Whether you know it or not, Scandistyle is carving its influence on your life right now say Matthew and Jane. It’s there in the moody, noir-inspired detective dramas you’re watching back-to-back; in the sleek lines and subtle nudes that have crept into your wardrobe by way of Acne, & Other Stories and Cos; in your curiosity about the deluge of London restaurants favouring fresh, foraged food, a trend sparked by Copenhagen’s celebrated restaurant Noma.
The Nordic way may well have changed how you live in your own home too. Winter 2016 saw an avalanche of ‘how to’ manuals promising to teach the art of hygge. A Danish approximation of ‘cosiness’ which had us all wrapping ourselves in sheepskin rugs and hugging woolly water bottles. Hot on hygge’s cashmere slippered-heels comes lagom, the Swedish concept of “not too much, not too little”. The idea of “everything in moderation” is a welcome one for New Year dieters. It’s also being embraced by urban dwellers, for whom Scandinavians are the world leaders in taking homemaking seriously (every year in Stockholm, a city with a population of around 900,000, more than 40,000 people visit its annual Furniture Fair).
Unlike hygge, lagom doesn’t inspire magazine spreads of cosy things to buy. Lagom is as much a mindset as it is a look; owing as much to clarity and discipline as hygge does to sales of scented candles and loungewear. It asks you to consider what is “sufficient” and “just right” in your life and in your home.
“It also demands that you do away with hackneyed ideas about Scandinavian design being all impossibly clean lines and expensive statement pieces,” adds Jane. High on function, low on fuss, where hygge might have seen you fork out a week’s salary for a designer lamp, lagom insists you de-clutter and tidy so that air and light can circulate in your home, entirely free of charge. No budget is required to colour coordinate your book shelves by spines; to pack up those knick-knacks gathering dust on the windowsill; to banish unsightly papers and leads to a basket or storage box; to rid your wardrobe of that impulse buy you’ve been hanging onto since 1996 just in case.
As green buds poke their heads through soil and winter’s gloom gives way to fresh horizons, it’s only natural that we gravitate towards those paler colour palettes integral to Scandi interior design. At this time of year, our Nordic cousins are symbolically welcoming new beginnings by sanding down bleached floorboards and whitewashing their furnishings.
While the pale blues, greys and whites of Scandi’s colour scheme are set, there are some jewel tones creeping in this year for those inspired by the trend but longing for a
bit of colour. But it’s a step away from Deco Glam, which Jane says will continue to dominate trends in 2017 and will evolve into “bold wallpaper prints, whether geometric or botanical.” For a dose of inspiration, Matthew, suggests a wander down to the Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey where the work of Josef Frank – the modernist architect who came to acclaim in Sweden in the 1930s – is on display until 7 May 2017.
“Spring light is well worth celebrating – and some subtle tweaks to your living space can ensure you make the most of sunnier evenings and longer days,” says Matthew. Lamps in windows can work magic, as can large mirrors positioned to allow the light to bounce off. Pale, neutral walls will enhance the quality of space, and naked windows will give the sun a chance to breathe fresh life into your home. Things to avoid include large, dark rugs, and shadow casting wall-to-wall bookshelves. Light wood furnishings – a key characteristic of Scandi design – and hand-woven mats add a delicate allure, making the home clearer and brighter.
Nature is hot right now. When the festive season approaches, some Scandinavians take themselves off into the countryside to forage for the leaves and twigs for wreaths. Come spring, the blend between outside and inside sees greenery come into Scandi homes. Think “fresh-cut flowers, leafy green potted figs and raw timber accents,” adds Matthew.
Letting nature into your home is as much about mindset as it is aesthetics. Turn off gadgets and unplug. Find corners to escape into either alone or with one another. Lay outside in the new spring sunshine and shelter from the continuous stream of emails. Scandinavians are world leaders at celebrating the daylight – the summer solstice being their second most popular celebration – so let’s take a fresh leaf out of their book.