Creating Your Scandinavian Dream Home
If there’s one thing Scandinavians are known for, I’d argue it’s their ability to create beautiful, Pinterest-worthy interiors. I don’t know about you, but every time I come across another Nordic interior design blog or Instagram account, I can’t help but obsess over how balanced, relaxing, and well-composed every space looks. It should come as no surprise then that Scandinavian design is, without question, both my favorite style and my go-to inspiration when it comes to decorating (and redecorating) my own space. And after years, yes years, of obsessing over all things Scandinavian – but especially interiors – I’ve picked up on a few patterns or themes that most, if not all, Nordic homes employ. So if you’ve been itching to create your Scandinavian dream home but haven’t known where to start, give these six ideas a try!
Start With Neutrals
I know, for those of you who are super familiar with Scandinavian design, this is a given. If there’s one thing almost all Scandinavian interiors have in common, it’s a neutral color palette. Think crisp whites juxtaposed with stark blacks, and just about any and every shade of grey in between to soften the contrast. Well, let me correct myself – your entire home doesn’t have to be black, white, and grey, but the base upon which you build the rest of your home should be.
Maximize Natural Light
One of the primary reasons behind the reliance on a neutral base color palette, especially white, is that it helps maximize natural light. White is a reflective color, so using it throughout your home definitely helps create a lighter, brighter space. And while having a ton of natural light is nice year-round, during the fall and winter months it’s almost a necessity, since it gets darker earlier and stays darker longer. I mean, I live in Los Angeles and nightfall is starting to hit around 5 pm, which is a wee bit too early for my liking. Imagine what the Nordic region goes through!
Now that we’ve neutralized our base and made sure to factor natural light into the equation, next step is to embrace nature. Starting with the most obvious route, make sure to utilize a lot of plants! Having visited Oslo (Norway) recently, if there’s one thing I noticed in all the shops and apartments I visited it was an abundance of greenery. But then again, I guess this should come as no surprise given how connected Scandinavians are to the outdoors. So, step one is to buy a ton of plants (that you know you can keep alive!) and place them all throughout your home – on mantels, tables, hanging from the ceiling, and in planters on the floor. Go for it – create the jungle of your dreams. In addition to the plants, however, embracing nature also means embracing natural materials, like wood, leather, suede, clay, jute, and concrete. If you’re hesitant about this step, I’d suggest beginning by introducing wood into your home, as this is an element pretty commonly found throughout all interiors. So maybe try a console table with a walnut veneer or even a dining table in birch. As long as you keep it simple and clean, the natural elements should flow and blend fairly seamlessly with the rest of your Scandinavian-inspired home.
Always Keep It Clean (& Functional)
That brings me to my next point – always maintain a clean, minimalist space, and try to keep it as functional as possible. I think one of the main reasons so many people are drawn to Scandinavian design (myself included) is because it marries form with function. From what I saw while I was in Oslo, most of the apartments in the city are on the smaller side (especially compared to what we get in Los Angeles), so every piece of furniture or decor has to have a clear purpose or function. If you approach your design project keeping that in mind, you’ll likely end up buying a lot less than what you originally expected! So save yourself some time, money, and the headache of having too much stuff cluttering your space, and keep your home clean, minimal, and functional.
Then Add Some Color
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s start adding some color. This is where you can really let your personality come through, so have fun with it! I’m not thaaaat into bold, bright colors, so I’d probably end up using throw pillows or blankets in richer, jewel tones in the colder months and pastels in the warmer months (think navy, and emerald, or blush pink and light camel). You can also, of course, utilize various prints and mix them with other solid or color blocked textiles to create a cool, geometric look to your home decor. And don’t forget about your artwork! That’s another means of easily adding color to your otherwise neutral space.
Add Cozy Textures & Elements
This may be more of a seasonal tip, but since we’re entering the colder months, it feels pretty relevant – use cozy textures to create warmth! I like to incorporate knits and faux fur accents once we get into the colder months, again through seasonal items like throw pillows and blankets. Oh, and definitely use simple, but beautifully designed or arranged candles, either in glass vases, on candle trays or with a set of candlestick holders (of varying heights). It’s an inexpensive trick, but can add an elegant touch throughout your home, when done right. You don’t want to blindly fill your space with various candles; instead, really gauge how much tabletop space you have and want to work with, and play with your proportions (assuming you purchased candles of varying height or style) and composition. Finishing touches always take time to master, but once you do, they make all the difference in the world.