Whether you’re looking to give your home an authentic style or simply add some mid-century modern flair to a room, taking staples from Scandinavian design is an excellent choice.
Since the 1930s, this decorative arts movement has been combining functionality and simplicity through the use of natural materials. Leather, wood, steel and fabric blend together to create furniture that is both functional and comfortable, and designed for real life.
If there is one thing Scandinavian-style furniture has managed to do over the years, it has been to blend into its owners’ homes as if it were part of the family. Today, Scandinavian furniture and decorative pieces are being passed down through generations like precious gems.
Initially designed to be affordable for everyone, Scandinavian furniture has become increasingly expensive as it is now trendier than ever when it comes home decor. Luckily, you can often find reasonably priced treasures at flea markets and retro furniture shops. Happy hunting!
10 Scandinavian design must-haves
Panton chair by Verner Panton for Vitra
The world’s first item of furniture to be moulded from a single piece of plastic, this iconic chair has been finding its place in trend-setting homes since 1960. The award-winning Panton chair can be seen in decorative arts museums, and comes in a variety of colours, always with a matte finish. If it’s glossy, it’s a knock-off! Surprisingly comfortable, it goes just as well in the dining room as it does in the boardroom or in the yard as a lawn chair.
Unniko fabric by Maija Isola for Marimekko
If designer Maija Isola had listened to Armi Ratia, founder of the design house, Marimekko would have never seen its most popular design come to life. Defying instructions forbidding her to design floral prints, Isola made the concept flourish through her playful graphic style. The fabric is still available in three floral designs. It can be used for cushion covers or curtains, and even framed on the wall as artwork.
Mademoiselle rocking chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara
As comforting as a grandmother’s embrace, the Mademoiselle rocking chair instantly envelops you with that cozy hygge feeling. Crafted in solid birch, and available in white, black or sage green, the chair instantly gives any living room a warm and pleasant feel. What could be more Scandinavian?
PH 5 lamp by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen
Like a huge bumblebee about to take flight, the PH 5 lamp offers a timeless, geometric play on light. Its coloured reflectors and white matte shade allow it to softly a brighten a room. Its design keeps the bulb hidden from view to create an intimate effect. More recent versions are available in pale rose, green, turquoise and grey.
This industrial design masterpiece is as comfortable as it is unconventional. Evolving from the Ant chair, the Series 7 is made of pressure moulded sliced veneer. Surprisingly versatile, it’s a favourite among those seeking elegance without compromising on comfort. The stackable chairs are perfect for large halls and multi-purpose spaces, and come in a wide variety of finishes and even in a swivel base version with wheels.
Poet sofa by Finn Juhl
Finn Juhl originally designed the curvy sofa for his own home. A Danish design superstar since 1941, the sofa is still handmade and comes in a variety of fabrics and wood types. It is beloved for its versatility, fitting well in both modern and vintage interiors.
Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen
Designed for the lobby of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, the Egg chair was the product of efforts to bring to life the art of occupying space. With its strong foam shell and leather or fabric upholstery surrounding the soft padding, it invites us to sink into its smooth curves. You’ll love to curl up in it to read by the fireplace or simply to recreate the lounge vibe it was designed to exude.
Tulip table and chairs by par Eero Saarinen
Designed for Knoll since 1956, Tulip tables and chairs are classics that will never go out of style. With its tubular legs and rounded tulip-like corolla, this set adds a touch of modern flair to any dining room. Chair cushions are available in a wide range of fabrics and the table top comes in a variety of materials, so you can customize the set to suit your taste.
Conceived from a desire to create an affordable shelf system to store books, the String system won a design competition launched by a publishing house that was fully aware of its benefit. Sixty years later, these shelves are still very much admired for their beauty and modular design, which can be adapted to suit any room, based on the user’s needs and book collection.
Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio
Famous for its ubiquity in movies like A Clockwork Orange and Austin Powers, this groovy cocoon is known the world over. You can hide away in its fibreglass shell to listen to music undisturbed or even to take the ultimate nap.
Content creator for her blog Tellement Swell and her YouTube channel, Eve Martel has a boundless passion for interior décor and organization. The daughter of an architect, she grew up surrounded by her father’s Danish design magazines and blueprints. Just like that friend who always has the best tips, she shares ideas for turning your home into a stunning, peaceful haven.