Scandinavian style – Sweden inspires our interiors editor
Inspired by her recent trip to the beautiful nation of Sweden, our interiors wiz Kike Pawlik details the finer points of Scandinavian style.
Before I visited this summer, my interpretation of Scandinavian interior design was very much associated with the ubiquitousness of Ikea and their do-it-yourself endeavours that seemed affordable for everyone. While Ikea remains popular amongst locals in Sweden, true Swedish décor, though effortless and minimalist, is quite sturdy and not necessarily cheap.
Scandinavian design is defined by a simple and clean approach that combines functionality with beauty. Its focus is on simple lines and seeks to evade clutter. The Scandinavian style and philosophy centres on establishing harmony and balance around your home while favouring things which are made to last. It seeks to complement the art of living well by promoting a simple home environment that is filled with quality not quantity.
Scandinavian design is modest, so the few pieces in the room have got to count and this is why an emphasis is put on items like that eye-catching chair, vintage wardrobe or leather sofa. Scandinavian design is followed by craftsmanship and timeless, unpretentious style that is put into every item. This clean but warm theme understands its connection to nature.
So, after walking through Swedish forest you will step into a calming interior where you will be welcomed by natural and unpolished timber floors and a big wooden dining table. Warm wood tones and sepia hues make a room feel sunny and bright without resorting to overwhelmingly bright colours.
Although Swedish interior style is characterised by minimalism and monochromatic palettes, this is an area that also has space for a more playful approach that is encouraged by colourful and traditional patterns that you can find on cushion covers, table cloths, lampshades or tapestry. There are three visible types of patterned fabrics, the first two of which are navy blue and white vertical stripes and bright fabrics with neutral or pastel coloured leaves and twigs.
Meanwhile, the last traditional style is known as ‘Kurbits’ which are multi-coloured bulbous floral folk patterns. Scandinavian design is full of vitality without being chaotic. It is so popular because it speaks to both our tidy tendencies and our desire to live in inviting and comfortable settings.
Lighting is a huge part of Scandinavian design. Standing lamps, table lamps, hanging lamps, spotlights — Swedes take their light sources seriously. In every room there should be multiple lights, ranging from the warm, low light of a candle to the bright oversized glow of a ceiling light.
Scandinavian design seeks to spread light as effectively and naturally as possible. Closer to winter, it’s a symbolic tradition to decorate windows with large illuminated paper star lanterns which evoke a sense of warmth and cosiness once nights get longer and darker during winter.
Coffee is so essential in Sweden that Swedes celebrate a daily social activity called ‘Fika.’ Though the word translates “to drink coffee”, it actually means taking a break from work to socialise over cups of coffee and sweet pastries such as my favourite cinnamon rolls.
In traditional Swedish homes, it’s customary to find a bunch of cool-looking mugs and cups which are beautifully decorated with folk patterns. So, let’s drink that coffee and enjoy Fika surrounded by candlelight as Autumn descends upon us.
For more from Kike Pawlik, follow her on Instagram. All prices correct at time of publishing.