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  • Writer's pictureFreestone Design-Build

SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN: Where Warmth and Simplicity Blend

Modern, clean lines, natural light, and simple furnishings are hallmarks of Scandinavian design.

Scandinavian design is currently trending and increasing in popularity, mainly due to its clean lines and modern forms that allow homeowners and designers to add warmth to otherwise cold or overtly contemporary spaces. The Scandinavian design aesthetic is one that spans several other areas of the design world, taking from traditional farmhouse elements through the most modern of dwellings, with accents of personal artifacts and antiques blending to provide character and personality. Typically when we speak of “Scandinavian design,” we are referring to design that stems from the countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, however, other areas such as Iceland certainly have influenced the concepts and décor of this realm.

CLEAN LINES: Edges that are cut square and without trim, hardware that is sleek or even hidden, and doors, drawers, and storage spaces are designed not to stand out, but to blend in with their simplicity. Scandinavian design is all about avoiding anything that looks cluttered or “fussy” and concentrating on function and lifestyle; how will the space be used, who are the people who live or work in it, and what is important in terms of storage, workspaces, and recreation? These are all areas that we think of with all design, but with Scandinavian focus, it’s all about having a space that is precise, clean, and efficient. There is storage built in without taking over a room and often the pieces added to a space are influenced from past art eras.

Large windows in the home allow for less energy usage and a more inviting, warm ambiance in the dining space.

LIGHT: Scandinavian design is very tied to a space having natural light as an accent. Big windows, clean edges, and skylights are elements often seen in homes in Scandinavia and even if a home lacks ample windows, the ones present can be used in ways that allow natural light to come in and blend with lighter color schemes and brighter accents. Lighting is simple and modern, strategically placed to be purposeful and functional, including in work spaces.

A simple desk and chair ensemble are accented by a natural light window and domed lamp and pendant lighting.

COLORS: Color schemes will always map to personal preferences, however, in Scandinavian design, ash, gray, white, ivory, and other neutrals are common. Today, the look of combing more modern and sleek elements such as stainless steel and glossy white tile blended with rustic elements such as repurposed barnwood are on trend and provide the basic foundation of Scandinavian design: beauty and history, blended. Adding punches of color can bring a room together and warm a contemporary space.

Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year, Ultraviolet, adds accent and invitation to an otherwise neutral room.

TRANSITIONAL SPACES: We love to design spaces that blend one room to the next, allowing flow between each area and less of a boxed in feel. Scandinavian design is rooted in this concept of allowing families to live and work with one another openly and freely, without having to be in separate rooms. Creating bright, light great rooms and open kitchen spaces are ways that we can design in this realm, regardless of a home’s construction era.

Overall, the Scandinavian design concepts originated from the harsh elements of nature and the requirement to survive in the north; function became the basis early on and continues to map to today’s more modern lifestyles and needs.

The subtle decorative qualities stemming from the early-20th century art movements and the simple lines deriving from the inter-war art movements gave this style its elegance. The concept of “beautiful things that make your life better” was highly regarded. Today’s Scandinavian design remains solidly grounded in the idea that beauty can be simple yet affordable, functional yet warm and inviting.

High celings and blending form and functino with warm elements like a contemporary fireplace give this living room an open yet cozy feel.


THE STOVER PROJECT: One of our recent projects that reflects Scandinavian design elements is our “Stover Project.” We designed this transitional space to include efficiency, while staying focused on the family’s lifestyle and need for contemporary elements that did not appear bland or cold. By working directly with our clients to understand exactly how the space would be used, we were able to provide them with their vision: modern and exquisite remodeling of their home that was within budget and allowing them to use their home more freely while having ample storage and flexibility.

We paid particular attention to ensuring warm tones blending with the gray/white/black accents and our hexagonal tile backsplash was a fun way to tie in unique, artistic flair.

Some of our favorite inspirations on Scandinavian design are on and online retailer

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