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What makes Nordic interiors so very cool
Published 13/01/14



RENOWNED for their simplicity, utility, and beauty, Scandinavian homes have a pure, pared-back style that is centred around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance, writes Jacky Hayler.

The use of light is considered to be extremely important, and many Scandinavian homes are characterised by the use of earthy muted tones, honest materials and minimal ornamentation. Here are a few tips to help you recreate the look in your own home.

Floors: Wall-to-wall carpets never took off in Sweden and all truly Scandinavian interiors will have a wooden, preferably light, floor in all rooms apart from the bathrooms.

Colour: White walls and cool grey and blue textiles definitely give off the right ambience of a Scandinavian interior. However there are more colourful textiles from the likes of Marimekko in the Sixties pop vein and the much more decorative Josef Frank from the Forties. Both very different, both very Scandinavian.

Materials: Wood — and don’t be afraid to show it. Incorporate cladding on walls and even ceilings to add texture and warmth. Use a grey oil to take the yellow away from woods like pine or oak.


Form and function: Clean lines from architecture to furniture mean Scandinavian houses are very easy to live in.

Furniture: There are such incredible pieces from several manufacturers, from mid-century period designers like Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen. Their pieces are just as beautiful today as they were when they were conceived.

Fireplaces in the corner: Scandinavian winters are much harsher than those in the UK and most apartments and houses have an original fire in the living room. Unlike British fireplaces that are usually the focal point of a grand room, these are often very simple columns (many originals from the 19th century are beautifully tiled) and are located in the corner of the room.

Be eco-friendly: Swedes have been very quick to add eco-friendly aspects to their houses. Triple-glazing, proper insulation for walls and roofs, ground source heat pumps …. all these are fairly standard in Swedish new builds.

Add an outside/ inside room: Swedes generally love a connection with the outdoors so you’ll find a balcony or terrace in even the smallest apartments. These are usually decked and used for grilling (Swedes rival Australia and South Africa in the barbecue stakes) and entertaining outdoors during the late light nights of the summer.

Scale back on accessories: Any Scandinavian would shudder at the sight of an English Victorian interior with collections of little boxes. Declutter!

Published 13/01/14

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