1. A Minimalist Approach
Take any trip to IKEA, and you are immediately struck by how minimalist approach of Scandinavian Design. It allows one to live and breathe in an uncluttered space where clean lines and white space dominate. This approach promotes a sense of calm and modern functionality. One description is entirely inappropriate for Scandinavian design – and that is ‘cluttered.’
Given this fact, the first step towards mastering this design approach is to declutter. However, what you are not looking for is minimalism taken too far – that only leads to an impression of starkness. What you are searching for is best described by the Swedish word ‘Lagom’ – a sense of ‘just enough’ or ‘in-between’. It is a concept that means straddling the line between too much and too little. It’s an ethos that shares many similarities with Marie Kondo’s “just-right click point.” approach. It’s a highly personal look – and you will know when you hit that sweet spot.
Some guidelines can help you reach a state of ‘Lagom.’ First, do not overdue patterns and color (colorful carpets and accents do, however, have their place in bedroom flooring). It’s a case of striving for a delicate balance between ‘too-muchness’ and the other components and qualities of the room. Once you have the basics right, you can explore your unique take on the ‘Lagom’ concept. Add or remove items until it is a reflection of your unique approach to the style. Never forget to select the items for your room with a sense of mindfulness. It’s easier than you think to get that ideal Scandinavian look without breaking your budget – and for some great ideas, check out England-to-Sweden transplant Niki Brantmark’s book that provides some great Scandinavian decor ideas that go beyond the interior of your living space.
2. Focus on Quality
Scandinavian craftsmen are known worldwide for the quality of the products they manufacture. In keeping with this ethos, invest only in decor items of exceptional quality – and opt for pieces that can fulfill more than one function or have a practical application. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that Scandinavian-influenced furniture and fittings (such as light fittings) and other functional home items should epitomize Scandinavian design – being functional, modern, and striking – while still being simple and avoiding the ornate.
Note: The above guidelines do not mean abandoning any sense of style, far from it. Ordinary items artfully constructed by artisans using only the finest materials and design approaches become decorative in their own right. Seek out the ordinary- many pieces can display exceptional design. Especially useful are storage-included items that can make a real difference in making your home easier to manage – and they can often make stunning decor elements.
3. Bring the Outside in.
Natural resources in Scandinavia are scarce – and the Scandinavians are not only proud of these resources but have also learned to understand and respect nature – and work with it to get the most from what is available. Their love demonstrates Scandinavians’ appreciation for nature for the outdoors and the design and decor approaches they take in their homes.
You, too, can honor nature much like the Scandinavians. Incorporate natural elements into your home decor, Use natural and man-made light creatively, and seek out sculpture that echoes the shapes and forms found in nature. Incorporate house plants into your lifestyle and try to stick with natural fabrics for upholstery. wool, cotton, sheepskin, jute, burlap, and mohair are all fabulous choices. Plants and natural items can be used extremely effectively as vignettes. Provide users of the room with natural views and essential natural light. Wherever possible, opt for sustainability and eco-friendy when decorating.
4. Take a Neutral Approach to decor – But don’t Ignore Splashes of Color
When evaluating how best to use color while remaining true to the Scandinavian design ideals, turn to nature for your inspiration. Earth tones, stone and wood patterns, and colors are all excellent, neutral, and sophisticated. You can sing these textures and colors by adding a bright color dash to the decor. That sophisticated palette can be made even more effective through the use of wall paint that is lighter in color. This provides the room with lightness. The same effect can be achieved through the use of light-colored natural wood. Furniture can therefore accentuate the rest of the decor, providing focal points of interest and contrast. If you are considering larger blocks of color, then opt for greys and gunmetal colors. Green plants are great, as are neutral colors and monochromatic installations that tell a story. Graphic and botanical prints are also a great way to enliven a Scandinavian-inspired room. Feel free to experiment with brighter colors when it comes to smaller accents; these can excite the room. For further design and inspiration, take a look at the work of the well-known Finnish design house Marimekko. If you want to enliven a white room, then the Scandinavia Standard’s White Room series could be what you are looking for.
5. Contrast is King
Like many other design styles, the Scandinavian interior design uses contrast. While it is commonly thought that colors that are found opposite each other on a color wheel are the definitive examples of contrast, the fact of the matter is that the concept of ‘contrast’ can apply to a wide range of interior design elements, for example, shape, emotional resonance, and texture). An alternative approach to contrasting colors is to create a contrast between light and dark neutrals, the old and the new, linear and curved or abstract pieces, and realism. As mentioned above, the contrast between the neutral and pops of color is particularly effective. You can also contrast between hard, soft, and functional vs. cozy and comforting. Increase the effectiveness of the approach by finding decor items that will complement walls, wall art, furniture, light fixtures, and even hardwood floors.