When it comes to interior design, no one does it quite like Scandinavian countries. From Norway to Denmark and around the globe, Scandinavian designs have long been at the forefront of home decoration trends and sustainability efforts. These Nordic innovations are inspiring interior decorators all over the world and creating opportunities to go green with a sophisticated, timeless look. Learn about these tips for achieving a sustainable Scandinavian-inspired home.
Setting the precedent are furniture and design companies based out of Scandinavian. For instance, the Sweden-based furniture giant IKEA (heard of it?) is prioritizing sustainability by investing in wind, solar, and responsibly managed forest. Regardless of whether or not you buy from these sustainability-focused companies, you can still borrow some ideas to achieve a green, Scandinavian-inspired home.
With these tips, a keen eye, and DIY experience, you too can create a home as green as Northern Europe.
1. Maximize natural light
First, start with the natural lighting in your home. With limited sunlight hours in the north, Scandinavians have learned how to make the most of light where they can get it. This means big, uncovered windows that both maximize natural light and minimize decor for a true northern feel.
Integrating more natural lighting in your home won’t just give your home that Nordic feel you’re going for, but it will also boost your sustainability efforts. That’s because sunlight streaming in can help cut down your electricity bill by as much as 10%. Additionally, the added Vitamin D can lead to health benefits.
Maximize your natural light, starting with your windows. You can also optimize your use of paint for greater lighting efficiency.
2. Paint in muted, neutral colors
Scandinavians know how to maximize lighting through the use of color. With light hues and shades of white, you can get a lot of vibrancy from even a small amount of window light. That’s because these lighter colors are better at reflecting what light comes in throughout an entire room.
One of the pillars of Nordic design is to pair these muted colors—greys, whites, even pale pinks, and greens—with minimalistic and natural decor. With wood finishes, these soft colors elevate a Scandinavian-inspired look.
Reduce your use of electricity with rooms painted to bring in and reflect light. Then, a minimalist design helps ensure a clear path for this light to shine.
One of the most essential aspects of Scandinavian design is minimalism. Minimalism emphasizes quality over quantity, and it’s also a key element of any sustainability effort. This less-is-more approach to interior design is all the rage in Northern Europe for good reason. With it, you can gain all those sleek lines and uncluttered spaces you’re going for.
Minimalism forces you to take a different look at how you use your space. By keeping to the essentials, you can target things like furniture investments into durable pieces guaranteed to last a long time. As a result, you can save money while maximizing your space.
To minimalize sustainably, however, it helps to seek out natural materials second-hand or recycled.
Tips for Achieving a Sustainable Scandinavian-Inspired Home, continue reading….
4. Use recycled wood and furnitur
One of the best ways you can prioritize sustainable interior design is to use recycled wood and furniture. Nordic design heavily features natural materials for floors, wall paneling, fall ceilings, and other minimalist trim. However, if these materials are not sustainably sourced, you’ll harm the environment.
Though you can always turn to some sustainable Scandinavian brands for home decor supplies, it helps to thrift and repurpose. Vetting claims of sustainability isn’t easy in many cases. By thrifting, you can at least be sure that an already harvested material finds a new home.
Look for green alternatives to unsustainable big-box furnishings and supplies for your Scandinavian design. Even a fireplace can be eco-friendly with the right approach.
5. Install an eco-friendly fireplace
Your home might not feel truly Scandinavian without a nice fireplace to warm those long, dark winter nights. However, traditional fireplaces are notorious for their poor use of resources. Because they consume wood and emit toxic particulate matter, these timeless elements of any home can be problematic.
Fortunately, more eco-friendly fireplace options do exist. For example, ethanol fireplaces burn biofuel made from sugarcane and corn. Electric fireplaces keep toxic fumes at a bare minimum, and pellet-burning fireplaces are highly efficient.
Install an eco-friendly fireplace and reduce the toxic emissions that typically come with this feature. This might be the perfect finishing touch on your sustainable Scandinavian-inspired home.
Achieving a sustainable Scandinavian-inspired home
Scandinavian design is both timeless and modern. Emerging trends in this field increasingly include sustainable materials and choices that maximize the efficiency of a space. Elevate your home with some Nordic charm, considering sustainability from every angle.
Start with maximizing your natural light, then use these tips for guilt-free comfort and aesthetic bliss in that exceptional Scandinavian fashion. You can make your home (and the larger world) a bit greener with the help of Scandinavian-inspired design.
Tips for Achieving a Sustainable Scandinavian-Inspired Home, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.
Other articles by Ainsley Lawrence you might like to read:
The Coworking Culture in Scandinavian Countries
How & Why to Startup a Business in Sweden
Examining the Gender Pay Gap in Scandinavian Countries
Feasture image (on top): Hellerup Villa/Little Scandinavian