Defined by sleek lines, a neutral palette, minimalist décor with cosy accessories and warm natural timber, the Scandi interior design style is clean, calming and contemporary. Early Settler stylist, Donna Gilligan, has some cool suggestions for creating the Scandinavian look in your home.
The Scandinavian or ‘Nordic’ style has been a firm favourite in Australian homes for quite some time. It doesn’t seem to be falling out of fashion any time soon.
Donna Gilligan, Early Settler stylist
Originating in the Scandinavia countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark where cold, dark winters last for months, a key element of the Scandi style is light. “The feeling of spaciousness and light is welcoming and makes you want to spend more time in a room,” says Donna. “Start with a neutral backdrop of white, light grey, cream or beige. Light colours amplify the space and light.”
“Use timber to create a calm environment,” explains Donna. Whitewashed and light-toned timbers are favoured in Nordic countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, as they are uplifting and help to reflect the light. “Add pops of cool colour over this neutral palette. And natural wood against real or faux indoor plants also adds warmth and is a hallmark of this style.”
‘Hygge’ (pronounced HOO-gah) is a Danish word that means creating a mood of cosiness with warmth, comfort and being surrounded by the things you love. “Living room spaces should portray simplicity, functionality and the idea of hygge: warm, cosy and social,” says Donna. “Harness the hygge in your neutral spaces with wool rugs, woven throws, soft cushions in muted hues, candles and wall art.”
Functionality, simplicity and contemporary design are at the heart Scandi styling. “Less is more – you want to look like you have space to spare,” Donna explains. Select beautiful furniture with an emphasis on quality over quantity, and keep your rooms uncluttered with minimal ornamentation and a focus on sleek and simple. “Everything should be carefully chosen, yet look relaxed. And consider functional storage solutions to keep clutter at bay.”
Just as important as the furnishings is harnessing plenty of natural light. “The use of white space, pale wood and inviting lighting against soft hues is very powerful,” says Donna. “It is such a clever trend that is spacious and largely monochromatic but still manages to feel warm and cosy.” Leave windows bare or use sheer curtains, and add plenty of additional lighting options with pendants and lamps so you can create the right ambiance well into the evening.