The Scandinavian style is one that has endured with steady popularity because of a timeless quality and simple aesthetic appeal. However, this natural, minimalist approach is more appealing than ever these days.
There are many young professionals and couples out to declutter their homes. Some want to turn away from modern materialist approaches to something more simplistic. It is all about finding the perfect balance. No one wants to get rid of everything and start over, but a minimalist approach does offer some clarity and peace of mind.
Less is more with a Swedish design or most Scandinavian options for that matter. There is a minimalist feel to the use of furniture, furnishings, personal effects, and color. Everything within the room has a purpose, and each element is carefully considered to suit the space.
Minimalism comes with the risk of becoming stark, cold and uninviting. It is a tricky choice for a family home, and often better suited to young couples. Still, the best Swedish room designers find the balance with the right tones, materials, and use of light and space.
This minimalist feel has a lot to do with the use of furniture and storage space.
The Swedish don’t need rows of cabinets and cases taking up floor space. Instead, most of the storage solutions on offer are inbuilt options. They simply can’t understand why we would do things any other way.
Smart storage immediately declutters a room with a home for everything and everything in its right place. A large back-wall floor-to-ceiling shelving unit provides ample space for books, DVDs, trinkets and photos without taking up floor space.
(Source: Adrianne Arnette)
Built-in closets contain clothes, shoes and more in a cleverly-designed space to create a more open space in the bedroom.
Storage options are an important part of the furniture in Swedish room designs.
This approach of the inbuilt, pre-made storage solution seems ironic to all those abroad that buy flat-pack storage from a well-known Swedish name. The “Billy Bookcase” is infamous, simplistic and affordable. Still, it doesn’t quite capture the true essence of Swedish furniture. It is a watered down version suitable for the average home, but not a well-crafted Swedish-inspired one.
Other furniture options from these global brands create a similar issue. There are a look and shape to some items, like the simplistic chairs, which holds onto the basic Swedish ideas. But, those with a budget and grand home to redesign need something more.
There are three approaches here that help homeowners find a more appropriate item of furniture for their home. First, there are the authentic Swedish stores that may ship items out. This is much more expensive than an Ikea dining room set. These stores are more fashionable, with better quality items.
Designers can stay ahead of trends with a more desirable piece. Second, homeowners with money to burn can commission a bespoke piece from top Scandinavian designers. This offers the opportunity for a real conversation piece in the room.
Finally, those with a lower budget and carpentry skills can design and make their piece. This is a common approach to modern Swedish room designs as it adds creativity and personality in a new way.
Swedish room designs often contain the same types of natural materials for a comforting, timeless approach.
The materials within the room play a major role in the overall look and the feel of the finished room. A poorly designed Swedish-inspired room feels sterile and cold without the right materials and furnishings in place. Designers do have many options available to them. Still, these classic materials and design ideas always work well.
Wood is the most common material that designers will use in a modern Scandi home. Wood is a treasured natural resource of the native land in use to full effect in flooring, furniture and more. It has a tactile feel that is warm and inviting. This is important when creating these minimalist designs as metalwork can be too cold.
Rich, warm pine lifts a room with the furniture and shelving, and perhaps also in modern art. Sculpture, picture frames, fruit bowls all add to the room with the right look.
Handmade textiles and material elements add a more rustic, homely approach where needed. This balances out what could be a stark room with that minimalism and the use of color. Knitted throws, handcrafted blinds, and corded light pulls rather than switches all work. This is where designers and homeowner inject personal style and ideas and twist the theme.
Textiles provide texture, but they are not the only option here for texture in a Scandi home. The love of all things natural allows for bone, antler, and fur – faux fur preferably. Fake fur throws soften the room and provide a sense of warmth in a white environment. Bones and antlers are not to everyone’s taste. Still, they can provide a feel of the rustic Scandi lodge, rather than the typical modern Scandi townhouse.
Designers then need to consider the patterns and colors within these materials.
The patterns and shapes of these textiles are also important. A natural tone and fur effect, like a fake deer skin, gives an authentic look, but this is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Alternatively, Swedish designers also like simple blocks of color and geometric shapes to work with the low-key approach. Every furnishing and piece of art have its beauty, but it all works together, and no single piece jumps out too loud.
Color plays a major role in these room designs. It let us explore our personalities within the design of a room and adds a fun element to a family home. However, designers must take care when adding color to a Scandinavian design like this.
