scandi style

and Why We (still) love it From hygge to lagom and ev­ery­thing in be­tween, it seems we’re still swoon­ing after all things Nordic when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing schemes. Here’s why...

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From hygge to lagom, here’s why we’re (still) lov­ing all things Nordic


been a Scandi style rev­o­lu­tion in re­cent years – and with it has come new vo­cab­u­lary that we’ve ab­sorbed very quickly into ev­ery­day usage. How many of us have said (or heard friends say), ‘Oooh, I’m go­ing to add a touch of “hygge”,’ (loosely trans­lated as adding more tex­ture), or ‘I’m go­ing for a Scandi look in my bed­room’ (more of a sim­ple style, less clut­ter)? How many books and ar­ti­cles have ad­vised us to em­brace the con­cept of ‘lagom’ (some­thing that’s all about bal­ance – not too lit­tle or too much)? But what ef­fect has this had on our dec­o­rat­ing and style choices – and is our cul­tural love af­fair with all things Scandi still rosy?

‘Scan­di­na­vian style is pared-back and fuss free,’ says Niki Brant­mark, orig­i­nally from Lon­don, now liv­ing in Swe­den. Niki is au­thor of Lagom:

The Swedish Art of Liv­ing a Bal­anced, Happy Life (Harper Thor­sons, £9.99), and blogs at myscan­di­na­vian­ ‘There’s noth­ing bold or over-the-top about it, which means it’s in­cred­i­bly ap­peal­ing to a wide au­di­ence. At a time where we feel we are con­nected 24/7 and con­stantly stressed out, the sim­plic­ity of the muted, earthy Scandi look brings an el­e­ment of calm to the home, turn­ing it into an oa­sis.’

‘Scandi in­te­ri­ors are sim­ple, pared-back, el­e­gant and time­less, en­dur­ing be­yond trends and chang­ing fash­ion,’ agrees writer and stylist Cate St Hill (cat­ ‘It’s all about liv­ing with less but liv­ing with bet­ter. It’s about be­ing mind­ful of how fur­ni­ture is placed in a room, of how de­signs re­late to each other, where things come from and how they are made. But Scandi is also more than this. It’s about a feel­ing of home­li­ness and fa­mil­iar­ity; cre­at­ing a space that’s warm, cosy and invit­ing.’

Some­one who knows just how ap­peal­ing cre­at­ing a Scandi-style space can be is blog­ger and in­flu­encer Reena Si­mon, whose In­sta­gram ac­count ded­i­cated to all things ‘hygge’ has over 158,000 fol­low­ers (@hygge_­for_home). ‘I think we are drawn to light and space, yearn­ing for a con­nec­tion to the out­doors, and Scandi style gives us this in an af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble way. It’s open for ev­ery­one to achieve,’ Reena ex­plains. ‘There are also many dif­fer­ent ways of achiev­ing a Scandi dé­cor; if you are more drawn towards vin­tage or like a mod­ern twist, then it still works. I like a rus­tic, in­dus­trial take on it – and it’s this flex­i­bil­ity that makes it ap­peal­ing.’

Back to the Scandi buzz­words. ‘“Hygge,” to me, means tak­ing time to en­joy the lit­tle things, such as mo­ments with the fam­ily,’ says Reena, who’s mum to three girls un­der six. ‘This trans­lates to a home in mak­ing it a warm and invit­ing place.’

‘It’s a cosy, fa­mil­iar set­ting that gives you a warm, fuzzy feel­ing,’ adds

Niki, ‘whereas “lagom” is the Swedish phi­los­o­phy for en­joy­ing bal­ance in ev­ery as­pect of life, from work and leisure to fam­ily and food, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. By seek­ing equi­lib­rium, you can re­lieve stress and make more time for the things that mat­ter most in life.’ Since mov­ing to Swe­den over 15 years ago, Niki’s slowly whit­tled down the items in her home. ‘I’m now at a happy medium,’ she ex­plains, ‘where ev­ery­thing is ei­ther used or loved (or, in an ideal world, both). I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the ben­e­fits of a de­clut­tered home first-hand and I feel or­gan­ised and calm as a re­sult. I might add more colour and pat­tern in 2019 – although I think I said this last year too – but Scan­di­na­vian style will al­ways be at the heart of my in­te­rior de­sign.’

