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3 Interior Design Lessons from Living in Scandinavia

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We have enlisted a special guest writer.. Nicole! Originally from the United States, Nicole moved to Copenhagen after completing her Bachelor in History and fell head over heels in love with the city. Find out why the Scandinavian interior style left such a print on her heart.

Scandinavian design has surrounded me since I was a kid. When my sister (finally) moved out of my room in 2004, I got to take a trip to Ikea and pick out a cool Nordic style desk, bed, nightstand, some new light fixtures, and even a new coat of paint for my walls. Much to my parents’ chagrin, I chose to pair my surprisingly stylish new Scandinavian furniture with a decidedly orange and hot pink colour scheme, but my affinity for sleek, minimalist design was born nonetheless.

Now, after having spent a year in Denmark living, breathing, and soaking up all the Danish culture I possibly could, that fondness for stark simplicity has developed even further (and my colour palate has, thankfully, matured). Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an expert yet, my time spent in Copenhagen - and in other Nordic cities - has taught me a number of simple but important lessons about interior design that I’d like to pass on to the Homewings readers! So, without further ado, here are the 3 interior design lessons I’ve learned during my year living amongst the Scandinavians:

1. Less is More

Never has this expression made more sense than in reference to Scandinavian design. Simplicity and minimalism are absolutely integral components to the style, and the majority of Nordic homes reflect these core values, whether in terms of color scheme, furniture, or just general clutter. The Scandinavians have realized - long before the rest of us ever will - that empty space is not only okay, it can be great! Regardless of the stylistic direction you plan on taking your interior, resisting the urge to fill the space with too much furniture, too many colors, or too much random stuff will undoubtedly serve you well, both in terms of your home’s appearance and, of course, your bank account.

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2. Lighting is Everything

Again, regardless of your style, lighting, both natural and artificial, is one of the most important features of your home. Good lighting can turn even the tiniest, most poorly designed home into something at least moderately charming. The Scandinavians are experts at this; they have had centuries of practice in building South-facing homes with huge windows so as to suck up every possible ray of winter sunlight before it vanishes again. Beyond this need for natural light, I’ve noticed that Nordic homes are also well lit from the inside, with lamps, built in ceiling lights, and even candles set up to make the home feel surprisingly warm and jovial in the seemingly endless darkness. Investing in some strong lamps or well placed ceiling lights will help show off the natural beauty of your house while making it feel cozy, which brings me to my next point...

3 Left image @dustjacketattic Right image @homedesignideas

3. Design for Everyday Life

It is common knowledge that Scandinavians are generally practical people, both in terms of interior design and life itself. What you might not have known is that, though Nordic design can occasionally appear somewhat rigid and stylishly uncomfortable, the Scandinavians put a large emphasis on feeling cozy and at home in any given interior. This idea applies not only to Nordic design, but to all styles: remember that what you are decorating is both an artistic canvas and your home. It is important that you design in a way that is conducive to your everyday needs and comforts as well as your stylistic vision.

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Luckily, my interior decor style has matured vastly since my childhood, thanks in great part to my past year living in and amongst the kings and queens of design in Copenhagen. These three lessons, broad and obvious as they may be, will hopefully help you on your quest for the perfectly designed home! A final note: many of the aesthetic ideals of Scandinavian design are applicable far beyond the reach of interior decorating; don’t forget to declutter your life, highlight the good, and leave room for comfort.

Interested in hearing some more designer tips? Work with one of our Homewings designers to transform your interior, or take our style quiz to start your design project today!

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