When you open Pinterest or Instagram, it’s almost guaranteed that one of the first images of interiors you’ll come across will feature, in some shape or form, Scandinavian design. Often abbreviated to the shortened phrase ‘scandi’, this style originated in mid-20th Century Nordic countries, and shares many visual elements with the broader term ‘mid-century modern’ – due to their being borne of the same design era.
Below, find a list of among some of the core principles of Scandinavian design:
Large pieces of furniture take centre stage
Because the apex of Scandinavian design is relaxation and sparseness, large pieces of furniture play a huge role in the composition of such spaces. A sofa, bed, or dining set become the anchors of the room, filling space with flat, block tones and removing visual clutter.
Neutral palettes reign
Scandinavian design is often grouped in with minimalism, and while the two styles do share the common linchpin of a neutral palette (think beiges, greys, and whites), the Scandi palette comes from a veneration of nature and pursuit of calmness, rather than a distancing from the vibrant natural world as is often the case with modernist-borne minimalism. Imagine the Nordic countries that bore the Scandi style and their landscapes: white snow in winter, grey stoney beaches, earthy, scrub-covered rock faces – that’s where the palette originates from.
Nature is venerated both in materiality and context
As such, the neutrality of the backdrop created by the Scandi style allows the nature surrounding it to breathe. Oftentimes in Scandi interiors, you can see a rubber plant or palm in a wicker basket poised somewhere, to add a sense of freshness. The use of wood and stone in material makeup of furniture as well as tonal references further promotes the presence of nature, as well as promoting an appreciation for fine artisanal craftsmanship.
The concept of Hygge
Softness in shape, form, and texture – from turned wooden frames and clean rounded compositions, to waffle-knit throws and quintessentially Nordic (faux) furs – all combine under the very cosy umbrella of the idea of Hygge. Hygge is a Danish/Norwegian word denoting a tangible sense of homeliness and cosiness, evoked by both interior elements in their purest form alongside the addition of comforting add-ons like refreshing/warming beverages, and fire in fireplaces and candles, for example.
So how do these principles translate into an outdoor setting, when so often they’re concerned with the warmth and cosiness present in well-sheltered interiors?
Naturally, this style lends itself to a much cooler year-round climate than we enjoy in the UK, so emphasis on indoor settings is inevitable. But, it is possible to translate it into outdoor relaxation.
The idea of neutral palettes is actually ideal for a garden setting, as they allow the foliage and flowers to take centre stage, while providing a subtle sense of structure and poise upon which to take in the view; it goes without saying that the veneration of nature very much applies to this setting, too. Hygge can be easily translated outdoors into a morning coffee on the patio with a scented candle alight, or evening drinks around an outside fire pit. UK summer evenings often get fresher and cooler as the night goes on, so warm blankets can still be applied.
Finally, large, well-made items of furniture are the staple for any outdoor seating situation, which is where Out & Out can help, with our aptly named Copenhagen pieces.
The Copenhagen Rattan Lounge Suite comprises a corner sofa, coffee table, and sun lounger (these can also be sold individually, as part sun lounger and part corner sofa/coffee table). Both seating items in the set feature a mottled grey rattan lower aspect with tapered, hairpin-esq legs, which simultaneously visually ground the pieces while elevating the pieces practically, to allow for cleaning and air flow beneath.
The cushions are upholstered in a lighter dove grey, and are lined along both the seat and the cushions for optimal outdoor comfort, and the corner shape means conversation can flow with ease. The Copenhagen sun lounger has an adjustable back with attached headrest, allowing it to be used to your comfort requirements, from horizontal to 90 degrees upright.
Finally, the coffee table is topped with a granite slab, calling back to the rocky outcropping landscapes of the Scandinavian wilderness from which the items take their style cue.