This is a tricky, but necessary, one for me. Growing up in Scandinavia (Sweden, Gothenburg - yay!), Nordic style is so much engrained in my being that it just is. It is like breathing. I don't have to think about how to breath, I just do. So how do you go about describing something that comes so natural to you?
Well, it is an excellent opportunity for me to bring it to a conscious level by taking the time to put into words what defines a Nordic style home. To give you a Scandinavians take on how to incorporate a little bit (or go all in if you like!) of this highly praised Nordic-ness into your space.
We love natural light!
Being so far north, our winters are very dark. So we embrace the natural light in everything we do with one goal in mind; to make them less dark. By incorporating lots of windows to really let that light shine into our home and by keeping the walls in lighter colours we feel like we are winning the battle against the darkness. A darkness we simultaneously secretly are a bit fond of as well. As with all, there has to be balance and we need the darker months of the year to balance out our bright and long summer days. The same goes for our home. By adding dark colours as focal points in the space you create a level of depth to the otherwise light colour palette.
Only if it is functional
The complexity and rugged nature of the part of the world we live in has made the Nordic folks an incredibly practical people, so it is only natural that we focus on functionality and durability when we create, build and craft. Simple lines and the beauty in what is not there are signature elements to Scandinavian design. We wouldn't want anything unnecessary to get in the way, would we now?
The resources available to us when designing furniture and decor items have always been the core of Nordic style and has shaped the final design of the product. Although the designs have evolved over the years, the values and appreciation for clean simple lines and quality materials have remained the same. The result is a timeless piece in a long-lasting material that will age beautifully and stay with you for years.
Natural materials are durable and high quality which will stand the test of time and are the resources we have always had at hand. In a Nordic home you will find a variety of natural materials and mostly the type that are available in this part of the world. They make for a warm home with depth, texture and layers as well as a calm and inviting space. Wool and linen textiles, sheep skins, concrete, limestone and glass can often be seen in a Nordic home. Commonly used woods are ash, birch, oak and beech, both for furniture making and decorating objects.
There is no such thing as perfection (luckily!), but I can't help thinking that these words by Antoine de Saint-Exupery are quite to the point when talking about negative space.
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
A Nordic home is often more sparsely decorated, allowing for the carefully chosen objects to really be seen. We try to be selective when decorating our space by only having items that are meaningful to us and that will still look good 10 years from now. A certain feeling of space comes from having fewer things and it makes for a more harmonious and relaxed home.
This is why many homes can be seen mixing minimalistic classics with older heirloom pieces. Either it is a piece that has been handed down through generations, or something picked up at one of the many flea markets available to us. Mixing pieces from different eras adds character to the home and ties nicely into wanting to live a sustainable life, lowering the impact on our planet.
Choose quality, choose wisely and choose less and you are practically Scandinavian!