Scandinavian style evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries and is generally subdued in style and muted in colour. To make the most of the long winters, the Scandinavian style involves white wash and limed techniques, to add light to dark rooms. In the 1950s, modern Scandinavian design became popular, with simple mid-century shapes and famous designers exhibiting a new style of Scandinavian design.
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Scandinavian Style Furniture: Traditional
Scandinavian style furniture is heavily influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement. Simple, well-crafted, heavy, wooden pieces in simple shapes, were whitewashed or bleached, and often painted in pale pastel colours. Folk art motifs, such as heart-shaped cut-outs, are a signifier of Scandinavian style. Contemporary furniture is often distressed, or paint techniques are applied, to give the impression of age and rusticity. Track down simple, wooden furniture and paint with whitewash, to recreate this look.
Scandinavian Style Furniture: Modern
In the 1950s, following the modernist trend, a new style of furniture was popularised by Scandinavian designers. Designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Poul Kjaerholm and Vernor Panton created sculptural seating, often using a new technique of bent plywood, they aimed to create simple, functional pieces for the modern home. Search vintage furniture shops for authentic designs, or pick out simple pieces from high street stores.
Traditionally, Scandinavian textiles tend to be simple cottons, often with naive motifs. Choose a gingham design for an authentic look, especially in red and white, or blue and white and use for curtaining, to allow light into a room. In the 50s, designers such as Josef Frank created modern, colourful designs influenced by the Bauhaus. Look out for prints with small, organic designs in bright colours.
Decorate your home with homemade ornaments to add a Scandinavian feel. Red or white felt hearts hung from doorknobs or cupboard handles would create a Nordic decor, as would cross stitch snowflake or reindeer wall-hangings. Wickerwork also is a traditional Scandinavian craft, so track down wicker decorations, coasters and candleholders for a Scandinavian look.
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