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How to Decorate using Scandinavian Interior Design Books

by | May 4, 2019

There is a huge amount of magazines and books showing Nordic decor at its best.

Apart from the real thing, what’s better than sitting in a cosy chair with tea (Hygge) and flicking through a glossy Scandi home decor mag?

Article Summary:

  • The Scandi Look – Mixing it up
  • Decor that’s never out of Fashion
  • At Home with Helena Christensen
  • Now for the French Touch
  • The Scandi Home Book
  • Decor for Millennials
  • Decor for First Time Buyers
  • Decor inspired by Light
  • New Nordic
  • Scandinavian Dreaming

Nordic design has always been distinctive looking and high quality.

And as demand for a simpler lifestyle and awareness around Scandi interior have grown, so has the number of coffee table books on the topic.

The Scandi Look – Mixing it up with Colors and Cultural Pieces from abroad

And they are a great source of inspiration and tips on how to achieve the minimal look.

Such as paint colours, curtain styles, flooring, furniture, lighting, accessories such as vases, fruit bowls and most things to do with home living.

As Scandi home decorators ourselves, we love checking new trends in all the books and magazines, but to achieve a truly Scandi lifestyle we recommend adding individual touches.

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In fact, we look abroad for ways to complement the Scandi look – actually enhance the Scandi look.

Therefore, we gather ideas from French and Mediterranean home decor books – the subtle, yet vibrant, colours are a perfect match for the pure Scandi style.

Check another of our favourite Scandi design reference books Scandinavia Dreaming, Nordic Homes by clicking HERE.

One of our first home decor books, and still one of our favourites, is Pure Style: Accessible New Ideas for Every Room in Your Home, from 1996.

It’s British, but the style is Scandi with a dash of the Med and the occasional British country casual in the shape of striped ruched blinds and valanced chairs.

This is actually Scandi style at its best in our view, when there’s a tiny bit of “personality” and culture added to the Nordic canvas.

Home Decor Ideas that never go out of Fashion

The book – if it is even still in print – is the perfect starter book for anyone setting up home or new to decorating. It features tips and instructions on how to smarten up an old sofa with a new cover and make a cover for a metal chair.

It also shows how to shine up old finds, such as a a table bought for tuppence.

The book features sections on the sitting room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and outdoor spaces – it has mood boards, colour swatches, accessories, and writes about texture and colours and, of course, whites.

The book is bursting with ideas that just never go out of fashion. Its colour scheme is pastel yellow, blue and white and it manages to blend rustic with modern. It is simply cool and cute.

Paris Interior – Boho Chic at Home with Danish former Supermodel Helena Christensen

Another favourite is the magnificent coffee table tome Paris Interiors, published by Taschen. It is a jaw-dropping book if you love interiors and seeing who lives how…

Celebrities have opened their homes to photographers for this publisher, and there are some awesome, inspiring living arrangements featured here on thick, sometimes gold effect pages.

Celebrities, whose homes feature include: Isabelle Adjani, Azzedine Alaia, Loulou de la Falaise, Ines de lan Fressange, Christian Lacroix, Thierry Mugler and Helena Christensen.

Being Scandinavian, it was Danish supermodel Helena’s apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Paris, in her modelling heydays that caught our eye.

But her chic Left Bank apartment, which was her home as she rose to fame, is Scandinavian in spirit rather than in appearance.

Interestingly, the only hint of a Scandi heritage is a generous helping of white walls, but the rest is uber retro and boho chic Scandi style.

Rrugs and a mix of living room and garden furniture from street markets and paintings and old family photos in old fashioned frames – pure Danish granny style.

Now for the French Touch – Mixing it up

For French glamour, this book, The French Touch: Decoration and Design in the Private Homes of France is our go-to manual.

It shows what to do with grand rooms, sweeping staircases and floor to ceiling sashed windows, or French doors. But it has charm and a touch of casual country about and is brimming with ideas on colour and patterns.

Split into sections which focus on different parts of the country: the Ile de France, the west, the Bordeaux region and the south, we head to the section covering the southern region which makes the most of the brilliant sunlight.

Loving images of the gleaming white bedroom which would make any Scandi blush with envy: shiny white floorboards, plain linen curtains, white bedspread of Provencal cotton lace and white stone bedside tables.

Maybe The French Touch is more international than actually distinctly French or distinctly anything – but it’s got decor star quality.

