It was pure curiosity that led me on a two week trip to the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) this September. Scandinavian style home (many people call it Nordic) was only a small part of it. I wanted to stroll the streets, touch everything, smell the wind and talk to people. With all the buzz and problematic statistics about Nordics as “the happiest people”, I wanted to have a glimpse and learn their secrets. I won’t bore you with all the politics and economics of the Nordic countries. As a design blogger, I will talk about home decorating and Scandinavian style in particular.
- What are the aesthetic sensibilities of the Scandinavian style?
- Why authentic Scandinavian furniture is so expensive?
- What is Hygge?
Scandinavian Style and Hay House
My trip started in Copenhagen where the obsession with design is embedded within the culture of the Danes. Nordic homes reflect the idea of effortless co-existence of old and new architecture, streamlined, sleek lines, and flirty curves. The accents are nostalgic, simple as they make you smile. Add eye-candy muted dusty blush and soft moody neutrals, and you’ve got the look!
Because Hay House, a celebrated Danish modern furniture store is more democratic in terms of prices I decided to visit it first. Besides, I knew that Hay store just opened in Chicago, so I figured that if I like something I could easily buy it in the United States.
But let’s go back to Hay House, the flagship store in Denmark. You won’t find it on the street level. Mette and Rolf Hay, the creators of Hay brand wanted to set up the store so that it looks more like a real apartment. It occupies the 2nd and 3rd floors of a historical building with magnificent street views from every window.
The view from the windows frames all the objects and furniture.
The two floors are connected by a stunning staircase imported from England.
The style of the staircase is a happy marriage of old and new, ornate and industrial, reclaimed wood and rusty metals. The staircase that functionally connects the two floors serves as a symbol of Danish design philosophy which happily accepts the intersection of different styles and celebrates the building’s architecture.
Furniture and Accents
The product selection consists of furniture and home accessories. The furniture is designed for comfort and durability.
Why authentic Scandinavian furniture is so expensive?
Danish designers are known for their superior craftsmanship. For example, it can take several years for a furniture piece to get to a store shelf. With quality materials, sturdy frames and well-constructed details, every piece is designed to last. In addition to uncompromised quality, a hefty tax adds to the price.
Many Danes don’t worry about making their homes look like what you see in the magazines. Even Mette and Rolf Hay, the creators of Hay House are very laid back as far as their own house decor. That is very typical in the design field. They say that their home is full of mismatched objects that are dear to their hearts. It is important to them that the objects tell a story and they don’t worry about matching or staging anything. They believe that if you stay true to yourself and brave enough to show your personality your home will be beautiful and welcoming!
Scandinavian Lifestyle: Dressing Up
Danes and Swedish are very social people and getting together is part of their nature. what they do all the time. For example, Denmark has close to two hundred twenty folk dancing clubs. Role-playing and dressing up in costumes is quite common.
Danes eagerly participate in different clubs where they don’t pay anything! But it’s not all so pink and rosy. Danes pay the highest tax in the world. Their income tax alone varies between 42-56% which is very high at a first glance. But because medical care, education, and childcare are mostly covered, Danish people don’t seem to protest.
What is Hygge?
Hygge simply means getting together with friends and family and having a good time. Because Danes get together all the time the concept of Hygge is dear to their hearts.
Even hotels decorate their courtyards with candles and greenery.
All of a sudden the concept of Hygge became a means of promoting product sales, from fireplaces to fluffy pillows to candles.
However, when you ask the Danes they will tell you that you don’t need to buy much to feel cozy either alone or with friends and family. Good heartfelt conversation, a couple of cheap candles and a nice drink will do.
Well, I have nothing against nice looking candles or Scandinavian inspired home accents. In fact, below are some of my favorites that I obsessively curated for you.
Have a look at some of my favorite items in Scandinavian Style :