What Is Scandinavian Design? (2022)

White walls, wood floors,modern furniture, and minimalist decor are all hallmark traits of a Scandinavian aesthetic. More than just furniture you buy from IKEA, Scandinavian design originates from Nordic influences and incorporates the contributions of talented Scandinaviandesigners such as Alvar Aalto, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, Eero Aarnio, and Ingvar Kamprad.

Scandinavia in Focus

Scandinavia refers to the northern European countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark (and its territory Greenland). Depending on the context, some also include close neighbor Finland and Iceland, an island nation just to the North. While there are several historical and cultural similarities between these nations, there are also more than a few notable differences. The way in which they became united under the banner of home decor is a matter of marketing as much as history, beginning with changing social philosophies at the end of the 1800s.

Romanticism in Decline

The world was changing rapidly atthe end of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution made daily living conveniences more accessible, which in-turn influenced commerceand politics rapidly on a global scale. Modernism was sprouting up everywhere and, fearing a takeover of machines in all aspects of life, an impassioned plea emerged for a return to nature.

One such admonition came from the Arts and Crafts movement, led by designer William Morris. Arguing for the "diligent study of nature," Morrisattempted to reverse the social course brought upon by the surge of industrialism. This wasalso one of the last gasps of the Romantic movement as the Art Nouveau movement was taking hold in Europe.

Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and World War I

By the early20th century, Art Nouveau was certainly anew style for a new century.Like most new artistic movements, Art Nouveau was, in many ways, a rejection of the forms that had preceded it.

Similar to the Arts andCrafts movement, Art Nouveauembraced the decorative artsof interior design, as well as fine arts and architecture. As Europe moved closer to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the social commentary became more a part ofdazsf art and architecture. The revolutionary tone of European art through movements like the German Bauhaus, Russian Constructivists,​ and Swiss Dadaistsmirrored a growing rejection of traditional notions of social class and aristocracy.

(Video) What is Scandinavia? And what is Scandinavian design? A brief history of the Nordic countries.

By the time the war ended in 1918, those structures were showing signs of weakening, as were the nature-inspired designs of Art Nouveau. Despite the devastation of war, only two short years separated the end of the conflict from the start of theRoaring '20s.By 1925, the naturalist designs of Art Nouveau had been largely supplanted by the visually-dazzling designs of Art Deco.

And, though it had been intended to celebrate a time of unheralded prosperity, Art Deco's reign as the preeminent design style of the nouveau richewas slowed by the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, then brought to a completehalt by the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

World War II and Modernism

If World War I made apparent the cracks in the aging social structures of European nobility and the aristocracy, World War II broke them wide open. More than one empire lay in ruins and European powers struggled to hold on to the ill-gotten gains of colonization in Africa, South America,and Asia. The philosophical outlook of Europe with regards to art and society was also shifting, and that change was made evident in home decor as well.

To this point, whether it was Art Deco, Art Nouveau, or any of the preceding styles, beauty in the home was the providence of those who could afford it. The level of complexity or ostentation in the design was a direct reflection of the social status of the homeowner—bigger nearly always meant better. However, that feeling began to change in the aftermath of the war. Modernism, which began in-part with Art Nouveau, began to take on a new form.

A New Day For European Design

In light of two world wars in the same half-century, it was a popular view in the mid-20th century that humans were doing something wrong. Consequently, the design world was looking for an antidote for totalitarianism, which had been represented in design by the German-based Bauhaus style.

New social ideas were sweeping through Europe and,in design, they reversed older conventions around beauty and status. Beauty, which had once been reserved for the wealthy, and functionality—required by all—were combined, and those products were made available to everyone.

(Video) WHAT IS SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN | Everything you need to know

At the same time, the years following World War II saw the nations of Scandinavia banding together. This was particularly evident in the realm of design—through a series of conferences in Scandinavian cities during the 1940s, a design movement was forming.

Design in Scandinavia

This new approach to design was a combination of beauty, simplicity, and functionality. The element of functionality had been influential for some time in Scandinavianarchitecture, as seen in the Bauhaus Movement.The harsh climates of northern Europe (particularly during winter) had long influenced Scandinavians to prize utility and simplicity above decoration.

The formulation of a specifically Scandinavian style of modernist design may have begun during the '40s, but it was notuntil the beginning of the 1950s that it began to take shape as a recognizable entity.Themidcentury modern stylewas heavily influenced by the appearance of Scandinavian design on the world stage in the early '50s. Most furniture arrangements were uncluttered and simple, giving the entire space a cozy, content feeling described ashyggein Danish.

