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10 Tips for Designing a Scandinavian-Style Interior

By - Interior Design & Architecture Magazine on Dec 03, 2012

Scandinavian Interior Design  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

Here at Freshome we know that our readers love Scandinavian design. Renowned for their simplicity, utility, and beauty, Scandinavian homes have a pure, pared backed style that is centered around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance.

The use of light is considered to be extremely important, and many Scandinavian homes  are characterized by muted earth tones, honest materials, and minimal ornamentation.

Staffan Tollgard Architectural Interior Designer  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

Whilst we have featured countless Scandinavian interiors, we wanted to put together a guide to help you recreate the Scandi style in your own home.

To do this, we consulted the award-winning architectural interior designer Staffan Tollgard of Staffan Tollgard Design Group, which has bases in both London, UK and in the Algarve in Portugal.

The group has won a number of prestigious design awards and Staffan has been selected by Conde Nast’s House & Garden  magazine as one of the top 100 leading interior designers.

In addition, Staffan was recently commissioned to create the main installation at the Scandinavia Show in London, where he created three Scandinavian rooms that encapsulated the best of Scandinavian design. Staffan created one room from the Gustavian period, one capturing the retro feel of the 50s and 60s, and one showing design from the last 10 to 15 years.

Staffan kindly agreed to share his expert insights with us and has put together his top 10 tips for creating a Scandinavian interior.

He stressed that there isn’t ONE Scandinavian style but several. “The more decorative and traditional Gustavian design is just as much Swedish as the scaled back mid-century design. My list of tips incorporates items from several different Scandinavian styles,” says Staffan.

Scandinavian Design Light flooring and Ekornes Stressless chair  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

1. Floors

Wall-to-wall carpets never took off in Sweden, and all truly Scandinavian interiors will have a wooden, preferably light, floor in all rooms apart from the bathrooms.

Scandinavian Interiors Grey Blue Textiles  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

2. Color

White walls and cool grey-and-blue textiles definitely give off the right ambience of a Scandinavian interior, however there are more colorful textiles from the likes of Marimekko in the 60s pop vein and the much more decorative Josef Frank from the 40s. Both very different, both very Scandinavian.

Scandinavian Interior Wood Cladding  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

3. Materials

Wood, and don’t be afraid to show it. Incorporate cladding on walls and even ceilings to add texture and warmth. Use a grey oil to take the yellow away from woods like pine or oak.

Scandinavian Interior Palace Gate by Staffan Tollgard Clean lines  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

4. Form

Clean lines from architecture to furniture.

5. Function

A truly Scandinavian interior is very liveable.

Scandinavian Interior Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

6. Furniture

There are such incredible pieces from several manufacturers. From the mid-century period designers like Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto, and Arne Jacobsen stand out, and their pieces are just as beautiful today as they were when they were conceived.

Scandinavian Interior Blue Grey textiles  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

7. Put a fireplace in the corner

Scandinavian winters are much harsher than those in the UK, and most apartments and houses have an original fire in the living room. Unlike British fireplaces that are usually the focal point of a grand room, these are often very simple columns (many originals from the 19th century are beautifully tiled) and are located in the corner of the room.

8. Be eco-friendly

Swedes have been very quick to add eco-friendly aspects to their houses. Triple-glazing, proper insulation for walls and roofs, ground source heat pumps… all these are fairly standard in Swedish new builds.

Scandinavian Interior Quinta Villa by Staffan Tollgard Inside Outside room  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

9. Add an outside/ inside room

Swedes generally love a connection with the outdoors, so you’ll find a balcony or terrace in even the smallest apartments. These are usually decked and used for grilling (Swedes rival Australia and South Africa in the BBQ stakes) and entertaining outdoors during the late light nights of the summer.

Scandinavian Interior scaled back accessories  Top 10 Tips for Creating a Scandinavian Interior

10. Scale back on accessories

Any Scandinavian would shudder at the sight of an English Victorian interior with little boxes housing the collection of little boxes. Declutter!

Freshome would like to thanks Staffan Tollgard for sharing his design insights with us. We’d love to know what you guys think about these tips and also if you have any tips of your own, so do leave us a comment below!

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