Scandinavian design: Lean, purify beauty

March 5, 2016 - accent chair

Kivik. Hemnes. Ektorp. Even if we aren’t certain what these funny-sounding difference mean, they’re substantially informed to you. That’s since they’re a names of sofas and bookshelves from IKEA. But did we know a Swedish association names a products after towns in Northern Europe as a curtsy to a Nordic heritage? And that a blue and yellow trademark was desirous by a Swedish flag?

It’s easy to forget how many Scandinavian pattern has shabby a American seat market. Thanks to complicated mass retailers, including IKEA, purify lines and starkly elementary silhouettes are so renouned they’ve turn mainstream.

But what is Scandinavian design, and since did it turn one of a go-to pattern styles in a grown world? And are we doing it right?

Let’s start with a basics. The character emerged in a 1950s as partial of a complicated transformation in Nordic pattern (i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) that prioritized duty and affordability over preciousness and luxury. Marked by dim colors, healthy materials and lean, leggy furniture, a cultured was mostly a response to a region’s brief days and prolonged winters, that called for bright, unsentimental interiors.

These days, it’s a favorite among minimalists who surveillance a change on a midcentury complicated transformation and regard a miss of fuss. As such, a cultured seems utterly smart around a new year, when resolutions to declutter are tip of mind.

While there’s a good understanding of overlie between Scandinavian and midcentury complicated design, a biggest differences can be found in a lighting and tone palette. Midcentury complicated interiors tend to try darker hues and work only excellent in low light, since Scandinavian interiors aim to maximize levity in a room.

“It’s as many a lifestyle as it is a look,” says interior engineer Rachel Dougan, who owns ViVi Interiors in Washington, D.C. “It’s disciplined. Swedish benches, for example, have longer legs. And we consider to myself, how easy would it be to store things underneath there? But Swedish pattern has no place for confusion since confusion hull a lines. It begs to be left alone so that atmosphere and light can disseminate by it. It’s aspirational.”

Don’t be intimidated, though. The character doesn’t have to be blending in full — it works good with industrial and farmhouse pieces — and for a many part, a seat isn’t as ethereal as it looks. Loi Thai, who owns a Swedish antiques emporium Tone on Tone in Bethesda, Maryland, says many Scandinavian seat is utterly imperishable and will mount a exam of time.

The ardour for modern, minimalist pattern can be felt even in some-more normal places, Thai says, where people bashful divided from big, complicated sets of furniture. “The thing about Swedish seat is that it has a lot of classical elements. There’s so many story there,” he says, “but it lends itself simply to a complicated interior since it’s really edited.”

Magazines and pattern blogs tend to make Scandinavian pattern demeanour impossibly neat and expensive. Pictures uncover whitewashed walls, healthy timber floors, thespian match chandeliers and bedrooms flooded with light. These interpretations aren’t always realistic, so if you’re looking to work a cultured in your possess home, only remember that it’s high on function, low on fuss.

“The dining room is a good place to start,” Thai says. “One by one, barter out complicated dining chairs for light ones and brew a accumulation of colors and materials. It will feel mouth-watering and personal.”

To fill in a gaps of a mix-and-match look, try IKEA’s birch-legged Leifarne chairs ($59 each, or World Market’s Paige square-back dining chairs ($400 for a set of two,, that Dougan likes.

As for tables, IKEA creates a basic, extendible timber list called a Norden ($299, that can be interconnected with only about any chair from around a house.

In vital spaces, equivocate large, dim rugs and wall-to-wall bookshelves, and instead open for a dim handwoven mat, such as one from Safavieh’s Rag collection ($30 for a 2-by-4-foot rug,, and a few vast potted fig trees. Accessories should be few and purposeful: copper light fixtures and vast mirrors to rebound light around a room, rainbow-colored candleholders for a small, confidant accent, and clusters of cocktail art on a wall.

Consider introducing some high-contrast manly elements to keep a room from looking overly feminine, Dougan advises.

“This demeanour has a lot of pastels,” she says, so supplement some resisting elements, such as a tender timber coffee list or industrial steel match lamp, or even a lead piece, such as a complicated bullion clock. And of course, patience and change are crucial. One of a many common mistakes newbies make when decorating with a Scandinavian demeanour in mind is going overboard.

“Swedish seat is really leggy,” Dougan says. “If we aren’t careful, your whole vital room will demeanour like it’s full of twigs.”

More info

Interested in exploring some-more Scandinavian design? These sites are good places to start:

• Menu Design Shop (

• Muuto (

• Finnish Design Shop (

• Huset (

• Hay (

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