“For this residence, we looked beyond the clichés of Hawaiian design such as ukuleles and palm prints,” Nicole Hollis says of this home in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “Scandinavian design is known for a pared-down sensibility combined with organic materials, so this Circle chair by Hans Wegner ties the room together perfectly. It has a graphic look that anchors the space but this is balanced by its soft circular curves and warm natural materials such as oak and rope.” The room also includes a Christian Liaigre sofa, a custom media cabinet and shelves by Hollis and Pierre Chareau T-1927 stools.
For this Long Island, New York, beach house, Groves & Co. employed a neutral palette to create an understated, serene effect. The space features natural and heavily textured materials, a live-edge wood side table, mid-century wood-and-leather armchairs and a sisal rug.
In a suburb of Copenhagen, interior stylist Cille Grut used shades of gray and a pair of PK22 chairs to modernize her family’s 1875 cottage.
Wegner’s black leather Ox chair — as seen in the Los Angeles bedroom of designer Cliff Fong — echoes his lifelong fascination with Pablo Picasso. Photo by Mary Nichols
In a Hylinge, Sweden home by architect Olof Tempelman, an airy dining room is decorated with hand-painted borders and furnished with a suite of white-painted late Gustavian chairs.
In these two rooms, Parisian designer Pierre Yovanovitch presents highly refined visions of Scandinavian Modernism with armchairs by Karen & Ebbe Clemmensen (left) and a Flemming Lassen sofa (right). Photos © Lux Productions
The same Wegner chairs look equally chic in this Brooklyn kitchen by design firm Workstead. Photo by Matthew Williams
At Copenhagen’s The Apartment, a cherry-colored Hans Wegner PP129 armchair takes center stage. A blue McCollin Bryan Tinted Lens table rests nearby.
Scroll through the below images to see how different interior designers have used Scandinavian Modern pieces in their work — and then, shop similar items from our collection.
Characterized by bold, clean lines and simple, sturdy symmetries, Scandinavian Modernism is perhaps the warmest and most organic iteration of modernist design. Beginning around 1930, Danish, Finnish and Swedish designers began producing furniture and decor pieces that stressed quality craftsmanship and the ideal that beauty should enhance even the most humble of accessories of daily life.
A pristine Finn Juhl wall unit holds pride of place in the downtown Manhattan store of 1stdibs dealer Wyeth. Photo by Emily Andrews
In this Manhattan high-rise, Mishaan employed a teak-framed NV 45 chair by Finn Juhl to evoke a seductive, mid-century mood. Photo courtesy of The Monacelli Press
Jacobsen’s Egg and Swan chairs are paired with Poul Volther’s Corona chairs in the lively sitting room of architect Charles Deaton’s 1963 curvilinear Sculptured House on Genesee Mountain in Colorado. Photo © Richard Powers, courtesy of Abrams
To soften an austere Copenhagen loft, designer Tina Seidenfaden Busck used a Svenskt Tenn chaise longue, a De Padova Raffles sofa, an Eames Anniversary coffee table, a 1950s mirrored trolley and a vintage boucherouite rug.
“Working towards such a minimalist setting, one must be careful in balancing a feeling of warmth and comfort,” according to Ash NYC, who designed this West Village townhouse. “The furniture has simple lines and a limited palette allowing the space to feel clean. However, the varied textures and rich patina in the leather and wood ward off any notion of sterility. The lack of a rug is also a Scandinavian tradition.” This living room features a WC1 cocktail table by Ash and, on the left, a pair of Pierre Chapo S34 chairs and a Børge Mogensen Spanish chair on the right.
“The idea was to infuse European Modernism with California craft tradition, and try to transform strict minimalist design into something more casual and informal,” Michael Boyd says of Shed House, a Malibu residence he designed with Laurel Broughton. The living room includes a pair of Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller white shearling Compact sofas and a George Nakashima for Knoll coffee table. Boyd designed the teak-and-gray-shearling Paddle chair.
A dramatic wingback chair by Frits Henningsen adds a moody touch to this Michael Dawkins-designed study in New York. Photo by Craig Dennis
In Sweden, architecture firm Oscar Properties converted classrooms in a former building of the Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology into 70 private residences.
