I hold Sarah Lund accountable for a lot of things.
Take Fairisle jumpers for example. Prior to The Killing landing on our screens, this particular brand of knit had been resigned to the back of the wardrobe, not cool enough to be seen wearing in public. She soon changed that, with knits of this variety sold out for weeks on end.
TV shows aside, it was about that time us Brits became obsessed with everything related to Scandinavia. Morning muffins were replaced with cinnamon buns, we traded cosy for hygge and we started imitating this enviable style in our homes. But what does it mean to have a home that’s Scandi inspired? In my personal opinion, it’s good to start at the source.
Late last year I spent some time in Copenhagen to suss out whether or not this Scandi lifestyle we were all lusting after was real, or something conjured up by clever marketers to make us re-decorate our homes. I can say with resounding honesty that it exists. I wandered the length and breadth of Copenhagen and found both style and hygge in equal measure.
One thing I really love about Scandinavian culture is they make the best of what they’ve got. Stylistically, that means a lot of wood. I stayed in Hotel SP34, and the room was an homage to wood and copper. It was beautiful and worth a peak at their website for inspiration.
Wood is good
Style doesn’t happen by accident. It requires thought, planning and a focus on key pieces rather than impulse purchases. If you’re starting with a blank canvas, paint your walls a neutral colour, which will give you a framework to work with. Two classic shades that I love but scream Scandi style are Cornforth White, a pale grey colour, and Elephant’s Breath, which is a cross between a dark cream and a pale grey. These two shades are timeless and I noticed them in various locations while in Copenhagen.
When it comes to flooring, the Scandinavians tend to opt for wood – it’s a natural resource that’s in abundance. I redid my own floor a couple of years ago and laid a real oak floor which made a huge difference to our home. However, if you have floorboards that are in good condition, don’t be afraid to sand and paint them. It requires a bit of effort, but the end results are well worth it.
Low cost options
In terms of Scandinavian furniture, if you’re on a budget, you can’t beat Ikea. Their online catalogue is endless inspiration and won’t break the bank, either. Ikea is also a great place to stock up on candles. When I visited Copenhagen, I was amazed by how many candles I saw, which all goes back to creating that feeling of hygge. A concept that doesn’t directly translate, in basic terms hygge is all about creating a nice, warm, cosy atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with family and friends. In Denmark, they compare it to the warm glow of candlelight. Now who wouldn’t want that in their life?
So we have wooden floors, pale grey walls, and lots of candles. What else do we need? A liveable home that functions well. Lines should be clear – you shouldn’t have to dodge pieces of furniture on your way past. Plan where different items of furniture are going to function in your home and how it would work to make your lifestyle as easy as possible.
Finally, dial down the clutter. Scandinavian homes aren’t littered with chintzy collectables. They are clean, stylish and well thought out. If you’re in need of inspiration, Pinterest has a wealth of boards dedicated to Scandi style, which will have you well on the way to a home full of hygge.
Chiara is an editor who likes the simple things in life; a cup of tea by the fire, travel, and spending time with friends and family. She also can’t resist the lure of Scandinavian decor and has a penchant for anything warm and cosy. You can find out more about Chiara and follow her adventures on her blog, Wine and Olives.