One of the first major steps for widespread recognition occurred with the establishment of the Lunning Prize, otherwise known as the "Nobel Prize" of Scandinavian design. The award was named for Frederik Lunning, a New York-based importer of Danish designs, and wasawarded for the first time in 1951 and every year thereafter until 1970. Shortly after the institution of the prize, Scandinavian design gained a champion in Elizabeth Gordon - editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine during this era.

Gordon described Scandinavian design as an alternative to Nazi-era design fascism, describing it as democratic, natural, minimal, intimate, and focused on the home and family, not the state. In 1954, Gordon arranged "Design in Scandinavia," a traveling exhibition of the best designs the collective nations had to offer. For three years, the show visited cities in the United States and Canada.

Scandinavian Design in Interiors

By the time Gordon'sexhibitionconcluded its run, Scandinavian design was an internationally recognized commodity and one that had a particularly strong following in the United States. Though its popularity declined between the 1960s and 1980s, the renewed focus on sustainability during the 1990sand early 2000s breathed new life into the trend.

(Video) Scandinavian Design Style Explained | In Under 3 Minutes

Rooms designed in the Scandinavian style tend to boast white walls to emphasize light, a neutral-heavy palette with pops of color, natural textures such as wood and stone, a lack of window treatments and carpets, and simple, no-fuss layouts that emphasize an elegantly minimalist aesthetic.

In a Scandinavian-designed room, you can also expect bare wood floors and white painted brick walls that add a rough texture while maximizing the light streaming in through large windows.

What Is Scandinavian Design? (1)

What Is Scandinavian Design? (2)

(Video) Scandinavian Design • Decor Ideas | Interior Design

What Is Scandinavian Design? (3)

What Is Scandinavian Design? (4)

Check out These 17 Stunning Swedish-Style Homes We Adore

(Video) 2023’s BIGGEST HOME TREND: WARM SCANDINAVIAN + SHOP WITH ME!

Scandinavian Design in Furniture

In addition to shaping the ways in which we create our rooms, Scandinavian design is also known for its many contributions to furniture design, which may be its most enduring legacy. After all, few American homes are complete without a trip to IKEA. The influence of Finnish designer Alvar Aalto's famous curved wood armchairs and Arne Jacobson's Egg, Drop, and Swan chairs continue to be felt to this day.

FAQs

What is Scandinavian design? ›

What is Scandinavian design? Scandinavian design is characterized by a minimal, clean approach that seeks to combine functionality with beauty. Its focus is on simple lines and light spaces, devoid of clutter.

Why is Scandinavian design so popular? ›

"Scandinavian design is timeless because it is simple, beautiful, finely crafted, and made with natural materials that appeal on a fundamentally human level,” says Aamodt.

What does Scandinavian design look like? ›

Rooms designed in the Scandinavian style tend to boast white walls to emphasize light, a neutral-heavy palette with pops of color, natural textures such as wood and stone, a lack of window treatments and carpets, and simple, no-fuss layouts that emphasize an elegantly minimalist aesthetic.

What defines Scandinavian? ›

Word forms: Scandinavians

Scandinavian means belonging or relating to a group of northern European countries that includes Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, or to the people, languages, or culture of those countries.

What is Scandinavian design called? ›

Minimalist, clean lines, well-considered, and unobtrusive, Scandinavian design has become synonymous with functional design and mass production–or what is known as democratic design.

What is Scandinavian design inspired by? ›

It's Inspired by Nature and Climate

By the 1950s, it grew in international popularity. A design show traveling through the U.S. and Canada in 1954-1957 promoted works by Nordic designers emphasizing simple designs inspired by the nature and climate of the region.

What are the elements of Scandinavian design? ›

What are the elements of Scandinavian design? The main elements of Scandinavian design are functionality, simplicity, and craftsmanship. A majority of Nordic style designs also favor natural materials, especially pale woods like ash and beech, wool and linen textiles, leather, and glass.

What is modern Scandinavian design? ›

Scandinavian design is marked by a focus on clean, simple lines, minimalism, and functionality without sacrificing beauty. It first came to prominence in the 1950s, around the same time as modern style took hold in America and Europe. Part of what makes it so aesthetically pleasing is its lack of clutter.

