The style of Scandinavian houses has swept the world over with a distinct look hailed in our favorite design magazines and blogs. With a focus on simplicity, minimalism and functionality, this design movement which emerged in the 1950s has added an appreciation for craftsmanship and understated elegance in homes.
Though it hasn’t been known widely in the Philippine market, aspiring homeowners who think out of the box are gradually beginning to welcome this aesthetically pleasing design to their homes. If you feel like moving your way out from the norm, consider this quick guide with our top tips for creating Scandinavian interior design in your own home.
Most of you may ask – “What is Scandinavian design anyway?” The environment in the Nordic countries was largely responsible for the design that evolved. Winters were long, meaning there was little daylight, and people often had very small houses, causing the need for bright and airy, yet cosy, homes.
In 1947, a popular design exhibition in Milan, Italy, called the Triennale di Milano, showcased furniture and home accessories from the Nordic countries – and they were very well received. Based on this popularity, the Design in Scandinavia show travelled across the U.S. and Canada from 1954 to 1957. The 1990’s saw a huge rise in popularity of Scandinavian design, when designers began creating bold, unique statement pieces as individual units of design.
Philippine houses have been influenced by architecture and interiors of other countries for a long time now, but a style that is increasing in popularity more recently is one we’ve pinched from our Scandinavian friends. It seems the principles of functionality and simplicity, with beauty and elegance, sit quite well with the Philippine market.
The color palette in Scandinavian design is typically very light and simple. White is often used as the main color, but doesn’t make the room look sparse because natural materials, such as marble and wood, bring warmth and texture. White is also a great blank slate to introduce any color combination, from soft pastels to black accents. Cool whites work well in south-facing rooms since they receive the best of the warmer and hotter daylight. Warmer whites, on the other hand, work well to warm up north-facing rooms, since they receive lower levels of cooler, natural light.
Grays can also be used to create a beautiful, serene interior. When deciding on warm or cool shades of this neutral, look to the same rules for white – cool for south-facing rooms and warm for north-facing rooms
Incorporating pops of color is a great way of brightening and lifting a room. Classically, function was placed above over aesthetics so color would be kept to a minimum. Over time, though, other styles have been combined with the standard Scandinavian approach to create unique style and personality.
Try using a single sofa, chair, or large item to add a splash of color. Alternatively, patterned accessories can work well – but remember simplicity is key for Scandinavian interiors, so avoid unnecessary clutter.
If bright and bold isn’t for you, try keeping it neutral, but play with layering complementary shades – this will prevent the room from looking cold. Using multiple shades of the same color helps to create interest and depth.
Black is regularly used too, helping to anchor the room and define and highlight the features of choice. While the Scandinavians are known for their clean white interiors, dark shades are regularly introduced and balanced with light and dark accessories.
Mixing textures and materials, such as unfinished wood pieces, fur rugs, and soft linens, brings nature into the home, adding that restful vibe that the decor is so famous for. Plants, for example, are a great way to integrate color and texture and add interest without feeling cluttered.
The Scandinavians are well known for their use of wood throughout their homes, largely due to an appreciation for readily available natural materials, but also for the way in which it adds warmth to the space. Wood is a staple in Nordic interior flooring. The wood is often light in color and used in all rooms, with exception to the bathroom.
If the thought of no carpet puts you on edge, try adding a large rug in a soft texture or natural material. You can try painting interior brickwork or tongue and grooves for an easy way to add that all-important texture.
Scandinavian interiors offer the best of lighting to provide that natural, clean, and sleek feature to your home. These homes often feature large windows to make the room feel bright and open.
Windows are usually dressed in a soft, light material, such as cotton, allowing privacy without preventing natural light from entering. You can also combine open windows with a blackout roller or venetian blinds for the bedrooms.
Table and floor lamps are also regularly used to set the mood. More commonly, minimalist light fixtures are used, though more recently we can see designers adding their own take on Scandinavian design and incorporating a more statement piece to pull the room together.
Clever use of accessories can also help bring brightness to the room, such as use of large mirrors to reflect natural light. Paint the borders of the mirror with a cool, crisp paint color like white or pastel blue, or a bold accent that is also found in the rest of the elements of your room.
The Scandinavian design style puts a huge emphasis on efficient use of space, making maximum use of any awkward spots.
It works well with small spaces due to the inherent simplicity of Nordic style, with white as a predominant color and an avoidance of unnecessary accessories. With the use of natural materials and rugs, Scandinavian interiors avoid looking sterile. A large importance is placed on giving furniture a space to breathe. Unique, bold pieces are regularly used and should be allowed to do all of the talking – there’s no need to over-decorate.