We spent a winter reading books on getting more ‘hygge’. And the candle-strewn, Danish-inspired interiors look is everywhere cool right now.
But it’s not all cold weather and dark days over in the Nordics. As Christina Schmidt, Finnish designer and co-founder of British-Scandinavian design brand Skandium, says: “Summer for Danes, Swedes and Finns is everything. It’s about smoking freshly-caught fish, enjoying long summer evenings outside by a lit storm candle holder, covered in a blanket, having endless conversations.”
Here’s how to bring the nonchalant Scandi vibe to your home – summer style.
1. Hygge isn’t just for winter
Hygge isn’t all fluffy blankets, cosy nooks and deep-pile carpets – it also works for summer. As Brontë Aurell, Danish food writer and founder of London’s ScandiKitchen says: “There is loads of hygge in the Danish summer. It is some weird translation issue to English that people seem to think there is only hygge in the winter.”
Go calm and comfortable with stone-coloured throws, and natural materials such as linen and smooth slate, all cheered up with soft white fairy lights.
2. Bring the outside in
Plants like elderflower and birch stalks are big in Scandi-inspired culture right now – think cocktails made with lingonberry, anise and lemon, or even birch water itself. Christina recommends making use of natural flowers and plants to get the look: “For special occasions, you could even use flower heads generously scattered all over the table,” she says.
3. Light it up
Scandis are big on light sources to illuminate their spaces and bring a soothing glow. One recent trend has been copper ‘globe’ pendant lights, which add a real focus of golden-toned glamour to an otherwise white room. If you don’t want to go all-out with a new ceiling lamp, try the same thing on a smaller scale, with copper tea lamps and candle holders to give off the same warm feel.
4. Mix your textures
Talking of cool rooms, no Scandi space would be complete without lots of blonde wood. This doesn’t stop at tables and chairs, try mixing understated wooden cups or serving spoons with slate-coloured candle holders, thick linen napkins, rose-tinted cutlery and a heavy wooden cheeseboard over which you can sprinkle a veritable Scandi smörgåsbord of cheeses, pickled herring, and dill-flecked cucumber.
5. Summer means colour
Maybe it’s Noma taking on some Mexican flair, maybe it’s simply the joy of seeing the sun after a long winter, but modern summertime Scandi decor does include colour.
Finnish design company Marimekko is famous for its eye-popping patterns, while the classic Egg and Swan chair always offers a bold choice of colours for its leather. As Schmidt explains: “Colour is a must in Scandinavian design. You can easily add colourful napkins or bright placemats, or choose coloured plates to go with clear glass.”
6. Play with fire
Scandinavians can’t get enough of the outdoors in the summertime, but a downside of being so far north is that things can get a little chilly – something we recognise all too well in the UK too.
Make sure the party carries on whatever the weather with a stonking great firepit in your garden (or try a smaller one if you’re thinking more patio or balcony). If you’re short on outside space, try candles. From colourful tealights to bowl wicks to everything in between, as Schmidt says, “Candles are always comforting, always glowing. They’re a big thing in Scandi design. One can never have enough.”