Scandinavian Interior Design – The Scandinavian Home Book

For French glamour, this book, The French Touch: Decoration and Design in the Private Homes of France is our go-to manual.

It shows what to do with grand rooms, sweeping staircases and floor to ceiling sashed windows, or French doors. But it has charm and a touch of casual country about and is brimming with ideas on colour and patterns.

Split into sections which focus on different parts of the country: the Ile de France, the west, the Bordeaux region and the south, we head to the section covering the southern region which makes the most of the brilliant sunlight.

Loving images of the gleaming white bedroom which would make any Scandi blush with envy: shiny white floorboards, plain linen curtains, white bedspread of Provencal cotton lace and white stone bedside tables.

Maybe The French Touch is more international than actually distinctly French or distinctly anything – but it’s got decor star quality.

Home Decor Books for Millennials and First Time Home Buyers

As housing in big cities becomes ever more expensive, space is of the essence and this book is hugely useful to the millennial first time buyer: Living in Small Spaces.

It may not be in print where you are as it’s from 1988, but it’s more relevant now than ever.

Super sections such as Adapting and Adding On, Finding your Style, Bringing the Outside In, Using Space Room by Room and Making Space are pure gold for home buyers on a budget.

See how to use shallow window recesses as storage space or display, how to fit shelves in unlikely places and make it look super chic, using mesh shelves, creating storage space in old disused fire places and combining living space with work space.

Scandinavian Interior Design – The Scandinavian Home Book

Although the Scandinavian countries, particularly Denmark, have excelled in architecture and design for decades, it is the rise in awareness of Nordic culture in the last decade through film and food which has boosted the number of books on Scandi design.

Scandinavian Ineriors Books inspired by Light

Light is hugely important in Scandi interior design – not because there isn’t much of it up north (there is) but because it’s quite special.

The Nordic countries have always been environmentally aware and perhaps its lack of smog that gives the light a special, pure quality. It features in many old master paintings.

Light is heavily used in Scandi interior design to add dimension to living space, the light and shadow effect and reflection. Indeed, the Danes are famed for their lamp shade designs.

Little wonder books on Scandi design often focus on the light effect. One such book is The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light, described by Homes & Garden magazine as “a masterclass in how to get more light into a home, at which the Scandinavians excel”.

The book, as indeed many Nordic homes do, features plenty of white wooden floorboards, wood panelled ceilings and how this interior is used to reflect the sunlight throughout the living space.

It takes clever layout and decor skills – a Scandi strength.

New Nordic Design – A closer Look at Design Details

Another favourite is the more “nerdy” book, Scandinavian Modern by experts from the Skandium design emporium.

This oeuvre seems less concerned with the overall look and white feel of the Scandi home, more focused on furniture details, functionality and craftsmanship.

It embodies the “relaxed comfort, unpretentious simplicity and easy elegance of the modern Scandinavian home”.

It shows close ups of woodwork and materials and the overall feel is more of natural products making it darker – a different approach to the often very white and light associated with Nordic design.

The team behind the book know what they are talking about .

As Scandinavians they founded the chainstore Skandium which sells modern Scandi furniture and homeware.

Scandinavia Dreaming – The Nordic House

There are now so many books and publications about Nordic design it is difficult to sift through them all and to pick the ones that shine…

But one of our new go-to’s is the new Rum – rum means room or space. It’s a Danish magazine so thick that if you put a hard cover around it, it would qualify as a coffee table book.

Rum does what we thought was happening: mixing of fashion and interiors – see also our blog on indoor plants where the unlikely link between decor and fashion is highlighted. Work / Life / Art / Fashion…

The publication shies away from the eternal white look (although that does feature) and mixes in bold colours such as hot pink, orange, black and purple.

The Scandi thread running through the book appears to us to be the sense of order – “space matters” – it says, and we couldn’t agree more.

What you don’t put into a home is almost as important as what you do use…what is not there adds as much to the overall feeling you have at home as what is there.

Art features heavily in Rum, which is only a reflection of how art and interiors collide and collaborate and how Copenhagen has become a world class player in both worlds.

Designer and influencer homes appear in Rum with behind the scenes shots and interviews – glossy, somewhat aspirational, but interesting and useful at the same time.

DANISH MODERN

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LEGAL INFORMATION

We recommend products and ideas based only on our own experiences or fitting in with the Scandinavian aesthetic – DU is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Programme and therefore earns a small commission from Amazon on a sale at no extra cost to you.