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The Scandinavian Design Style

The Scandinavian design style originated in the 1930's, as the Nordic influence of simplicity and practicality emerged in interior design, specifically in the countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Scandinavian design focuses largely on furniture, ceramics, and textiles, but has also influenced the design of entire building structures and smaller elements such as appliances and electronics as well. Sustainability and longevity are key, and durable materials are valued over mere decoration. Nature and the northern climate are influential in both materials and the minimalistic decor, as well as specialty pieces created by famous Scandinavian artists and designers.

Scandinavian Style Architecture

The Scandinavian architectural style bears in mind the northern climate, with its long harsh winters and short days. Plenty of natural lighting is a necessary element to help keep life bright and comfortable inside the home. Building materials are often sustainably sourced, and blend in beautifully with the surrounding environment, both in color and design.

  •  Sturdy structures

  • Flat or pitched roofing

  • The use of the color black to catch heat from the sun

  • Clean lines

  • Large south-facing windows

  • Cozy fireplaces to combat the cold

Scandinavian Materials

Building materials in the Scandinavian style are often sustainably sourced, and blend in beautifully with the surrounding environment, both in color and design. Interior items are also made of materials that reflect a lifestyle that is concerned with functionality yet is in close connection with the local native resources. 

  • Metals such as corrugated steel for roofing and even siding

  • Concrete for floors and sometimes interior walls.

  • Wood is used extensively for exterior siding accents and interior walls, floors, furniture, etc.

  • Fully carpeted floors are rare or non-existent

  • Stone fireplaces

Scandinavian Colors and Finishes

If you can imagine the hues and shades of the Nordic landscape, then you know the common colors of Scandinavian style. Neutral tones are predominant, such as that of wood, stone, and concrete. Colors are avoided that draw attention to themselves. Clean, comforting, and simplistic would be a good way to describe the colors and finishes; most are pale and light shades to make the most of natural lighting during the day.

  • Faded wood 

  • Grays, and light grayish blues

  • Furniture and textile accents of deeper natural shades, such as rust red, pine green, browns and tans

  • Plenty of bright white surfaces

  • Metal is used for fixtures and simple-but-sturdy furniture frames

Scandinavian Furniture and Decor

Furniture in Scandinavian design is useful and created to make life easy - easy to move, easy to clean, and comfortable to use. Decor is minimal, but effective in making the atmosphere homey and beautiful. Elements of the local environment are often brought indoors to confirm the close tie to nature. 

  • Clean-lined tables and chairs

  • Artwork that displays items of nature or landscapes, often by famous Scandinavian designers

  • Rustic wood shelves 

  • Ceramics and occasional decorative tile

  • Accent rugs and other textiles with splashes of color

  • Potted houseplants to freshen the air and lessen the gloom of winter

Scandinavian Lighting

As with the other features of this Nordic style, lighting is simple and practical in design. It could be described as similar to modern industrial, in that it doesn't draw attention to itself, but it gets the job done well. Lighting is a high priority in Scandinavian style, and when natural light is not available during the dark months of winter, bright and efficient light fixtures are a necessity. 

  • Multiple smaller pendant style lights 

  • Often white, gray, or black fixtures

  • Clean smooth lines

  • Free of unnecessary ornaments or extra detail

  • Bright and thoroughly illuminating

Urban Ambiance is your partner in all things lighting, and we can help you choose the best light fixtures for your Scandinavian inspired home. Contact us today for more information.