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What is Scandinavian Modern Design?

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Antonio Wedral
What is Scandinavian Modern Design?

It’s not uncommon to see certain design trends come and go every few years. They make a big impact in the interior design world, are splashed all over social media and then settle in the background as a new trend comes into focus. But, one trend that seems to have tremendous staying power that people just can’t get enough of, is Scandinavian modern design. Simple, functional and connected to the natural world, Scandi style offers an understated elegance but what does it actually mean?

We’ll be looking at where this influential style came from, what makes it so popular and how you can incorporate it into both your home and your lifestyle.

Scandinavian Design History

The Scandinavian design movement first emerged during the 1930s in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Because of their harsh winters, creating a warm, cosy home that let in as much natural light as possible was essential for their well-being which is why you’ll often find many textures such as knitted blankets and faux fur cushions featured heavily in Scandi-style homes.

It wasn’t until the 1950s’ where Scandinavian design really took off. The works of various, notable Nordic designers were presented across the United States and Canada and won awards for their minimalist style. Promoting clean lines and simple but beautiful designs inspired by nature and using sustainable yet affordable and easily accessible materials, people everywhere jumped on the bandwagon and started to include Scandinavian designs in both their home and office space.

What are the main elements of Scandinavian Modern Design?

The main elements that Scandinavian modern design focuses on are:

  • Muted colours

A neutral heavy colour palette is the way to go with a Scandi-style home. Utilising whites, greys and tans to make a space feel bright, open and airy, especially during the long, dark winters, is extremely important. Often accent colours such as soft blue, bright yellow or pale pinks are used to add interest.

  • Natural lighting

Having white or neutral coloured walls really emphasises all available light and helps to make a room feel bigger and brighter. Keeping windows clear of clutter and untreated to let as much light as possible in is key to a Scandi-style home.

  • Modern furniture

Sleek, modern furniture that offers clean, gentle lines, warm tones and a functional design, much like our Model 01 and Model 02 sofas, is what you will often come across in Scandinavian designed homes.

  • De-cluttered space

Because Scandinivaian homes were traditionally fairly small, they didn’t allow for excessive decorative items so a ‘less is more’ approach was taken. Scandinavian designers tend to avoid intricate detailing and prefer keeping things simple but functional.

  • Focus on nature

Wood, plants and flowers are all featured in Scandi-style homes to brighten up the space, add a pop of colour and natural texture and breathe life into the room.

  • Cosy accessories

As mentioned previously, because of the long, cold and harsh winters Scandinavian countries often experience, making the home as comfortable and cosy as possible is a must. Thick blankets, plush rugs and faux fur cushions are all typical things you’ll find in a Scandi-designed home.

Why is Scandinavian Modern Design popular?

In a world with so much noise, confusion and franticness, coming home to a fresh, simple, minimalist space is appealing to so many as it offers a sense of calmness that people often struggle to find in their everyday life. An uncluttered home, filled with bright light and natural elements, makes for a great place to unwind, recharge and disconnect from the outside world.

Scandinavian design is becoming much more than just an interior aesthetic, but rather a way of life too. It’s about making the most of the things that truly matter to us, appreciating the little things and slowing down to achieve a real sense of fulfilment.

Scandinavian design is also extremely popular because it’s style is so timeless. Nature, sustainability and quality are just a few things that will never go out of style and are all incorporated in a Scandi-design. So, you can be confident that then choosing a Scandinavian design, you won’t look back with regret in a few years' time.

Want to learn more about buying sustainably? Take a look at our guide to buying eco-friendly and sustainable furniture.

If you’re working with a smaller living room, have a read of our guide to buying a sofa for small spaces which will help you select the perfect piece for your home.

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