Scandinavian Wallpaper: The Guide
Cool beauties, warm-hearted motifs, cultural-historical patterns - Scandi Chic is more than just an interior design trend. The Nordic style of living has firmly established itself worldwide and its various facets have been adapted enthusiastically. They are as varied as the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Finland, Sweden or Norway which all influence Nordic wallpaper design in a variety of ways. Looks like the Swedish Country House style or Hygge can be realised with matching design wallpapers. Discover the world of Scandinavian wallpaper.
Table of Contents
- What characterises the Scandinavian interior design style?
- Which are the countries that influence Nordic wallpaper design?
- Which wallpapers are suitable for the Swedish country house style?
- How can the very popular Danish Hygge interior design trend be implemented with wallpapers?
- What characterises the modern Scandi style?
- Which rooms are most suitable for Scandi Chic wallpaper?
- What are the most common colours for Nordic Style wallpaper?
- Which are the most popular Scandinavian wallpaper patterns?
- Who are the most famous wallpaper manufacturers from Scandinavia?
- Our tips: Ideas reflecting the Nordic style
What characterises the Scandinavian interior design style?
Scandi Chic, the modern generic term for Nordic interior design, is based on minimalism, a cool sophistication and pleasingly straight lines. The style is very clean, clear and refreshingly understated while never losing sight of functionality.
Reduced and minimalist
The Scandinavian furnishing style is reduced to the essential and exudes minimalist beauty. Carefully selected designer or vintage furniture, a spattering of cute accessories related to a specific region and country, and muted rather than loud colours are essential features of the Scandinavian style of living.
Clean, clear and understated
Scandi Chic avoids pomp and decadence, because that is not its intention. Instead, it follows a clear line which is coherent and yet leaves room for interpretation. Small, cherished objects, often handmade, please the eye and complete the picture. Deceleration is the magic word.
Straight lines and understatement
Patterns are clear and straight-lined, avoiding exaggerated exuberance, with a preference for delicate, small-scale motifs. The gentle beauty of wallpaper designs in the Scandi look is emphasised via muted, light or pastel colours. Even traditional patterns are characterised by simple forms.
Which are the countries that influence Nordic wallpaper design?
In the 1950s, the unmistakable Scandinavian look was firmly established in the interior design scene. In wallpaper design, a distinction is made between Swedish, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian wallpaper styles.
Swedish wallpaper style
The Swedish wallpaper style is characterised by maritime nature and the seemingly endless coasts of the North and Baltic Sea. The Swedish Country House style plays a special role in this context, representing an elegant, simple and comfortable lifestyle. Classic stripe and folklore patterns or historical motifs in white, grey, blue as well as light pastel shades set the tone.
Danish wallpaper style
Denmark has been a stronghold of functional design since the 1960s and is known for designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Werner Panton. Its original purism manifests itself in premium materials, sleek geometry and newly interpreted Art Deco. The vintage patterns of these design icons have influenced the world of wallpapers.
Finnish wallpaper style
Finnish design is primarily based on exciting contrasts: Alvar Aalto and "Sisu", the Finnish mentality. The Finnish wallpaper style combines strong colours (both cool and warm), a wide variety of wood types and traditional graphic patterns. Forests, flowers and botanical elements are stylised in a simple yet striking manner. One of the main representatives of the colourful Finnish lifestyle is design brand Marimekko.
Norwegian wallpaper style
The land of the Vikings, unique fjord landscapes and legendary trolls is a country of adventure, characterised by cultural traditions that are reflected in folklore patterns on design wallpaper. Nature and animal scenarios, abstract floral elements, but also artistic wood imitations determine the design. Popular colours are green, blue, white and brown.
Which wallpapers are suitable for the Swedish Country House style?
Historical and traditional patterns are very popular in the Swedish Country House style, but the designs also show influences from Nordic folklore and folk art. Motifs and materials are predominantly based on nature.
Historical and traditional patterns
In addition to Baroque and Art Nouveau patterns which enrich the Swedish Country House style with their light formal language, the Gustavian (Classicist) style plays an important role among the historical patterns. This style is named after King Gustav III. (1771-1792) and in terms of wallpaper consists of elements like delicate tendrils, stripes and ornamental diamond patterns.
Nordic folklore and folk art
Stylised flowers and geometric shapes in various arrangements and combinations are among the typical elements of Swedish folk art. Folklore patterns also stand for traditional handicrafts that make use of natural materials. They represent a sense of home and regional ties and provide a familiar sense of well-being.
Nature motifs and materials
The Swedish Country House style is close to nature and down to earth. As a result, wallpaper models with natural motifs and materials are most suitable. Traditional printing methods such as surface printing, where print images are deceptively similar to manual printing, also feature. This always results in a harmonious overall picture with a carefree and light-hearted effect.
