Scandinavia-inspired interior design? What’s that? What’s Scandinavia?
While the questions above are a bit tongue in cheek, you might be surprised at just how many people don’t know where Scandinavia is — just as many have no idea which countries make up the Scandinavian nations or pretty much anything about the people or cultures in question.
So, before we dive into the kind of Scandinavian-inspired decor that your guests will love, let’s go over some fundamentals. Just so you know, the Scandinavian countries (or Norse countries) are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
What is it about the Scandinavian decorating style that is so attractive? Let’s take a look.
What is Scandinavian design?
The Scandinavian decorating style as we know it today began back in the 1930s. However, most agree that it didn’t become a thing in North America until about 20 years later.
It’s all about decorating your house in a way that creates a cozy, warm space. It’s about offsetting the long, dark, and cold winters these northern countries experience.
As you probably know, long periods of darkness and cold can cause some people to experience depression and anxiety symptoms, and the Scandinavian idea is to bring as much light and warmth into the living space as possible.
The Scandinavian design philosophy is about being inclusive, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing. You’ll discover that a lot of inspiration from nature is usually thrown in, and keeping things imminently affordable is important.
Common themes you’ll see in almost all Scandinavian homes are huge windows (again, to let in as much light as possible), wooden floors, white walls (that light can bounce off of), and minimalist decor with spaces free of clutter.
Finally, each home has that certain something extra to give the space a feeling of warmth and intimacy. (Think fireplaces with fires at night, strategically-placed candles with their soft, golden flames, and comfortable places to sit!)
Below are Scandinavian decor ideas you might want to employ in your own living space.
Keep everything simple
The simplicity of Scandinavian design is one of its hallmarks. The philosophy’s roots lie in the fact that people in Norse countries often had to make do with whatever resources were readily available. Many times, those resources were scarce.
Remember, these were cold, lonely communities that were often spread far out from one another; it was hard to travel long distances in winter. Trade used to be minimal. People managed with what they had.
Keep decorative accents unpretentious and straightforward. For instance, perhaps you might use a piece of furniture in a certain space, ensuring that it’s simple with clean lines.
Metal and wood combinations
Another key feature you should incorporate into your Scandinavian decor is a lot of wood and metal combos. This is because Scandi designs draw much inspiration from the natural world. Many of the natural spaces in Norse countries are filled with mountains, valleys, and forests.
Using resources like the wood of the trees and the ore, which could be mined from the Earth, might as well have been a foregone conclusion.
In the old days, most things — from buildings to the furniture that filled them — were made from wood. However, when Scandinavian interior design became fashionable, those who crafted the decor began to include copper and brass finishes.
Today, these added touches are common, and they are used to add a bit more shine and dimension to the space. Using natural elements extends to Scandinavian wall decor, too. Paintings and art provide splashes of color in living spaces, but minimalist, light wooden frames almost always accent them.
The slightly-messy bedroom
Notice that above we talked about creating spaces that were free of clutter. When talking about a “slightly-messy bedroom,” we’re not talking about clothes all over the floor, half-eaten candy bars still in their wrapper on the desk, or a closet filled to bursting with shoes.
Instead, we’re talking about a cozy, lived-in look. For example, the bed might not be made. It’s not a hurricane disaster, but the comforter isn’t tucked in nice and neat. Rather, it’s folded back in a casual way that says you sort of tossed it there when you woke up.
The colors and feel of everything are earthy and warm. Unlike the rest of the house, which is all about light and space, this is your one area that’s snug, cozy, and utterly inviting. For instance, many people use varying but complementary shades of colors, such as white sheets, a dark gray comforter, and light gray pillows.
Forget the carpet
Most homes with a Scandinavian design forego carpets. You won’t find wall-to-wall carpeting anywhere in houses with this type of interior design. Instead, wood floors are part of the overall aesthetic. They’re usually lightly colored, and as the walls, they are used to help bounce sunlight around a space. The floors help provide an overall sense of spaciousness along with a bright, inviting atmosphere.
That said, a lot of living rooms will soften the apparent harshness of the wooden floor with a sheepskin textile or rug.
Create the right feeling
Creating a place that’s light and airy but at the same time exudes warmth and coziness can be a bit of a challenge. The Norse pull the endeavor off nicely by mixing and matching naturally-inspired decor.
Suppose you’re interested in creating a sense of well-being, comfort, and togetherness with your family and guests. In that case, you can’t go wrong by starting to incorporate Scandinavian-inspired decor into your own living space!
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