Of all the design styles that have gained popularity in recent years, the typical Nordic or Scandinavian model has become among the most widespread. Seen as highly desirable because of its strong, clean lines, maximum use of blond wood and focus on creating a feeling of spaciousness in even the smallest room, Scandinavian design is regarded as both refined and functional. Characteristic design schemes deliver comfort as well as charm, and clever storage ideas promote an image of neatness and lack of general clutter that is both stylish and sophisticated. Here are some simple ways in which this hot trend can be incorporated into the modern home.
In addition to blond wooden floors and furniture, other natural materials favoured by Scandinavian designers include fur, leather and wool. White walls and pale floors, illuminated by soft lighting and candlelight, act as a sort of antidote to the dark Scandinavian winters, while fabrics for rugs, cushions, curtains and throws or blankets are selected for their warmth and versatility.
In Nordic design, creating space is very important, and decluttering the home is the first step towards achieving a minimalistic look. Being able to see windows in their entirety is an important part of the equation as their hard edges add to the geometry of the room – for this reason blinds are often used, or ceiling-to-floor curtains that run the length of an entire wall and can be drawn back completely to emphasise the shapes of windows.
When it comes to living room furniture, family and guests alike appreciate a big, chunky, comfortable sofa and a generous footstool, complete with cushions and throws, plus a low level coffee table. Usually, these are arranged on or around a warm rug. Sometimes rugs are in a block colour that complements the room décor; however, to an increasing extent, Nordic patterns feature classic geometrical designs, as do cushions and throws.
Upholstered furniture tends to be in neutral shades of white, grey or cream with the occasional statement piece in red or black. Lighting is very important and modern Nordic design schemes might include, for example, discreet spotlights and anglepoise lamps to provide ambient lighting as well as classy and contemporary chandeliers for general lighting purposes.
Artworks displayed on walls and plants in pots tend to be strategically placed and sparsely distributed, mainly designed to enhance or to offset the other elements of the living room space. It’s not unusual to find the odd quirky addition to ensure the end result is not sterile – a colourful wall mural, perhaps, or a quirky ornament on a bookshelf, while an acoustic guitar snuggling up against a corner of the room is more common than might be expected.
Here to stay
Much of the appeal of Nordic design schemes from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland is the fact that they are relatively easy to achieve – even for those with a strict budget – but look so smart. They are also practical for singles, couples, families and friends sharing accommodation and can be adapted to suit any style or age of property.