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Design focus: Nordic style for 2018

From handcrafted wooden dining tables that invite ‘hygge’ meals, to beautiful soft furnishings and ingenious lighting, we cover everything you need to know about 2018’s Nordic trend.
Hints & Tips Lifestyle
nordic style_hero

There’s something effortlessly modern but homely about Nordic design, and many of us lust over it when watching our favourite Scandi dramas. Characterised by lashings of white, warehouse-chic furniture and tempting open spaces, it’s nothing if not contemporary. And with some of 2018’s biggest trends set to incorporate interesting textures, earthy neutral tones and pared back industrial vibes, Nordic décor remains as ‘in’ as ever.

But that’s not to say that Scandi design is the same as it was four or five years ago. As the Nordics themselves move with the times, so must we if we want to remain current. While 2012 might have seen us embracing bleached wood and barely-there greys, 2018’s Scandi-trends let us play around with rich mahoganies and deeper shades of blue, bolder patterns and brighter accessories. But one defining feature has stayed the same, and it’s all to do with achieving the increasingly talked about concept of ‘hygge’ (a Danish word used to acknowledge a feeling or moment in which everything feels ‘just right’ – although there’s no direct English translation).

When applied to interior design, ‘hygge’ is all about achieving balance and a sense of of cosy-calm that invokes peace and happiness. Sound challenging? Don’t worry – if the Nordics can do it, so can we! Read on to discover everything you need to know about how to achieve utterly tasteful, totally hygge interior design for the coming year.

nordic style_ercol teramo

Think craftmanship and elegance

At its core, Nordic design is characterised by an acute attention to detail and fine craftmanship – both of which lead to a feeling of elegance within a space. From gorgeous, handcrafted oak dining tables like this sleek Ercol Teramo, down to beautiful and intriguing accessories, there’s no cutting corners on quality. So, as we go into 2018, think about replacing some of your home’s furniture with serious investment pieces for a Scandi-look that will last. We love this Shoreditch dining table and chairs, which fit in well with 2018’s industrial-chic trend. The table’s solid pine surface is offset by polished dark-metal legs, providing the perfect balance between edgy, contemporary style and rustic, textured charm – perfect for the Nordic vibe. Or if you prefer simpler wooden dining tables with less to them but just as much charm, go for something like this California flip top table which – in true Scandi style – blends sleek functionality with clean-cut, timeless aesthetics.

Never underestimate the power of lighting

Places like Iceland and Norway can experience a mere four to six hours of daylight a day[i], so lighting carries an almost godlike status when it comes to their interiors. And when you look at any glossy-magazine example of Nordic design, you’ll soon see that they treat it as a work of art, as well as a practical essential. With that in mind, your Scandi-chic makeover won’t be complete without a complete overhaul of lighting. Think impressive pendants in glossy ceramics, or to be really on-trend, hang oversized white paper lanterns from the ceiling for a light and airy (and very Nordic) feel.


Bring in an accent colour

Whereas a few years ago anything other than whites, neutrals and greys might have been frowned upon in Nordic design, 2018 is all about bold accents and moreish pops of colour. For upcoming Spring, sky-blue is a must. Incorporate it into your living room with a plain, block-colour rug (provided you’ve got pale flooring, which you absolutely should if you’re going for a Scandi look). Or weave it into your kitchen décor with boldly coloured mugs, crockery or even lighting. Likewise, don’t shy away from experimenting with dark wooden furniture, as long as it’s sleek and modern, not heavy-set or ornate. In fact, there’s a definite crossover between Nordic design and the mid-century modern trend, which is all about elegant curves and polished mahogony.

And while we’re on the subject of the bright and the bold, patterns are all-go too, so long as they incorporate clean lines and geometric shapes as opposed to anything floral or ‘traditional’ (no brocade please). Just remember, for a Nordic look, bright colours and bold patterns should be employed sparingly and thoughtfully against a backdrop that’s neutral enough to take them. That’s non-negotiable.

nordic style_arista geo rug
nordic style_kingsley cushions

Choose warm textiles and quality soft furnishings

Back to hygge. Nordic living is as much about clever – scratch that – ingenious designs, as it is about cosy, comforting textures for a home you can’t help but relax in. With that in mind, think about accessorising with beautifully made blankets, throws and cushions, but aim to go for quality over quantity (spot a recurring theme?). It’s important not to wander into bohemian territory with a plethora of eclectic soft furnishings if you want to achieve a clean yet textured Nordic look. Instead, pick a few streamlined choices that exude enough style and quality to work on their own. We love this Kingsley Geometric Cushion, which would work well in a set of three on a pared-back couch for a bold pop of colour and pattern.

The best thing about the Nordic trend is the way it blends functionality with comfort, and clean, modern design. Through interesting, finely crafted furniture, lighting and accessories, it manages to be textured but not cluttered, homely yet contemporary. Perhaps that’s why it’s stayed steadfastly in the collective consciousness of interior designers over the years, and why – we think, anyway – it’s here to stay.


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