Perhaps to alleviate the dreariness of long Northern winters, Scandinavian style tends toward folk-art florals, crisp checks, plaids and stripes, and wood furniture left natural or painted in colors that evoke the region’s natural beauty.
The look is casual and easy with playful touches and a simple yet refined vibe.
If all that sounds appealing, you’ll find many pretty, Scandinavian-inspired decor options for spring.
Scandinavian style typically is anchored by whites and creams, which provide a light-filled canvas on which berry red, sky blue, forest green and ochre offer pops of cheerful color. Black sometimes provides a dramatic canvas, especially on a rug. But there also are soothing faded pinks, soft stone grays and dusky purples in the palette.
This spring, Ikea honors its Scandinavian roots with an extensive collection including designer Eva Lundgreen’s Akerkulla floral motif curtains and rug. The Hemnes furniture collection really nails the Swedish look with a linen cabinet in a deep red, a bed frame in gray and a shelving unit in blue.
An airy, pared-down version of neoclassical design was the hallmark of 18th-century Gustavian design, which has become popular outside Sweden in the past 20 years. Ikea’s Isala side table is a great example, in clean white or forget-me-not blue. In textiles, you’ll find a kicky pink gingham check in the Emmie Ruta duvet cover and a country floral in the Eivor Leva duvet cover (www.ikea.com).
At The Company Store, there’s the cottage charm of the Carrie comforter cover in an orange crewelwork floral motif on earthy chambray cotton. (www.thecompany store.com).
Anthropologie’s got the Amora bedding set with a colorful graphic on snowy white. While South American in origin, the folk pattern is similar enough to those of northern design that it reads Scandinavian.
The same is true of the retailer’s Fesi throw pillow from the Philadelphia-based design house Mushmina. It’s a Moroccan-embroidered pattern, yet looks like a snowflake or ski haus motif. The airy Speckled Blooms cotton curtain features a hyacinth repeat in rosy pink and green on white. (wwwanthropologie.com).
Burke Decor has a teapot sprinkled with playful tulips and blossoms, designed by Swedish ceramicist Camilla Engdahl (www.burkedecor.com).
And at www.finnstyle.com, find Oiva Toikka’s plump little glass birds, made by the Finnish glass house Iitala. Erja Hirvi’s Keisarinna fabric for Marimekko, with white magnolia blossoms and branches scattered on dove gray, is also available here.
The Dala horse long has been a symbol of Swedish culture. Originating in the country’s furniture- and clock-making towns, toy horses were made from scraps of leftover wood, and the icon often appears on decorative items. Annika Schmidt, an artist in Portland, Maine, creates pillow covers and ceramic tiles printed with her own version of the horse entwined in flowers, rendered in berry reds or turquoise.
“I spent idyllic and carefree summers at my grandmother’s house in Sweden; I’d spend hours playing in her small orchard, surrounded by roses,” Schmidt says.
Oiva Toikka’s charming little glass bird, Sooty Owl, manufactured by Iittala, the famed Finnish glass house.×
Fesi pillow features a Moroccan design that echoes Scandinavian snowflake motifs. Pillows are a quick and easy way to introduce Scandinavian design elements.×
Hemnes cabinet in red is a good example of simple Swedish furniture design rendered in an organic hue.×
Marimekko’s Keisarinna fabric pattern, of magnolia blossoms on a soft dove gray background, would be a pretty way to introduce Scandinavian design.×
Fesi pillows feature a Moroccan design that echoes Scandinavian snowflake motifs. Pillows are a quick and easy way to introduce Scandinavian design elements.×
Oiva Toikka’s charming little glass bird, Orange Kuulas, manufactured by iittala, the famed Finnish glass house.×
Emile Rosa gingham duvet cover epitomizes a Swedish graphic.×
An Amora duvet cover features a South American decorative motif that echoes those of Scandinavian country design. The bright colors of the embroidery are appealing, and the white background is typical of Scandesign.×
A gray-brown bed frame with subtle hues evokes the dusk and dawn of a Scandinavian day.×
Eva Lundgreen’s Akerkulla design on a curtain is a pretty way to introduce Swedish influence in room decor.×
The Speckled Blooms curtain has a repeat of hyacinth flowers, perfect for early spring. Pair it with a couple of painted furniture pieces and a rag rug for a fresh Scandinavian look.×