Classic Blond Scandinavian, Elegant, functional design, clear colours and light woods make up a look that is both modern and comfortable.
This Scandinavian style fits well into urban environments, despite its emphasis on wood and natural fibres. Clean lines and practical, built in furniture coupled with freshly coloured abstract design fabrics add up to a look that is at once contemporary yet easy.
The finish architect Alvar Aalto provided the inspiration for this look in the 1930s, when he initiated the technique of steaming and shaping layers of wood for his furniture. Using birch, he made the most of the natural spring of the material to produce sweeping curves, supported by bentwood frames. His original styles are still produced today and have a timeless quality well suited to modern interiors.
It is not, however, necessary to have this original furniture to create the look. Light woods on a background of neutral tones, enlivened with bright splashes of colour, and flowing lines rather than sharp edges can achieve the same result.
Plenty of wood is essential, though, for furniture and floors and, if possible, for walls and ceilings too. Crafted items such as nubbly rugs and loose weave fabrics also help to create the look.
IMPORTANCE OF TEXTURE
Textured textiles to contrast with the smooth wood finish is another important feature of this look. And in keeping with the use of natural wood, natural fibres are favoured as much as possible.
Large expanses of wood flooring need something to break them up, so main areas are covered with large tufted or woven wool rugs, often in neutral tones, while brightly coloured cotton rugs are scattered elsewhere.
Living area – classic look. Classic Scandinavian furniture is grouped on a large tufted rug and colour is minimal in this typical living area. Wood is used for both ceiling and floor and the curtains are pulled well back to make the most of available light.
LIGHTING AND COLOUR
Plain, simply decorated rooms lacking any period detail suit this style best, with generous windows that allow plenty of light to enter. Window treatments should be kept simple either roller or romanblinds or floor length curtains with simple pencil pleat headings. They should have enough space at the side so that they can be drawn clear of the frame.
Articular lighting is as streamlined as possible. Recessed light fittings are ideal, but free standing lamps with simply styled lampshades present a practical alternative to lowering a ceiling in order to install concealed lighting.
Colours are clear, and sharply defined against the background of natural wood. Shades of pink and blue complement wood better than hot oranges or yellow.
Accessories should add to the easy living feel of this style. Glassware and ceramics with simple, clean lines are ideal as are small ornaments and functional accessories in plain wood. Plenty of indoor plants also help to take away any clinical air engendered by this practical, easy to clean style.
Sitting room – simple
In this small sitting room the Scandinavian look has been achieved at relatively little cost but to great effect. A simple cane blind echoes the natural look of the wicker chair and wood floor, while gaily checked fabrics and a bright rug liven up the whole room.
Child’s room – bright
Here the style provides inspiration a child’s room. Large built in cupboards and sparse furniture add up to a room which is uncluttered and easy to keep clean and tidy. Brightly coloured fabrics in bold patterns contrast with the simple functional furniture.
Study – softly grren
This study room has an easy, fresh appeal which, combined with the light wood furniture and wal storage units, is very Scandinavian in style. The sheer blinds take away the glare but still allow plenty of soft diffused light to enter. Elegant modern uplighters throw a gentle light on to the ceiling when background lighting is needed.
Work area – stylish
A classic cantilevered chair is teamed up with this sleek wall unit to make an updated version of the original 1930s Scandinavian style. A stylish desk lamp that serves as task lighting and the elegant ornaments in the display cabinet are typically Scandinavian.
Bathroom – clean and practical
Eminently practical, this Scandinavian style is ideally suited to bathrooms. Here the clean lines of the white tiling are saved from being clinical by the splashes of bright red accents and blond wood trimmings and ceiling. As well as visually warming up the room, the wood lends a ‘sauna’ look which is thoroughly in keeping with the style. A lively rag rug would make a perfect bath mat.
ELEMENTS OF STYLE
This bedroom is typical of Scandinavian style. Well made and practical, the furniture is designed to look good in any modern setting. You don’t have to use birchwood used to perfection in the classic Alvar Aalto designs of the 30s; instead look for any light wood furniture that reproduces the style’s clean, simple lines. Inexpensive pieces are often quite easy to find.
The look’s tendency to clinical simplicity can be offset by using natural materials – wood in abundance, cotton, wool or linen in fabrics and rugs. Add splashes of colour at the window or on the floor, or in simple light fittings.
As the style is predominantly functional, accessories are not that relevant, just enough items of everyday use to provide a lived in feeling. Leafy house plants are used throughout the house, perhaps to bring interest to the long and bitter Scandinavian winter.