It’s on the tip of your tongue but you can’t define it. Yet, everything seems to converge in the world of design… Playing with shadows in cosmetics, gender neutrality in clothing, natural materials in tableware, comfort in dining and the soothing smell of scented candles.
The “Scandi” style brings us into reality, using the functionality of the space as an element of design. It traces the framework of your layout with its furniture and refined lines. It textures the atmosphere by playing with relief patterns. It breathes a natural soul into functional minimalism.
In this article, we help you define the Scandinavian style, to translate its philosophy and feelings into design. We explain where the idea of minimalist comfort comes from, and what variables to consider when bringing this Nordic world into your home.
What is Scandinavian style?
Scandinavian-inspired interior design is based on simplicity, functionality and purity. Creating Scandinavian décor therefore avoids creating a cluttered living space. Instead, we seek to adapt the space to our own lifestyles.
In Swedish? Lagom: not too much, not too little – but just right.
Scandinavian home interior design principles
A Scandinavian interior design colour palette is neutral and contrasted by dark focal points, desaturated colorations and soft luminosity. Contrasts are invited among the muted shades. You often find black, charcoal and mystical blue that draw upon beige, champagne or pastel pieces.
A clean-lined focal piece of furniture that features natural materials such as leather, wood and metal. We will focus on a few well-chosen modern pieces of furniture, without flare. We will use them as a style support to demonstrate their composition and aesthetics: shapes, patterns and textures.
A subtle play of light and shadow, highlighting the centerpieces in an enveloping atmosphere. You can play with cool tones, such as arctic gray that invite natural light, then warm up the effect with different sources of diaphanous lighting.
Why is Scandinavian design so popular?
It encourages us to abandon the superfluous and excess in favour of the essential, and this ideal resonates with us. The Scandi style is a trend that carries a strong message and seems to meet an imminent need.
One could also argue that this design understands and respects our routine instead of imposing its own structures on our space. Indeed, the industrial design of Northern European countries is primarily interested in beauty as functional. By adding the richness of indigenous materials to this approach, we are adding warmth to Nordic décor.
So why resist this healthy balance? Opening the door to this beautiful stranger is like gifting ourselves a moment of serenity. Like warming our hands with a big bowl of hot cocoa at the cottage.
Scandinavian interior design ideas
Opt for refined contrasts with leather or wood. Natural leather tones will create a nice balance with shades of gray and blue. Or go for sage green for a botanical effect.
Play with textures to enhance the comfort of your décor. The ideal choices are natural materials and accessories, weaves, braids, patterns and reliefs.
Emphasize focal points with contrast or distinctive styling. These special touches will translate your interests and activities into design, adding a touch of Scandi to your décor.
Mark your creative spaces with the use of accessories. You can use the geometry of your décor to direct light and texturize your rooms. Ceiling lights, floor lamps, table lamps and mirrors will be your allies.
Want to encourage the local economy? Here is a Scandinavian inspired collection, 100% made in Quebec.
The Nicolas product collection brings together light wood furniture that expresses the inherent qualities of Scandinavian style: practicality, clean lines and comforting texture. This collection is considered a more rustic version of the Scandinavian style.
Is there a difference between Nordic and Scandinavian interior design?
Not really. Scandinavian style comprises of a mosaic of influences from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. Across the northern countries, one notices overall inspired furnishings, natural materials and sheer effects – which also characterize Scandi style.
But let’s see how Nordic traditions have contributed to the trend…
Denmark’s influence modernized the German Bauhaus by introducing the idea that became the foundation of Scandinavian design: utilitarian minimalism. Several creations from the 1950s remain characteristic of the trend, such as the Swan armchair by Arne Jacobsen and Poul Henningsen.
Moreover, it was also in Denmark that the concept of “Hygge” materialized. Are you familiar with the Scandinavian art of living, Hygge? We invite you to check it out by visiting the Montreal café La Dépendance.
Norwegian decorating styles
The aesthetics of Nordic design are truly rooted in Norwegian tradition. Five qualities distinguish their design of furniture and lamps: look, durability, function, simplicity and inspiration from nature.
Swedish home design
Products from Sweden are normally distinguished by a clean look. This is especially seen in furniture. However, some modern décor items are also notable elements of Swedish style.
Finland furniture design
Finland literally dresses Scandinavian design with its patterns, weaves, lighting and home accessories. For example, Alvar Aalto’s vases and Maija Isola’s prints are just two of the artisanal legends in this trend.
Icelandic home decor
The influences of Iceland have been felt only recently, but in full force. You will especially notice woolens, felts and knits, which are a native wealth in the country.
Want to explore this further? Discover the trends and trendsetters of Scandinavian design.
So, what does the Scandinavian style offer us?
A soft, pure design influenced by Danish, Norwegian and Swedish trends with comforting tones borrowed from Iceland and Finland. A reminder of simplicity, which resonates strongly in the world of style.
Despite its powerful voice, Scandi style also represents a haven of peace, an oasis of serenity and a return to nature. It speaks of following the steps of nature, of the other and of oneself at a time when we are perhaps a little cramped in our lives – and in our homes.