The thing about design styles is that when they become a ubiqutious trend—like the mid-century modern look or the '70s style bohemian resurgence this year—is that they take on a life of their own after awhile. What starts as a decor movement anchored in traditions and classic elements can evolve and reshape itself with every home it touches. That's what has happened to Scandinavian-inspired design... and I think it's a style that's rich, imbued with many layers, and a great fit for nearly any home.
Along with lots of light and natural textures, two hallmarks of Scandinavian design are an embrace of changing seasons (indoors and out) and a preference for furniture that's functional, used.
"In Stockholm, seasons change almost by the hour. Respect for the environment is ingrained within the culture; nature is an integral part of life for each dweller in this land," reads a paragraph from Lesley's Textured, Sunny Scandinavian Style in Sweden. "...balancing modern furniture and embracing beautiful views of nature. Large windows frame seasonal changes, but light also pours in, seamlessly melding the inside and outside."
"The home is airy with the large windows and white walls; the interior is allowing, robust, and tactile."
In the most beautiful Scandinavian-inspired homes, visually connecting with nature is a vital element. But so too are the changes that can occur in a home when it's allowed to grow and evolve.
"Living with my partner and our two little boys the interior always changes," wrote Tove Fogelström in her home tour. "[O]bjects move around the house and are being played with in different ways. In a way it is challenging, but I'm very happy not to be very much of a perfectionist. I like to work with materials like concrete, wood, and textile, as well as colors and plants. The home is airy with the large windows and white walls; the interior is allowing, robust, and tactile."
Furniture collector Rasmus Warnke Nørregaard echoes the idea of using your stuff perfectly: "I appreciate that guests can see that the furniture is not for show, it is used. Obviously, I take good care of my furniture, but I do not own furniture that is never used. I don't want to live in a museum."
Seek not exact "lessons" or strict design "rules" in the 16 stunning homes below. Only a few of the homes are actually located in Scandinavia. And many of the homes below exhibit that wonderfully layered Scandinavian-inspired style I described earlier. None of these spaces fit the exact definition of a Scandinavian space; they all have small additions and tweaks that give each room a delightfully unique personality. But all the homes' owners were able to expertly absorb some of the best parts of Scandinavian design—like lots of bright white, organic materials, natural light, and verdant plants—to create something all their own. And they may just inspire you to create your own Scandinavian-inspired mix.