Updated: June 29, 2022
The Scandinavian way of living encompasses all things pure, healthy and happy by utilising design, natural light and nature to maximum effect. This is echoed through every item of Scandinavian design including the homes they live in and what they are furnished with. But why has the furniture of a few nations captured the imagination of the world in such a big way?
Its roots started in the 1900s but it wasn't until the mid-1900s before it really started to make a global impression. This is when elements of mid-century modern were incorporated and is now as popular as ever. The popularity of Scandinavian furniture is down to many aspects but the fact that it is timeless and never seems to be out of fashion is a huge positive. We don’t like to see our investments fade due to something going out of fashion.
Limited materials meant that more emphasis was put on creative and meticulous craftsmanship to create designs that were both aesthetically pleasing and very functional. So minimalism is combined with maximum functionality. Inspiration was sought from the beauty of nature, with the main outcome to enhance lifestyle through sustainable and quality design.
Scandinavian, Scandi, Nordic?
Ok, so it can be a little bit confusing and the answer might be different depending on who you ask and the context but here is the lowdown. Whilst the geographic Scandinavian countries are Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the histories of these countries and those of Iceland and Finland are closely intertwined. They consequently share many traditions and holidays and culturally they are often referred to together. All these countries as well as Greenland are also within the Nordic region (Norden which means the North) and known as the Norse countries.
What is Scandinavian design?
We love Scandinavian interior design for its uncluttered purity, clean lines and use of natural materials such as natural woods. We also love the attention to detail, warmth, neutral colours and occasional use of bold accent colours such as blush pink, music yellow and burnt orange. You may also expect to see the following in a typical Scandinavian home;
This would normally consist of wall to wall natural light wood flooring with an occasional rug to help soften and break up the room. It would be quite rare to see carpets used throughout which is commonplace in the United Kingdom.
Furniture and panelling
Due to their warmth and natural tones, oak, pine, teak and mahogany are used commonly in Scandinavian inspired furniture such as dining tables and tv stands as well as wall panelling, acoustic ceilings and cabinets.
Due to the proximity to the north pole and lack of daylight hours during the winter months, emphasis has been put on getting as much natural light as possible into homes. So you will often find large floor to ceiling windows to help get light into the inner parts of the home. This of course creates issues in certain months when the sun can sometimes barely go down. Minimalist style pendant lights are used to substitute the light when required.
Sustainability is always close to the Scandinavian heart and the use of locally sourced natural woods from sustainable forests play a major part in this. So most or all of the wood used in dining chairs and sideboards will be FSC and PEFC certified.
You can expect to find white painted walls in most homes to assist with the light transmission. This is often used with soft blues, greys or wooden panelling to break up and soften the effect. Strong accent colours such as blush pinks, mustard yellow and burnt orange are often used sporadically to create a focal point of interest. Natural textiles with neutral tones are used to work in the space of sofas and cushions.
In complete contrast to the layered appeal of BOHO style interiors, the emphasis is definitely on less is more. So accessories are kept to a minimum and only used sporadically if required.
Scandinavian style design is still revered around the world today and has influenced design in all walks of our life. It can be found everywhere including our railway stations, airports, coffee shops, homeware and even the kitchenware we use daily. The style has reached all corners of the globe with many adapting it slightly to suit local trends, cultures and environments. You will spot it if you know what to look for and as outlined in the images above.
Retail giants such as IKEA have catapulted Scandi style furniture into everyone’s homes by utilising modern methods of mass-producing flat-pack pieces, making them more affordable for many.
For the most part, IKEA pieces tend to be made from veneered or melamine finishes backed onto MDF or chipboard which is cheaper than solid wood. We sell both on Houste as we know there is a good market for the lookalike and the real versions in our lives and to suit all budgets. This is a good example of a very affordable melamine faced board finish coffee table for £110.