Watching Erin’s gorgeous ranch transform into the Scandinavian retreat she and Ken have dreamed of has revived my love of this cool design aesthetic. Scandinavian design was, in fact, the first style that I fell in love with and truly felt was my own. What appealed to me as a teen is very much what appeals to me today. The clean lines, geometric shapes and bold colors of modern Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish designs all exude a sense of fun and interest that are often overlooked in other styles.
Many Scandinavian palettes, like the one in the living room above and what we’ve seen in Erin’s house, consist of lots of black and white layering. To warm up what could be otherwise sterile and cold, bright pops of primary colors like red (like in this Saarinen womb chair, or Marimekko bedding) yellow, or bright blue are used cheerfully.
Photo courtesy of Ikea
The seasons, especially the winter with its long stretches of very limited sunlight, have most likely had a huge influence on the abundant usage of white in Scandinavian design. White optimizes available light and does double duty by creating the illusion of bigger spaces. The room above is probably 12 feet wide, but with all white walls and shelving, the perceived space seems much bigger. A vibrant red polka dotted sofa and bright blues desk chair add a punch of cheer for long winter days.
Even in spaces that aren’t punctuated by playful primary colors, Scandinavians still manage to be warm and welcoming. A pale, natural wood coffee table and a toasty fire make this virtually all-white room feel cozy and unified instead of stark and cold. The great big windows and doors let natural light flood in and even “decorate” the walls with their greenery.
As the weather gradually begins tilting toward cold, keep these tried and true Scandinavian tricks in mind to breathe new life into your home-sweet-home.