Scandinavian design believes that quality products shouldn’t be considered a privilege reserved for the wealthy. Through natural elements and clean lines, the craft has a refined and understated quality. The result is sleek furnishings and spare elegance that is strong enough to withstand the test of time.


It’s big on reducing the fuss and increasing furniture’s’ utility. The great thing about Scandinavian design is that it gives you the freedom to choose whether you want to go all in or just dabble a little bit. These naturally-based pieces play well with furniture and ornaments from farmhouse or industrial backgrounds. Even with its rich history and classical element background, it fits right into a modern interior space, thanks to its highly edited nature.

Looking To Get Started?

First thing first, you need to ascribe to the ‘less is more’ mantra. You’ll need to remember that, when you realise how long their furniture’s legs are, and are tempted to place things under them. This style integrates storage into the design and never makes it an afterthought. Moreover, you may go overboard with the pastel colours. Just because you’re not limited to black and white, doesn’t mean you can unleash pastel mayhem. Break the femininity of the pastels with some high-contrast masculine pieces. This gives you the opportunity to experiment with different materials, texture and colours. And remember these guiding principles:

  • Keep it light and airy, the more natural light the better.
  • Avoid chasing trends and choose timeless pieces.
  • Choose style and quality over quantity. Make it last people!
  • Make it feel outdoorsy with natural materials and plants.
  • Don’t be scared to use different textures e.g. linen and leather.
  • Retain uncluttered floors. Maybe a hemp or wool rug in one or two rooms, but don’t go overboard. With all those long legs of furniture, you should be able to see straight across your space.
  • Maintain a calm mood with hues of whites and greys. However, any shade of blue works well within the Nordic design concept. It breaks the monochrome with vibrancy and brightness.
  • Add pops of colour by dressing the walls with art. But be strategic with the art that you end up selecting.
  • Storage pieces should complement overall décor. For instance a wooden chest that acts as a coffee table.
  • Get whimsical with your lighting fixtures. Pinterest has an array of ideas that will make you wonder why you ever settled for a dull lamp shade.
  • Play with stripes, be it vertical, horizontal, fat or narrow. Pick one that works for you.
  • Slated walls bring in the privacy and relaxation, without the claustrophobic sensation.
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