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The Timeless Design of Scandinavian Decor

The Timeless Design of Scandinavian Decor

The Timeless Design of Scandinavian Decor


Throughout many decades, millions of people all over the globe have found themselves drawn to homes featuring Scandinavian design. It's possible that the calming, clean and simple lines of Scandinavian design is initially what draws people in to learn more about this interesting style, however, it may also be the thoughtful features, very useful functionality, and understated elegance associated with this decor that truly sells people on the design.   

The History

The post-World War II era found European nations regionally banding together and the Nordic nations were no exception. Officially, "Scandinavia" only refers to the collective nations of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Unofficially, other Nordic countries such as Finland, Iceland, and Greenland have had their influence on Scandinavian design as well.

Perhaps the scarcity experienced immediately after World War II had some influence over the Nordic preference for valuing simplicity and utility over decoration, however, without a doubt, the harsh climates (especially the winters) of Northern Europe encouraged a focus on function and utility by much of the Scandinavian population.

Starting in the 1950s and moving into the 60s, the simple and practical style of Scandinavian design was associated with modernism. It also helped give birth to other decors such as the wildly-popular, mid-century modern design style. While Scandinavian design experienced a global downturn after the 1960s, it has recently sprung to life again, likely because of today's current trends centering around eco-friendly decor and sustainability practices. Rather than relying on modern processes that develop artificial fabrics, plastics, and other man-made materials, Scandinavian design focuses on incorporating natural elements that are created responsibly and sustainably.

Hallmarks of Scandinavian Design

Rooms and/or homes designed with Scandinavian decor in mind, are some of the lightest, airiest, calming, and simplistic environments in which to live. However, don't let the simplicity fool you. Scandinavian design very much follows the philosophy of "A place for everything, and everything in its place".

White is the primary color of Scandinavian design, with neutrals coming in through pale woods such as ash and beech. Leather is popular with this style, as well as wool and linen textiles that may offer a pop of strategic color here and there. Another pop of color may come from natural (green) plants placed near windows, along with herbs grown in the kitchen. 

As mentioned, Scandinavian design calls for white walls almost everywhere, expansive windows that allow plenty of sunlight to stream into living areas, and few to no window treatments. If curtains do make their way into a room utilizing Scandinavian decor, the curtains are white, airy, and full of rich texture.

Elements in a Scandinavian-designed room are focused on the natural; including textured items such as brick walls (painted white), bare wood floors, and modern (wood-based) furnishings, arranged in a simple, no-fuss layout. Windows frames are fairly prominent (because of the large number of them), and are traditionally made of real wood. Along with the wood cabinetry in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and shelving dispersed throughout the home — every feature notably possesses simple, clean, and elegant lines.

Essentially all variations of Scandinavian design exclude carpeting, however classic Scandinavian design may include the occasional neutral-colored, patterned rug that fulfills a specific purpose. Scandinavian bathrooms typically include copious (and gorgeous) amounts of natural wood (including the floors), although some bathrooms may present a fairly bold, patterned tile as a unique flooring option.  

Purposeful Decor Pieces 

Of course, Scandinavian design is all about function and minimalism. This means surfaces will mainly be bare unless a piece of decor serves a purpose. A textured-shag rug will add warmth and comfort during chilly winter months, while a leather or wood magazine rack will help keep clutter to a minimum. Natural wood shelving and cabinetry is popular in Scandinavian design, both of which serve the purpose of discretely storing items until needed. Furniture pieces are modern and simple and have clean lines, with some pieces incorporating crisp and clean-looking natural woods.     

Scandinavian Lighting

One might assume that all Scandinavian lighting fixtures are made with a natural wood base, topped only with a simple white lampshade, however this is not necessarily the case. While it's true that this decor does make ubiquitous use of these types of elements, there are quite a few more options available when it comes to Nordic lighting fixtures. In fact, designers seem to have taken quite a few liberties when it comes to creating interior Scandinavian lighting fixtures, with some designers creating ultra-modern pieces that were obviously intended to be statement pieces in a room.

Interior — Scandinavian lighting fixtures are known to incorporate a wide range of designs including angular dark metals, rounded, modern-looking fixtures that look like pastel-colored flying saucers, along with simple glass bulbs encompassing ultra-bright lights for bathroom sconces, and so much more. 

As with other fixture styles, Scandinavian lighting fixtures are available for every purpose in the home including track lighting to highlight certain key areas, sconce lighting for bedrooms and bathrooms, tall ceiling lights that hover over a kitchen island, along with simple lamps for the living room, a hallway stand, or in the family room.

Grouped ceilings lights are also very popular in Scandinavian design. Along with being grouped over a kitchen island, multiple lights may also strategically hover over a reading nook, or hang from the ceiling in groups in the master bedroom. All in all, interior Scandinavian lighting may very well consist only of natural wood bases topped by white shades, or it can be quite modern and playful.

Exterior — Lighting fixtures for the exterior of Scandinavian homes is generally more subdued than the options available for the interior. Still, the fixtures are very handsome. Exterior lighting options are often made of metal, featuring colors in black, bronze, or perhaps a dignified gray. As with some interior lighting fixtures, round glass bulbs are also a popular option for Scandinavian exteriors. They are available for both wall sconces that work so well to light a pathway, as well as large (multiple) statement pieces that dangle from a roof overhang in front of a main door.

If you are one of the many who have fallen in love with Scandinavian decor and are looking for the perfect lighting fixtures to complement this timeless decor style, we can help. Please contact us today.

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