What is Scandinavian Furniture, And What Makes It Special?

Today, more than ever, Scandinavian furniture is getting attention. Whether it’s guests on The Daily Show sitting in Knoll office chairs or the Saarinen replica chairs that can be found at contemporary restaurants, you can probably think of dozens of pieces that are highly influenced by the mid-century modern trend. However, much of what we call mid-century modern furniture is actually Scandinavian furniture.

Modernism was a cultural movement that began in Scandinavia at that end of the 19th century. The goals of the movement in Scandinavia were the production of designs that the general public could enjoy, along with an emphasis on minimalism and functionalism, two concepts that were greatly influenced by the social changes that were happening in Europe with the end of the First World War. However, the term “Scandinavian design” actually comes from a design show that traveled around the United States and Canada from the years 1954 through 1957.

Below we provide some examples of the designers and brands that characterized this movement along with a brief description of the most important elements of Scandinavian furniture design.

Scandinavian Furniture Design

The first golden age of Scandinavian design was from the 1930s through the 1970s. During this period, 20th century furniture designers from Scandinavia created designs that offered unique twists that would soon become prized for their innovative features.

The designs worked well in Scandinavian homes given that Scandinavian interiors, generally neutral walls and open-plan layouts for each room. They offered balance between the interiors and the overall ambience of a space while also being highly functional, yet aesthetically pleasing.

scandinavian design

Today, midcentury-modern furniture is more popular now than ever and it is important to consider the exact reasons why. Several key elements set Scandinavian apart from the furniture of other regions and have contributed to its popularity, including:

  • Lighter colored woods: Scandinavian furniture relies on solid wood in order to provide the excellent support and durability that it deliveries. Generally, lighter colored woods, such as ash, are chosen to create these designs so that the materials also stand out as important design features.

  • Balanced proportions and soft lines: Scandinavian furniture makes use of balanced proportions and soft lines in order to create a look that is especially suited to the modern home. These proportions also reflect the fact that the pieces are also designed to be functional in nature.

  • Lightness: From the choices of upholstery fabrics to the whimsical shapes that can be found in Scandinavian furniture, there is a lightness to the overall look of the furniture. This makes every piece seem unique and distinctive, creating an eye-catching focal point for the room no matter where the furniture piece is placed.

Build Your Own Scandinavian-inspired Furniture

At Medley, we can help you build your own Scandinavian-inspired furniture with our unique Hand-to-Home craftsmanship, we use only the best quality materials to make each piece of furniture one-by-one. If you are looking for some ideas to help you get started, browse our modern furniture products to see the options that we can personalize for you.