The right tone can elevate a room and add warmth where needed. The wrong tone can divert a room to the wrong end of the spectrum. A misjudged bold color can detract from softer, natural elements. It is, therefore, no surprise that some designers spend a long time agonizing over the right choice.
The natural elements and natural materials above, such as the warm wood, are often enough for the right color and tone. Wooden furniture takes up a large area of the room and the visual perception of the design.
Additional colors from the faux fur, antlers, linens, rope and any other effect diversify the palette, without sending it in too many directions. Some designers choose to take one of these tones and use it to create an accent wall of sorts. However, this can be risky in a clean, minimalist room.
Some designers like to play with monochromatic schemes to emphasize this strict minimalism. Sometimes this can detract from the cozy feel and that sense of balance. Stick with natural tones and careful accents in these room designs, especially in a family home.
Blues And Other Strong Colors:
The throws and soft furnishings offer the best canvas for a little creative expression. Blue tones are a common choice for color accents when used sparingly. This is because they compliment the warm wood. Those that find blue too strong can opt for grays on the colder end of the scale. Swedish home designs are not limited to blues.
Designers can choose any bold color they want for their plan. They just need to do so with the right balance of confidence and restraint. There are many modern furniture designers and interior designers blending traditional Swedish room designs with reds and greens, just not vibrant ones.
Otherwise, it is all about white. White is the key ‘color’ here, not that it is a color at all. This white scheme runs the risk of going overboard. The abundance of white on the walls, ceilings, cabinets and sometimes even floors is often too much. This is why that use of textiles and natural colors is so important. Still, white walls are an essential part of traditional and modern Swedish room designs. New designs in other countries show that modern designers aren’t willing to break away from this approach.
Designers cannot overlook the importance of the light source in their design.
A large part of this bright, clean approach in modern Swedish room designs is the use of light. White walls reflect the light with minimal need for artificial lighting. The lack of light in the winter means this is essential for Scandinavian design. However, there are also environmental benefits to homeowners across the world if there is the potential to save energy.
Artificial lights and fixture don’t play that big a part in the design ideas for these rooms. There are mood lighting and adequate illumination for the night, but it is usually understated.
Some Swedish room designers work room by room, while others branch out with an open plan living space.
Some designers choose to use the same color palette and themes across the lower floor of a home. This works well in open plan homes of minimal space, where the kitchen and living room interconnect. This broader plan creates an illusion of space, a better flow to the living area and a better sense of the light.
Naturally, this approach is easier for new builds than existing properties. That is unless homeowners are willing to make some major renovations and structural changes. Those with old-fashioned properties can still tie the rooms together with shared elements and colors. The modern Scandinavian design isn’t limited to a modern home.
A change in flooring can help here. Some like to keep the true wood and grain of the floor, The style of the home and the current floor play have a big influence here. Those with shabby flooring in need of a freshen-up may paint the floor white. Others go for white carpeting. This is bold in a family home, but it does offer enough surface to reflect the light.
The potential addition of a sauna in a Swedish home design
A guide on Swedish home designs would not be complete without a look at some of the saunas that we can add to a home. The popularity of the sauna has grown in recent years.
Many US homes now include them in a spare room or basement for relaxation and detoxification. However, the true Scandinavian experience is not reflected in many of the common, popular models.
Canadian hemlock wooden and infrared carbon panels help to generate plenty of heat. This is a simple, easy to build and it works. There are those that understandably want the more authentic version.
That is where the Scandinavian style units come in. These options use authentic wood and steam, often with a tray of stones, a bucket of water and a ladle, for the best experience. This is an extreme addition to a Scandinavian room, but one for homeowners to consider if there are the space and budget.
Alternatively, there are also models designed to go outdoors. Some offer a porch and a curved roof for a sweat lodge experience in the great outdoors. This is ideal for those in colder regions.
These Swedish room designs offer an interesting balance of styles.
Designers can see that there is something of a blueprint with these Swedish themes. The same elements appear again and again. This is true of both rustic and modern Scandi home, as well as major buildings.
Stockholm City Library even follows these trends. It shows a focus on white walls, lots of natural light from the windows above, wooden floors and shelves and geometric shapes on the floor. It is both classic and modern and puts other libraries to shame.
The timeless look is the result of those natural elements, simple color schemes, and basic principles. Designers that work with the natural light, and textures, embrace the right colors in the right places and maintain a clean, minimalist approach will succeed.
Swedish room designs are not hard to put together, but one misstep will scream out. Consider the limitations as well as the potential and find that balance of homeliness and modernism.