Who invented Scandinavian design? ›

In the 1930s, artists including Alvar Aalto, Borge Mogensen, Verner Panton and Maija Isola came together in what was then called the “Golden Age of Scandinavian Design.” Inspired by the concepts of Constructivism, Functionalism, and Surrealism, they paved the way to what would be Nordic design's iconic milestones; even ...

What is Scandinavian theme? ›

Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and subsequently flourished in the 1950s throughout the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

What colors are used in Scandinavian design? ›

White, gray, blue, black, and cream color are the mostly using color in Scandinavian furniture. Those color are Scandinavian's natural colors and become a trademark.

What is Scandinavia known for? ›

Famous for having the best beaches of Northern Europe, a unique viking heritage, royal palaces as Scandinavia's capital, Copenhagen. Famous for deep fjords, steep mountains, and wooden churches. Has a rich and interesting culture with deep roots in farming and fishing.

Why is it called Scandinavian? ›

The name Scandinavia comes from that of a region in southern Sweden called Skåne or Scania. The terms Norden and Nordic, both meaning “North,” have also been used to refer collectively to the five Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands).

What is another word for Scandinavian? ›

Scandinavian Add to list Share
  • an inhabitant of Scandinavia. synonyms: Norse, Northman. ...
  • the northern family of Germanic languages that are spoken in Scandinavia and Iceland. synonyms: Nordic, Norse, North Germanic, North Germanic language, Scandinavian language. ...
  • adjective.

What is Scandinavian culture? ›

Cooperative, egalitarian and practical—never showy, acquisitive or excessive—culture in the three Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway and Denmark (as well as in their Nordic cousins Finland and Iceland) does seem to have achieved a perfect balance of personal comfort, economic strength and societal welfare.

What is Scandinavian art? ›

Scandinavian art refers to a subset of Nordic art and is art specific for the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Norse art, the art of the Vikings, is a form of Nordic art from a particular period of time.

What is Scandinavian kitchen design? ›

Now, Scandinavian kitchen design is one of the most popular styles and a favorite of both professional and amateur designers alike. The look is light, bright and airy, and mirrors the Nordic love of the outdoors by incorporating natural textures, plants and rustic elements into the space.

How can I look more Scandinavian? ›

We like to keep a simple style and pay attention to the small details. Monochrome clothes and little accents help you keep close to Scandinavian style. Colors such as black, white, light and dark beige and, of course, pastel colors are the universal ones—fit for any woman.

What makes a house Scandinavian? ›

Inspired by traditional Swedish farmhouses, Scandinavian-style homes are characterized by their two-story wood construction painted in bright colors, lots of windows, and light, raw wood throughout the interior.

What is traditional design style? ›

Traditional style often includes silk, linen and velvet upholstery and window coverings in damask, florals, stripes and plaids with ornately detailed dark wood, inspired by 18th and 19th century designs. Layered in color and texture, traditional style interiors bring a sense of history and glamour to a space.

What are typical Scandinavian features? ›

Stereotypical Scandinavian traits and facial features have since the early 20th century included straight, blonde hair; blue eyes; tall figure; a straight nose; thin lips; and non-prominent cheekbones, according to Werner & Björks 2014 book Blond and blue-eyed.

What is Scandinavian minimalist design? ›

Scandinavian minimalism is a design and lifestyle philosophy that originated in the Nordic countries of Europe. It's characterised by its simple, clean lines and focus on functionality. Unlike American and Japanese minimalism, which tend to be more austere, Scandinavian minimalism emphasises comfort and coziness.

What color wood is Scandinavian? ›

The Scandinavian palette uses light colors, white, light grays, and soft neutrals. Wood tones are also light, traditionally using maple, ash, or white oak for natural hues.

Where did Scandinavian design originate? ›

Scandinavian design originated in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. Though Iceland and Finland aren't part of Scandinavia, these regions have come together to inspire many aspects of Scandinavian design.

What is the difference between Nordic and Scandinavian design? ›

Some designers feel that Scandinavian design is more minimalist with functionality at its core, while Nordic design is more homely and influenced by traditional workmanship and crafts.

Is IKEA a Scandinavian? ›

But underneath the company's public persona is a deeply rooted cultural heritage—one of Scandinavian descent. The company was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, who grew up on a farm in Sweden.

What is Scandinavian print? ›

Wardrobes of the northern European citizens are full of thick, wool sweaters and sweatshirts, that are usually adorned with a Scandinavian print. The print has an easily distinguishable look inspired by snow, mountains, and cold weather.