Niki says that Scandi style al­lows us to be in­di­vid­ual – an­other of the rea­sons we’re so ob­sessed. ‘Five years ago, ev­ery­thing was black and white and graph­i­cal; to­day it has a much softer, warmer edge. We’re see­ing white walls be­ing re­placed with warm neu­trals, muted pas­tels and bolder, earthy colours. Pat­terned wall­pa­per is also mak­ing a big come­back. The beauty of Scandi style is that you can keep your home sim­ple and pared back, and yet still adapt it to in­cor­po­rate the lat­est in­flu­ences as they come and go.’

‘I don’t nec­es­sar­ily see Scandi as a trend,’ ex­plains Cate. ‘It’s more a way of life. It’s not just about how a space looks, but how it feels. And I think that’s some­thing that will en­dure. There’s a move towards warm min­i­mal­ism, with deeper hues and rich, neu­tral tones – I’m see­ing lots of beige, honey, ochre, bur­gundy, navy and for­est green used to cre­ate cosy, invit­ing spa­ces that are still el­e­gant and serene in their sim­plic­ity. It’s about build­ing a sense of co­he­sion, so no piece of fur­ni­ture or colour is over-dom­i­nat­ing the space.’

So what about the craze for max­i­mal­ism, where more is more? Should Scandi lovers be wor­ried? ‘It’s not a style that suits ev­ery­one,’ says Cate. ‘I don’t like too much clut­ter and bold, clash­ing colours tend to give me a headache. Brights like red, or­ange and pur­ple would keep me awake and alert. I’m quite a shy, quiet per­son, so I want my in­te­rior to re­flect my per­son­al­ity. Scandi al­lows the home to be­come a neu­tral back­ground for ev­ery­day life; a space that can evolve with you as you gather the things that make a home.’

‘I do like hav­ing things on show,’ says Reena, ‘whether that’s lots of books or open shelv­ing in my kitchen, but I’m not a max­i­mal­ist or a min­i­mal­ist – rather some­where in be­tween. I don’t think I’ve nailed “lagom” quite yet when it comes to work and fam­ily life, though,’ she laughs.

Of course, there are cer­tain brands that we Scandi-style seek­ers as­pire to. ‘Mu­uto, Hay, &tra­di­tion and Menu – you could call them the “New Nordics”,’

Cate en­thuses. ‘They cre­ate min­i­mal fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories with roots in Scan­di­na­vian de­sign tra­di­tion, but with an eye to the fu­ture – whether that’s work­ing with up-and-com­ing de­sign­ers or us­ing new ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques.’

‘I love House Doc­tor and Broste Copen­hagen,’ says Reena. ‘I love the earthy tones and the tex­tures of their home ac­ces­sories. My wishlist for both of them is end­less!’

‘I’m a big fan of mid-cen­tury clas­sics and ad­mire Hans J Weg­ner, but Scan­di­na­vians are known for pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful hand-crafted items too,’ Niki says. ‘I try to sup­port lo­cal ate­liers in my home­town of Malmö, such as ce­ram­i­cist Siv An­dreas­son (an­drea­son­de­ When we talk about Scan­di­na­vian de­sign, Fin­land is thrown into the mix with Swe­den, Den­mark and Nor­way. These four coun­tries share a com­mon de­sign lan­guage that’s char­ac­terised by sim­plic­ity, min­i­mal­ism and func­tion­al­ity. Pieces are de­signed for the many and built to stand the test of time.’

As we start to see what’s trend­ing for spring/sum­mer 2019 when it comes to our homes, we shouldn’t be sur­prised that Scandi will be there in some guise or other. ‘One of the things I ad­mire most about Scan­di­na­vian homes is the way they adapt to the sea­son,’ says Niki. ‘Sim­ple changes can make the world of dif­fer­ence. In the sum­mer, light linen cush­ions and ar­range­ments of hand­picked flow­ers bring in a light, whim­si­cal touch. Out­side, you’ll find rat­tan and wooden fur­ni­ture dressed with cush­ions and blan­kets, a string of lights and can­dles. In the au­tumn, sheep­skins, woollen blan­kets and in­sea­son vi­gnettes like acorns and pine cones ap­pear – with yet more can­dles.’

‘You can eas­ily sea­son-proof Scandi be­cause it’s all about tex­ture,’ Reena says. ‘It lends it­self very well to sum­mer evenings out­doors – think log stacks, an out­door fire pit, a seat­ing area with lots of cush­ions, throws and green­ery, and you’ve got it just right.’

Above left Er­col Orig­i­nals loveseat, £679, Fur­ni­ture Vil­lage. For a sim­i­lar rug, try the Tek­ouma Ber­ber-style hand-wo­ven rug, £285, La Red­oute

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