There is a reason we love IKEA so much. It's that happy combination of functionality and affordability, without sacrificing style, which doesn't come along too often.
It is also a DIYer's delight. But while we have accepted a Swedish concept whole-heartedly, perhaps it's time to go beyond just the furniture and also embrace the aesthetics behind it -- 'beautiful things that make your life better'. This post looks at how you can embrace the spirit of Scandinavian design, without getting too austere, and implement it across your house.
Here are a few ways how:
Use A Lot Of White In Your Kitchen
The Swedes seem to have a thing for white. Perhaps it's due to the snow that glows in pristine sunlight in the Swedish north, which inspires them to recapture the effect in their homes. Or perhaps it's because of the long and gloomy winters during which light is sought indoors. And what better than the color white to illuminate a dark landscape?
Beautiful and highly functional though it is, white can look sterile and clinical if overdone or not used smartly. For best results combine it with a color that contrasts with it but does not make your decor look too colorful, like something out of a boho chic catalog.
White and black or white and dark brown kitchens ooze style and look ultra sleek. The lines are sharp and the effect very modern. White marble or black quartz countertops make for a delightful contrast with a sparkling stainless steel sink.
For a further softening of the ambience introduce pops of color here and there. For example, place on the dining table colorful (faux) flowers or fruits that never lose their shine and can stay in place without losing their texture forever.
Alternatively, introduce cherry red chairs in a black and white kitchen for a delightful effect.
Be Liberal With Use Of Pastel And Light Colors
There was a time when bold colors and designs were a rage in Sweden. But that was a long time ago, around the early part of the last century. For more than 100 years now the focus has been on subtlety and understatement, which, ironically, also has ended up being quite a statement, though it was not intended to.
Swedes despise pretense and ostentatiousness. Low-key and lagomhet are more their thing. And nothing is more low-key than light colors. Choose light colors for your walls and your furniture. Creams and beiges, as well as the entire spectrum of the pastel colors are a great option for this.
Again, as mentioned previously, balance the lightness with splashes of color in strategically correct locations.
The overall effect we want to create here is that of subtle warmth, with just the right amount of cheerfulness.
Spacious, Spacious, Spacious
Bulky is not cool. Neither is coziness, as we know it. Space is seductive, it is awesome, and one cannot have enough of it. It also fits right in with the modern Swedish outlook of only using that which is needed, and stripping away the redundant.
Discard or donate anything that is of no use to you. Even better, reuse your old IKEA cabinets or furniture and make dressers, drawers, headboards, spice racks, etc. out of it. Convert old tables into tufted ottomans, and decorate an old chest of IKEA drawers with the French art of decoupage and see it turn into something new entirely.
Whatever you do, stay minimal, and stay functional.
Be Inspired by Nature
Swedish design is big on nature-inspired shapes, forms, and a heavy use of natural materials. In our ecologically responsible times this is a highly desirable trait. Incorporate more natural wood furniture and other eco-friendly materials into your home dcor. Also seek inspiration from your local handicraft tradition and inculcate their designs into your dcor, just as the Swedes look up to the crafts in their country.
A Stamp of Individuality
Now this is not something that typical Swedish homes are known for. Democratic and egalitarian ethos has inspired Swedish design, and they sometimes tend to confuse individuality with pretense (sad but true).
For individuality, the best place to look at is your own self. Keep the larger aesthetics of Scandinavia, or any other geographic location that may inspire you, in mind but execute them your way. Your home should be about your personality. Don't ever lose sight of that.