Friday, 01 April 2016

Pure Scandinavian Style

Interior trends come and go, but light, friendly style is once again creeping into our homes.

Written by Sara Norrman
Homes in the Nordic countries have a relaxed way of living that is copied and emulated the world over. These countries are incredibly varied in cultural heritage but all share a very similar design aesthetic: from TromsØ to Esbjerg, Scandinavian homes are light, friendly and simply gorgeous.

house-590-2Left: This kitchen has a sea view but the work surface looks into the living room. Right: Wild flowers in a jug is a pleasing addition to any room

Households in Scandinavia did away with dark furniture and heavy textiles on a larger scale from as early as the mid-1950s. The post-war era brought with it good design, which was available to everybody: affordable, practical yet beautiful, it is a form of design that works hard on all levels. A love of pale and muted colours can be seen in most homes. You can decorate with any colour – as long as it’s white. And the white palette runs the whole gamut from the brightest gallery whites to the softly pale grey Gustavian whites. But if the walls, floors and ceilings remain stubbornly quiet, there has always been scope for loud and colourful textiles and accessories.

house-590-3Left: The bathroom has a retro feel with white tiles and roll-top bath. Right: In the bedroom, the vintage radiator, with strict ridges and sharp lines, provides pattern, complemented by the striped cushion

When it comes to designers worth name-dropping, Scandinavia is second only to Italy. This mix between cutting-edge designs and more traditional craft is a winning combination in Scandi design – revolutionary items like the Cobra phone, Verner Panton’s moulded plastic chair and the PH light now exist happily alongside a thriving craft-based industry.

house-590-4The Scandinavians are fond of mixing old and new. Right:

Wood is perhaps the most common of the natural materials, due of course to the abundance of forests. Other popular materials that are an instant hit in the home are stone, hides, felt and pewter. But whatever the history, natural backdrop or design heritage, when styles are mixed up, it creates homes that are all about relaxed comfort; places where everybody should feel at home. It’s a style that is so much more than fabric swatches or paint samples – it’s a style formed by life.

Simply Scandinavian, by Sara Norrman, is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99.

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