Where is Scandinavian designs furniture manufactured? ›

Production. Our sofas are produced in our production facility in Vietnam, where more than 600 skilled employees are responsible for all the stages of production – from designing, planning, and production to product labeling and shipping.

What is the best material for Scandinavian flooring? ›

Best Types Of Wood For Scandinavian Flooring

The best types of wood to use to achieve this style would be Oak, Pine or Douglas Fir.

What is Scandinavian theme? ›

Scandinavian design is a design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the early 20th century, and subsequently flourished in the 1950s throughout the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

What is the difference between Scandinavian and Nordic design? ›

In Nordic design, the neutral tones are often contrasted with a splash of colour and comfort, such as a traditional brightly coloured blanket. On the other hand, some designers feel that Scandinavian designs are more tactile and comfortable, while others use the two terms interchangeably!

What is Scandinavia known for? ›

Famous for having the best beaches of Northern Europe, a unique viking heritage, royal palaces as Scandinavia's capital, Copenhagen. Famous for deep fjords, steep mountains, and wooden churches. Has a rich and interesting culture with deep roots in farming and fishing.

What makes a house Scandinavian? ›

Inspired by traditional Swedish farmhouses, Scandinavian-style homes are characterized by their two-story wood construction painted in bright colors, lots of windows, and light, raw wood throughout the interior.

What are Scandinavian colours? ›

The Scandinavian colour code

Forest green, burnt orange, dusty pink and pastel blue are all seen in a lot of Nordic furniture and design. You'll also see a lot of grey and white. These are often used as background or base colours or used for larger pieces of furniture like sofas and chairs.

What is Scandinavian art? ›

Scandinavian art refers to a subset of Nordic art and is art specific for the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Norse art, the art of the Vikings, is a form of Nordic art from a particular period of time.

What is Scandinavian culture? ›

Cooperative, egalitarian and practical—never showy, acquisitive or excessive—culture in the three Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway and Denmark (as well as in their Nordic cousins Finland and Iceland) does seem to have achieved a perfect balance of personal comfort, economic strength and societal welfare.

Why is it called Scandinavia? ›

The name Scandinavia comes from that of a region in southern Sweden called Skåne or Scania. The terms Norden and Nordic, both meaning “North,” have also been used to refer collectively to the five Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands).

What is Scandinavian minimalism? ›

Scandinavian minimalism is an aesthetic inspired by regional trends in Nordic countries; it values simplicity, functionality and calmness. In this region, quality and uncomplicated practicality typify consumer goods and home design.

What are two facts about Scandinavia? ›

12 Scandinavian Fast Facts
  • Scandinavia is made up of the countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden. ...
  • The term Scandinavia has only been around since the 18th century. ...
  • Forget Disneyland, Scandinavia is the happiest place on earth! ...
  • The world's longest road tunnel is in Norway. ...
  • Norway is home to the Midnight Sun phenomenon.
24 Aug 2020

What is Scandinavia now called? ›

In general, Scandinavia denotes Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The term Norden refers to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

What is Scandinavian style architecture? ›

Scandinavian architecture uses Scandinavian design elements such as merging the structure with the surrounding environment, integration of wood and natural materials, natural light, clean lines, neutral colors, and more. The overarching theme of Scandinavian architecture is minimalistic and simplistic design.

What is Scandinavian kitchen design? ›

Now, Scandinavian kitchen design is one of the most popular styles and a favorite of both professional and amateur designers alike. The look is light, bright and airy, and mirrors the Nordic love of the outdoors by incorporating natural textures, plants and rustic elements into the space.

What color wood is Scandinavian? ›

The Scandinavian palette uses light colors, white, light grays, and soft neutrals. Wood tones are also light, traditionally using maple, ash, or white oak for natural hues.

Videos

1. How To Decorate Scandinavian
(Nick Lewis)
2. SMALL SPACE DESIGN TIPS for SCANDI Homes | 12 Insider Tips & Tricks
(Suzie Anderson Home)
3. How To Decorate Scandinavian Style | 10 Essential Interior Styling Tips for 2021
(Suzie Anderson Home)
4. Interior design myths you need to know about!
(Scandinavian Design 101)
5. HOW TO DECORATE SCANDINAVIAN STYLE | Tips and ideas for minimalist scandi lovers
(Posh Pennies)
6. Scandinavian Design | Minimalistic, Simple and Cozy = LAGOM
(DW Euromaxx)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 10/16/2022

Views: 6023

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.