Scandinavia, land of vikings, fjords, and the Skarsgard family. This little 5 country part of Northern Europe has been at the forefront of quite a number of modern innovations. From 1950 to 1970 an interesting style started coming out of these European idea centers, which while slightly different from place to place, have retained a similar feel throughout and have added some interesting elements to modern design which can be seen when you go deeper into it.
What is Scandinavian design?
The 5 countries where this came from are Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. Post World War 2, Norway’s ideological lead the movement in these 5 towards a certain type of living, looking towards lack of clutter, minimalist and clean design and with the practical use of any item in the home being at the fore.
This was coupled with new, cheaper materials becoming available to make quality goods, as well as better manufacturing processes. What happened was a surge of high quality items which could be made available for the general public, instead of only the upper class.
Bring it up to today, and the world is once again beginning to look towards these countries for modern designs, now because of the fact that they are some of the world leaders in eco-friendly living. Scandinavian people are remarkably in touch with nature, and are in some places rewarded for recycling and reusing of items which in many other places would simply be thrown away.
Scandinavian design is at it’s heart, a modern minimalist design movement. The factors to consider are these. Use wood, and lots of it. It’s the most eco friendly material used in interior designs, and is lauded for it’s durability and beauty. Make sure whatever you choose has a purpose. There is little space in Scandinavian design to choose accent pieces or furniture which does nothing more than look good. It has to be there for a reason.
Natural light and color are the forefront of lighting a room. Painting the rooms lighter colors and using neutral light blues and greys is key, with small splashes of color added by the use of specifically chosen items.
A Scandinavian-style bathroom
If you know anything about Scandinavian style, you know that the norm is to go for a lightly colored wooden floor. This fits in with the design aesthetic, but it doesn’t really work in a bathroom because there is going to be water around, and wood and water don’t mix well. Flooring is kept to one of 2 elements for the most part, these are tiling, (in either tile or stone such as marble) or concrete. Tiling is kept to a light white color, while concrete will often simply be shaped, smoothed and then covered with a non-slip, waterproof finish. As you’ll note, both of these colors are neutral, and stay within the confines of the design ideology.
Next up is the fittings. Most all of the taps and piping in a home will be stainless steel. Whilst copper pipes can also look good due to their natural color, they will be offset with wood as not to create too much noise in the chosen palette. Steels and light silver colors are the most common, often with more modern types of taps being used, like the long handle taps or flat topped basin mixer taps. Basins will be a cool white color, usually made from vitreous china.
Bath, showers, wash basins and toilets are almost always white china or ceramic. Your bathing area is usually divided from the rest of the rooms by a clear glass pane and door. Shrouded or misted glass is not preferred because it stunts the amount of light coming into the room. Baths are often quite large, with space for 2 if you really want to save water, after all it is eco-friendly! Showers are often ultra modern looking, without being on a raised area as in other contemporary designs. They are often right on the ground level, with a very slight slope on the floor to guide water where it need to go.
Toilet seats are the only real thing which may change, and they can be made of wood or light white plastic.
Lastly, the cupboards in the bathroom are usually made from a light wood or white painted wood. You will find most cupboards in Scandinavian bathrooms to be set horizontally, with minimal amounts of stacking. This is due to 2 factors, it keeps the wooden surfaces away from any water near the ground, and it also means that the cupboards you’re trying to reach are closer to you. This is one of the shared factors between modern design and Scandinavian design. Clean, straight lines are the name of the game. You can choose to top your counters with a stone or marble, with lighter colors obviously being preferred.
If you do choose to put a pot plant into the bathroom, choose one which flowers as your accent piece. This will add the dash of color you need to stop the room from looking too clinical.
How to keep the bathroom design interesting
Keeping designs looking interesting is part and parcel of what a good interior designer or decorator does, so think about contacting one to get the right advice.
There are a few ways in which you can make your bathroom design look a little different. Let’s start with the flooring again.
Due to the fact that the bathroom is one of the only areas in the Scandinavian home which doesn’t have a wooden floor, they tend to have some fun with them. Often you will see a wall which has been tiled in a beautiful bright white or very light blue, with straight lines creating the symmetry. To offset this, you can place the floor tiling in a diagonal, making the room look a little more interesting. You can also afford yourself some space to play with concrete flooring too. There are many concrete styles which incorporate stone into the mix, and choosing a light stone will give you a beautiful array of natural stone color on your floor.
Next up is your windows and window decoration. Windows are usually quite large in Scandinavian style homes because of the constant use of natural light. While this may be great in other rooms, you may not want this due to the slightly less private nature of larger windows, this is after all, a bathroom. You can however, opt for one of 3 options.
A skylight can serve to light the room well without losing privacy, and in some cases is preferred because of it. If you really want to keep your window in place, simply add the skylight and use misted glass on the windows. This means you still have privacy and natural light at the same time. Second is adding wooden blinds or neutral colored curtains to the bathroom. These can be used to filter the light without losing it. Lastly, you can opt for a horizontal hopper window which sits above all of the goings on, to keep the light and airflow without losing the privacy in the room.
The final word
There are many facets (and faucets) to a Scandinavian style bathroom which you should consider, and doing this isn’t always easy. If you find yourself thinking that a simple and user-friendly design is what you’d like, then consider contacting a local designer or decorator to get the right advice and helpful tips on what you can do to create a beautiful space.