Environmental friendliness is a way of life in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. It’s no wonder that Scandinavia’s main players help make up the list of the world’s top 5 most sustainable countries (along with Australia and Switzerland). Strong social welfare systems allow their governments to stay abreast of environmental issues, focusing on renewable resources, lowering carbon emissions and recycling.
This eco-friendliness continues throughout the typical Scandinavian home. Houses are designed carefully and built efficiently, with tradesmen concentrating on ecological techniques and materials. Inside, the theme of green continues. The idea of Scandinavian design often inspires images of Ikea. But there’s much more to this style than primary colours and flat-pack furniture. We’re going to take a look at five main features of Scandinavian interior design, and explain how you can achieve this for a stylish, minimalistic and – most importantly – eco-friendly home.
Bring nature indoors
The Scandinavian love of nature is well-known. For those that are lucky enough to live in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, a huge part of life is dedicated to the great outdoors. And when it’s time to head inside, there’s no reason why nature can’t still be enjoyed. Scandinavian design reflects the beauty of Mother Nature through its involvement of plants, organic materials and natural colours. “The Scandinavians have a wonderful sense of reverence to nature, similar to the Japanese,” explains LaMar Lisman, founder of Lisman Studio, a commercial and residential interior design company whose philosophy focuses around mindful design. “Wood is treated with great care and respect in their furniture, and never camouflaged with heavy, dark stains and finishes. You can almost feel it breathe – because you can see the grain.” The same can be said for stone elements, which are regularly incorporated into Scandinavian design. “Stone is respected with the same integrity [as wood]; always in careful moderation and appropriate where it is used for each piece of furniture.”
Neutral colour palette
Scandinavian design typically features muted shades of grey, white, cream, sage and duck egg. These cool colours create a sense of space and cleanliness while complementing predominantly wooden features perfectly. Scandinavian winters are long and bleak, so anything that adds lightness and brightness to the home is favoured. Steer clear of dark shades and instead opt for vaporous tones. The most effective colour palettes are limited to no more than four shades, so select carefully. “A neutral palette is always our preferred one to work in,” LaMar notes. “Colors from nature, particularly neutral ones, never date. A neutral palette also affords our clients the opportunity to bring in brighter and colorful accents in their artwork, accessories and plants. Basically, neutral Scandinavian tones are versatile, timeless and are wonderfully gender neutral as well!
Form follows function
One of the key features of Scandinavian design is its excellent functionality, which
is never compromised by visual elements, though of course these remain stylish and elegant, too. Scandinavian interior design has the distinct ability to offer superb performance, both in terms of practicality and energy efficiency. This functionality is complemented by carefully considered aesthetics, making for a high quality design feature that’s both effective and attractive. “Nobody beats the Scandinavians for stuffing the maximum amount of quality and efficiency into their furniture,” explains LaMar. “Living and working in small footprints has taught them well; good design can greatly improve and enhance their quality of life.”
Eco-friendliness is a huge priority across the Scandinavian landscape, and all homes are built, decorated and maintained with the environment in mind. Thick insulation, solar panels and triple glazing are standard across most new builds, while prefabs are becoming ever more popular, cutting the supply chain in half. When it comes to decorating, Scandinavians favour investment pieces that will stand the test of time, few adornments and sustainable materials, all of which contribute to an airy, minimalist space that offers interest through natural textures and grains. “It has taken a while for our clients to warm (no pun intended!) to eco friendly design,” explains LaMar. “But now we have many clients ask for it. Being responsible and respectful of our environment and the world around us never goes out of style. The Scandinavians have known this for a long time. It’s wonderful to see how seamlessly they integrate it into their designs. Their design is inviting, durable, practical and elegant. Isn’t that essence of nature in a nutshell? “
We can’t help but agree. If you’d like to find out more about Scandinavian interior design, get in touch with one of our experts on Facebook and Twitter. You can also check out our full range of sustainable wooden blinds – perfect for completing your Scandinavian-inspired decor – by clicking the button below.