How can the very popular Danish Hygge interior design trend be implemented with wallpapers?
Hygge is a term which described feeling good in a Scandinavian - or more precise: Danish - way. This trend meets the basic needs of cosiness, well-being and relaxation.
Cosiness is created by familiar symmetrical patterns, which are either borrowed from nature or inspired by basic geometric shapes and their functional, simple beauty. Warm, light and pastel colours provide a friendly character, while shades of green and brown as well as nude underline the homely feeling.
Our senses constantly suggest a feeling of well-being or discomfort. That is why the hygge style is entirely based on structures, e.g. embossing, reliefs, pleasant surface materials such as linen, cotton and lambswool and/or wallpapers with material imitations. Deceptively real wood looks appeal to the visual and haptic sense and create a sense of comfort.
With coordinated and shaded colours as well as patterns that calm the mind instead of challenging it, wallpaper can have a relaxing effect. In terms of patterns, foliage of all kinds (including stylised tree leaves and ferns) is amongst the firm favourites. Romantic typographies and minimalist graphics also serve this purpose.
What characterises the modern Scandi style?
The modern Scandi look has many interesting facets. Abstract wallpaper patterns as well as Shabby Chic and Vintage styles are all popular.
Abstract wallpaper patterns
Geometric shapes, flowers, leaves, figures - in the modern Scandinavian interior design style, the abstraction of pattern is one of the main characteristics. It is a fantastic tool of creativity that provides its own dynamics and a plethora of interpretative possibilities. In combination with colour, the unique effects that are created find their way into the subconscious mind.
Patina and the traces of time - Shabby Chic is an important variation of the contemporary Scandi look. But it should be noted that, in this context, less is more, which means that a common thread which dispenses with the superfluous determines the design. Off (or "antique") white is one of the colour favourites, along with vanilla, rosé and grey-green.
Modern Nordic styles pay homage to the Vintage look that characterises the work of many of the great designers. That's why small-scale graphic designs, e.g. based on Arne Jacobsen's patterns, are always a great choice. They are usually combined with functional period furniture from specific design eras.
Which rooms are most suitable for Scandi Chic wallpaper?
The Scandinavian look creates space within the room. Consequently, Scandi Chic wallpaper models are suitable for children's rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms.
Children look for playful inspiration that challenges their senses, stimulates their creativity and teaches them new skills. Graphic and geometric patterned Scandinavian wallpaper models as well as wallpaper designs with nature and animal motifs exceed these requirements. Subtle, light colours calm children's minds and inspire important resting times.
Culinary pleasure is an important element of the joie de vivre Scandi Look. Cooking is a more relaxed experience and an easier task when the wall design provides subtle suggestions without distracting from the real thing. This can be achieved with graphic and geometric wallpaper patterns or stylised flowers, to mention just a few options.
Perhaps you'd like to lose yourself in the dreamland of mysterious mythical forest creatures? Or how about the Swedish Country House style with its elegant wood elements, soft flower patterns or historical designs? Scandi wallpaper meets all of those requirements for individual bedroom designs.
Modern design in a pleasantly unobtrusive style is the essence of Scandinavian Chic in the living room. A small dose of Bauhaus charm or a pinch of Space Age go hand in hand with natural colours. Black-and-white is another popular theme in Scandinavian-style living rooms.
What are the most common colours for Nordic Style wallpaper?
The Scandi look benefits from cool and neutral colours like blue, grey, black and white. Natural colours like green and yellow convey freshness and cheerfulness.
Blue symbolises peace, harmony, longing, and imagination and thus reflects the essence of the Scandinavian interior design style. In the Nordic style, the focus is mainly on light blue (reminiscent of the wide sky) and deep dark sea blue (reminiscent of the Norwegian fjords).
Lush green islands, huge forests, breathtaking flora - Scandinavia is deeply connected with the colour that stands for hope, renewal and growth. The combination of green and white is a Scandi Style standard and emphasises its natural, lively aspect.
Yellow is the colour of the sun and of positivity. In terms of the Scandi style, it can occasionally be quite intense and bright. However, pastel yellow, vanilla yellow and corn yellow usually feature more frequently.
It's all about harmonious contrasts or complementary colours like blue, grey and white, so that the design as a whole matches the relaxed, laid-back line.
Grey is the must-have colour for Nordic style wallpaper. It stands for neutrality and functionality, for simplicity and understatement - all features that together create the Scandi look. Grey can be combined with all the colours mentioned above and emphasises stronger shades. In addition, blue-grey is the colour of winter in Scandinavia.
