MAKE no mistake, the Scandinavians have designs on us - whether they’re keeping us glued to the TV with dark Danish crime series like The Killing or Steig Larson’s books or winning us over to their stylish home furnishings.
While a select few may wish to emulate the scruffy look of Deputy Superintendent Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol), who wears thick, knitted jumpers from the Faroe Islands, transforming rooms is easier and arguably more visually impressive.
After all, what’s not to like about furniture that has timeless good looks, and colour schemes and settings that seem to make the most of every inch of space and every ray of light? That’s the essence of cool, calm, sleek Scandi-style. Those appealing qualities probably explain why we don’t seem to be able to get enough of it.
“Scandinavians don’t like showing off, so their style is understated and more about relaxing and enjoying your home than making it a showpiece,” says Anne Tiainen-Harris, founder of Cloudberry Living, which specialises in interior pieces and accessories by Scandinavian designers.
“It’s all about simple, pure and calm beauty combined with a high degree of functionality. I think it’s hugely popular in Britain and Ireland because space is very expensive here and Scandi-style helps create the illusion of space and airiness in any interior.”
While connoisseurs may yearn for pieces by iconic designers such as Denmark’s Arne Jacobsen, whose Butterfly chair was famously straddled in the Sixties by a naked Christine Keeler, or fellow countrymen including Henrik Pedersen and Verner Panton, most of us probably get our Scandi-fix at affordable Swedish homestore Ikea. Whether you’re already a Scandi convert, or keen to make the switch, check out this guide to sourcing the style.
n Danish delight
Dark settings add to the atmosphere of the TV series The Killing, but in reality Danish interiors are about uncluttered spaces, white painted walls and richly grained wooden floors. “If white’s too cold and stark for your taste, opt instead for a soft colour palette of pale greys and blues which are on trend this year,” advises Gail Abbott, author of Living With Light, a guide to decorating the Scandinavian way.
“Include an accent colour - blue or red is characteristic of the style - which can instantly give a lift to a white room.”
n Swedish stars
Fans of the brooding TV series Wallander, featuring Swedish detective Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh), have plenty of sources to plunder to replicate his style. Ikea, pivotal in shaping the Irish perception of Swedish design, has won us over to pale, blonde furniture and slim sofas, not to mention helped us cheaply clear up our clutter with its best-selling storage solution, the Billy bookcase. But there are a wealth of other covetable ranges offered by other companies, which don’t require a screwdriver.
“Scandinavian modern design, as a style, first emerged between the first and second world wars and peaked in popularity in the Fifties,” says Rich Harris,