A modern living room is one of the places we find ourselves in for much of our time at home, whether that be with family or friends, or even just relaxing on our own. A style of home making which has recently started to gain traction across the globe again is Scandinavian styling, which has some very interesting cross over points with modern styles. Clean, clutter free lines, with wooden accents and cool color are all part of this, but to truly grasp the style one has to go into it with a fine tooth comb.
What is this style about?
Scandinavian styled interiors are focussed on minimalism, in a slightly different way to modern designs. Post the last World War, European opinion began a serious shift, from the imperialist ideologies of the 30’s and 40’s to more socialist ideology. Processes which became modernized allowed for more people to have access to better quality items, the middle and lower classes saw a shift in the availability of products that were previously only available to the upper class. However, what stood out on Nordic countries was the shift towards modernism and functionality with overtones of simplicity and minimalism. Meaning that people had access to really good quality, but still wanted what was functional more than anything else.
Minimalism in design means choosing things more selectively because of their use, as opposed to just adding something to a room for the sake of beauty. In Scandinavian design even a simple picture frame is carefully selected because it serves a purpose.
Secondly, Nordic countries are also world leaders in terms of eco-friendliness, and this too, plays a part. Much of what is chosen in terms of the way a room is laid out, is done in a way that maximizes natural light. The less power you have to use the better, meaning that this style can greatly assist in lowering your monthly energy bills!
How to work in Scandinavian style
There are a few things to think about when revamping a room in this style, and while working with minimalistic elements means there won’t be hundreds of things to move around, it also means that aspects of the living room you want need to be very carefully considered. It’s not always an easy task to do this, so we’d recommend you talk to a professional to get some handy tips and advice on what to choose.
Before you go out and buy new couches and tables, think about color. One of the most important parts of the designs you’ll see when researching, is that there is a tendency towards cool blues and greys, with white walls, light wooden floors and very specifically chosen dashes of much warmer tones (Usually in a cushion or a throw on a couch).
You have to consider this before you think about the furniture, because unlike a bedroom where you’ll be putting the linen on afterwards, a couch will usually come in a colour already, which can be expensive to change.
Natural fabrics are the name of the game, and sometimes going against the lighter colour ideology can work, if you for instance choose a set of lovely leather couches. Remember again, these need to be picked out very carefully as not to detract from anything else in the room.
Space is something to consider too, and the Scandinavians love it! Open spaces to move freely in the room make a living area look larger, as well as being easier to move around and clean. Once again, many functions come from one single decision.
Choosing the right furniture for a Scandinavian-themed living room
Wood is a must have for Scandinavian style homes, because it's durable, very eco friendly, and in many cases can be recycled. It also forms the basis of many hanging wall installations and show pieces in Scandinavian homes. Choosing to use recycled wooden coffee tables or side tables is a very common thing in living rooms of this style.
With your chairs,(apart from your color) size is definitely a consideration. Looking for natural fabrics like cotton is best, and try as much as you can to match the base color of the furniture to your color choice for the room. Keep light blues and neutral greys as your first choice, since these 2 match well with light woods and natural tones.
Where size is concerned is in the amount of moving space you have available to you. Don’t go for a 4 seater sofa if your room can only really support a 2 seater. Remember to keep the space open.
Lamps and other items can be used as accent pieces, with slight touches of warm color. Often times a single lamp will be placed on it’s own on a table to provide just enough color as needed, and not to detract from the rest of the room.
Similarly, color can be added with your cushions. Choose a set of large comfortable cushions in a muted or neutral tone which matches your furniture, and accent the couch itself by throwing a few very small extra cushions in a warmer color.
What the dash of warm within the more neutral colors does, is to make the room seem larger and more spacious, while treading the delicate line between too cold or clinical and too out of sync and too unbalanced. This balance can be difficult to achieve, so if you’re thinking about it, then talk to a professional and get the right advice!
For Scandinavian designs, less is more
In America the general consensus for a long time has been that supersized is better, but that idea has begun to change, and with the rising popularity of Scandinavian styled homes it’s easy to see why.
Less power use is great for the environment, and also great for your pocket. Furniture in NOrdic styled rooms is placed close to windows, so as to make the best use of natural lighting. The color choices and minimal furniture mean that that same light is amplified, making our glowing celestial neighbor a really fantastic means of saving power. Many Scandinavian designers choose to heat the home with a fireplace too, putting them in select corners of the house where they can warm more than 1 room at once. Without the need for central heating and lights on later in the evening, both your power bill and your carbon footprint will be lower.
When looking into decoration, think about what the design idea is. If there’s a frame or photo you really love, go ahead and hang it, but remember that the function of that picture is going to be that it’s become a centerpiece. Don’t clutter walls with too many decorations, try to keep the design simple. Simplicity is key to a well rounded and inviting space.
If you’re feeling like redesigning your living room, and getting rid of unwanted clutter in your space, then consider talking to the professionals to get advice, tips and help on making your new living room a modern Scandinavian masterpiece.