Scandinavian wallpapers in black and white are characterised by a clear and very modern effect. The colour combination is perfect for the puristic Nordic Clean Chic. Geometric and graphic designs, e.g. with diamond shapes, zigzag or hounds-tooth wallpaper patterns, are just some examples worth mentioning. To keep it light and airy, white should be the main pattern colour.
Which are the most popular Scandinavian wallpaper patterns?
Scandinavian wallpaper design is inspired by nature, as evidenced by leaves, flowers, trees or the popular imitation wood look. Other design favourites are graphic and geometric patterns and stripes.
Stylistically, leaves are an incredibly flexible motif. In Scandi design, they can be concrete and close to the original or abstract and stylised, but they always reflect the plant diversity of the Nordic landscape. Simplified and multi-coloured leaf patterns in the sought-after Vintage style are also typical for wallpapers in the Scandinavian look.
Flowers are a source of joy, they delight the eye and beguile us with their scent. In terms of Scandi wallpaper designs, possible motifs can be blossoms, tendrils or daisy chains, to name but a few. Floral designs can be stylised, abstract or folkloristic, depending on the designer's preferences. In addition, flowers are often an essential component of cultural-historical pattern motifs.
Scandinavia is intertwined with trees in the true sense of the word. Scandinavian countries are famous for lush forests, and native wood is the basis for countless functional as well as attractive pieces of furniture. Branches, twigs, treetops, tree trunks or even the forest itself are among the most popular motifs for Scandinavian wallpaper.
Stripes and lines can be found in many traditional patterns. They emphasise a variety of floral and geometric designs with a Scandinavian touch. They are also an important stylistic device in terms of elegance, order and straightforwardness.
Wooden houses, practical furniture made of wood, wood for heating - wood is "the" material in the far north and represents cosiness and warmth. On wallpaper, the wood look comes in the form of chunky tree trunks, cross sections of trees, or wooden planks in the Shabby Chic style, among other things.
Graphic and geometric patterns
The Nordic style often features graphic and geometric patterns, including zigzag, herringbone and diamond patterns. Organic, natural forms also influence this style, e.g. wave-like movement, powerful arcs or energetic curves.
Who are the most famous wallpaper manufacturers from Scandinavia?
Scandinavian wallpaper manufacturers are among the main global players as their designs are in demand worldwide, independently of the Nordic interior design style. Borastapeter, Sandberg, Ferm Living and Pihlgren ja Ritola are among the oldest and well-known manufacturers.
Named after a city in Sweden which is considered to be the country's textile and sculpture centre, long-established company Borastapeter is one of the oldest Swedish wallpaper manufacturers. The range includes strict minimalist patterns as well as "maximalist" collections with stunning sceneries and unusual nature and animal motifs.
Classic stripe wallpapers and enchanting floral designs are the speciality of this Swedish wallpaper manufacturer, but retro wallpaper models, charming children's wallpapers and pattern motifs inspired by historical motifs are also part of the range. The production is based on traditional, high-quality manufacturing processes.
Danish designer label Ferm Living, which was founded in 2006, has quickly become an acclaimed institution for modern Scandi Chic. Graphic pattern combinations based on the Danish mid-century style or the animal and plant world inspire customers around the globe.
Pihlgren ja Ritola
Historical and vintage patterns (predominantly from the 1950s) are the speciality of this Finnish wallpaper manufacturer. Each of the paper-based models (produced on original machines from the 19th century with historical printing rollers in the glue printing technique) is unique. These fabulous wallpapers printed with natural dyes meet the highest standards of environmental and climate protection.
Our tips: Ideas reflecting the Nordic style
- Hygge with soothing textile wallpaper: What could be better than to feel utterly comfortable in one's home? High-quality textile wallpapers with surfaces made of natural jute or beautiful warp threads laminated onto fleece carriers add cosiness to the room and offer an unforgettable haptic experience. Shades of grey, cream white or light blue are amongst the most popular colours.
- Zesty zigzag for retro kitchens: Pastel colours and small-scale zigzag patterns are perfect for a retro kitchen in the Scandinavian style. Patterned wallpaper can also be used as as a splash-guard - just as long as it is water-resistant. High-gloss retro furniture matching the wallpaper colours and designer kitchen accessories from the 60s and 70s complete the picture.
- A bedroom in the woods: When we were children, we'd often dream of sleeping in the forest and discovering little secrets between the high trees. Nordic forest wallpaper models in puristic grey/white tree designs make this dream come true. Real wood accessories create exciting contrasts.
- Nordic Look room divider: DIY fans can build a room divider or partition wall according to instructions (e.g. from the internet). The Nordic touch is provided by wallpaper in the Scandinavian style. In terms of decoration, classic and modern geometric patterns are just as suitable as nature scenes and floral wallpaper in the Scandinavian style.