Northern Europe has for centuries been a cornerstone producer of some of the world's most interesting and intricate architecture. From ancient Rome and Greece, to Baroque and Gothic architecture as well as the intricate renaissance designs, there are styles which are as diverse as the continent itself. One set of countries saw it’s stylistic peak during the 1950’s, the Scandinavian heartland. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland make up these countries, which we commonly think of when thinking of great log churches and viking longhouses. It’s modern history, and Scandinavian design is actually much more interesting than this though (even if the history is rich and colourful).
During the early part of the 1950’s all the way to 1970, these countries were at the forefront of design, not specifically on architecture, but with interior decoration. Since 2006 there has been a rebirth of much of this style in the Pan-Nordic AID design award. Many elements in these designs share very similar elements coming with modern design aesthetics. Following the end of the Second World War, Norway lead the ideological thought processes in Scandinavian countries with the popular opinion being one of cutting away excess. During this time it became a realisation that people from all walk of life should have access to goods which are of high quality, not simply those who could afford to own “nice things”. Helped along in part by new improved production methods, as well as cheaper and better modern materials, quality and easily available goods became affordable, and allowed many to be afforded more comfortable living. This produced one of arguably the most interesting minimalist design movements in recent history.
One thing that stands out is a use of natural materials, with wood being a prime base for many bedroom items. This is because it is easy to shape, cut and use, as well as relatively durable when well looked after.
Due to the current ideology in modern bedroom design in Scandinavian countries, many objects in the home are made from cleaned up, recycled wood. This includes items such as small chairs and bedroom tables. What this in effect does, is create a semi-rustic feel to items in the home, which while not strictly a tenant of the design philosophy, is still quite common.
Design coming out of Nordic countries is centered around 3 main aspects. Lighting being probably the most important, with surfaces such as wooden floors made from light colored woods as opposed to darker. The next aspect is the color itself. Generally neutral and muted tones characterize the design choices of many professional and award winning Scandinavian designers. Lastly, ornamentation. If you are looking into this design choice, stay away from the classic American way of having ornamentation for the sake of it. While it’s true that some styles do work with this, Scandinavian design choices are more about form and functionality, so if you really do want to put that art piece above the headrest of your bed, make it a centerpiece and let it stand out rather than detract from it by adding more around it.
Now that you know what the basics of the design are, you can start to get an idea of what to look into when choosing what a bedroom should look like. Eco friendliness, livability, form, and function with minimal frills is the name of the game, so start there. If you’re unsure about anything, contact someone in the know, and get some advice to go on!
Firstly, find a bed which suits your needs and doesn’t go too far beyond that. If you want to add a headboard and foot board, then do so, ideally of wood.
Choose your bedside tables to be as functional as possible, and make sure these are not too chunky, rather go for elegance.
Don’t put in carpeting, as this never had a true place in the style, rather opt for a small fireplace (you can use gas if you choose to) in order to warm a room and keep energy bills down.
Stay away from clutter as far as possible. The whole idea behind the design philosophy is simplicity with lack of the overly ornate or overly busy.
Windows are important part of the lighting aesthetic, with larger windows being the preferred type. This is so natural light can flow into the room and allow for less electrical lighting. This again fall under the idea of eco friendliness, as it keeps the need for lights low, meaning less energy is consumed in your home.
Lastly, cupboard space is usually wood, and tends to share matching coloration with the other items in a room, so try to get a set of things from the same store if you can, or at very least get the same wood.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time actually set it all up. This sounds simple, and it actually is, because with Scandinavian design, there isn’t actually too much to think about. Make sure there is space enough to move freely. An open, simple design is best. Steer away from putting things too close together (not counting the bed and bedside tables of course!), and try as much as you can to keep the space free and light.
Most designs tend to have the bed facing a window or with the window to one side instead of room centre, however those with the bed dead centre often have a window such as a skylight above it to let the light act as a natural alarm.
If there are picture frames and extra ornaments you have considered, then choose a select few to place in areas that have no other real interest to them, such as a bare wall. This allows the frames to serve as something more than just an interesting picture, but also to liven up the space, making it functional.
If you have chosen to paint walls, then go for neutral and muted tones. Allow any extra color you add to your space to come from your bedding, a selectively chosen throw or perhaps something minor like your pillow cases. Even here, try to keep these to grey, lighter natural greens or blues, as these will not stand out as stark as a flamboyant orange or red.
If you’re thinking of a style and Scandinavian sounds like it’s up your alley, or perhaps you feel like it’s time to declutter your home space, why not talk to a professional and get some good advice on the items you may need as well as the right design choices for your bedroom? We guarantee it will be worth your time!