This Is What Scandinavian Concept Actually Is

Scandinavian design is having a moment right now, and if you’ve ever nodded your head like, “oh yeah, I love Scandinavian decor!” but in reality have no effing idea what it actually is, you wouldn’t be alone.

But you’re probably more familiar with it than you realize, because it’s popping up all over social media, design blogs, and your favorite magazines. Let’s break it down, so you can do less smiling and nodding and more finding cool ways to work it into your home.

Scandinavian design is minimal. Yes, it has nuances that make it different from minimalism, modernism, and contemporary decor, but at it’s most basic level, Scandinavian design is minimal, with a focus on simplicity and functionality. There’s not a lot of clutter, and it focuses on functionality, using natural materials, and taking a “democratic approach” to design.

Scandinavian design emerged in the 1930s, though really grew to popularity in the 1950s. A design show traveling through the U.S. and Canada in 1954-1957 promoted works by Nordic designers emphasizing simple designs inspired by nature and the climate of the region.

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