In Sweden, the dining room of Laserow Antiques dealer Karin Laser reflects an antique but streamlined aesthetic. The candelabras are Empire period and the elegant chandelier dates to the Gustavian period.
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“The key elements of Scandinavian design are my guiding design principles for all projects I work on – natural and functional as well as simple and sophisticated,” says Neal Beckstedt, who employed these principles in this Upper East Side living room. The space features a Milo Baughman sofa, an Egg chair by Arne Jacobson, a Stilnovo floor lamp, a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair and a Florence Knoll coffee table.
Another room from the Studioilse-designed Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.
A collection of vintage tennis rackets serve as wall art in this Santa Barbara bedroom by Brown Design Group, whose limited palette and wood elements create a relaxed vibe.
In the Lund, Sweden home of Pelle Ekelin, a 20th-century furniture dealer, a yellow Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner sits alongside a teak-and-leather Finn Juhl recliner and a rare Kaare Klint painting.
Architecture and design firm Fantastic Norway furnished this minimalist beach house with a Yngve Ekström Lamino armchair and a 1930s Bauhaus scissor-style office lamp.
In designing the kitchen of this family castle in Sweden, Sigmar brought together several generations’ worth of furnishings: a traditional grandfather clock, mid-century Hans Wegner dining set and contemporary lighting and storage.
Architect and interior designer Deborah Berke‘s light-filled aerie at the new 432 Park Avenue building in New York features Paimio armchairs by Alvar Aalto. Photo © DBOX for CIM Group & Macklowe Properties
Nestled against a fjord in western Norway, the Gundersen Mountain House by Widjedal Racki Bergerhoff Architects was designed with glass walls and an open plan in order to take advantage of the coastal vistas.
Elegant, clean-lined Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs ring a dramatic marble dining table in this interior by Patricia Urquiola. Photo © Alessandro Paderni
A former curator of the National Museum in Stockholm, Lars Sjöberg was an early champion of the restoration and preservation of 18th-century Swedish homes and antiques. The Gustavian interior above is from Sjöberg’s own home.
Studioilse designed this study, part of an installation in the loft of Herzog & de Meuron’s VitraHaus in Germany, which features Alvar Aalto pendant lights and cork walls.
“The client wanted her kitchen to feel relaxed, casual and warm, so Scandinavian accents were the perfect fit,” says Alyssa Kapito of this Los Angeles home. “We loved the way the Hans Wegner chairs blended beautifully into the rift oak floors and worked with a more modern dinette table.” The dining table is by Arper and the banquette fabric is from Holland & Sherry.
High ceilings and herringbone floors make for elegant counterpoints to a host of mid-century modern furnishings.
At The Apartment, Tina Seidenfaden Busck’s showroom in Copenhagen, she paired a Hans Wegner PP129 armchair with a McCollin Bryan table and a Moroccan rug.
A chaise lounge by Swedish designer Bruno Mathsson provides an understated yet unexpected touch in Fong’s living room. Photo by Mary Nichols
“This is one of the early production Egg chairs by Arne Jacobsen,” says Tatum Kendrick of Studio Hus, who designed this Greenwich Village penthouse. “I selected it for its beautiful, well-worn patina. We purchased a new production foot stool and covered it in shearling wool to add texture and warmth. I designed a large basalt stone mantel and had the full two-story volume covered in black venetian plaster. This created a contrasting feature that connected the spaces in the house and also helped to conceal the flat-screen TV.”
With their lithe profile, Poul Kjærholm’s wicker PK22 chairs offset the vivid, patterned textiles in the media room Richard Mishaan designed for his family’s home in Cartagena, Colombia. Photo courtesy of The Monacelli Press
“The Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs were a key part of the design of the dining room, as we mixed new editions of the chair (in white) with vintage editions of the chair (in wood),” Robert Highsmith of Workstead says of this Brooklyn apartment. The space also includes an Industrial chandelier by Workstead and a vintage mid-century hairpin table.
In this converted Manhattan loft designed by architect and interior designer Lee F. Mindel, Poul Kjærholm‘s marble coffee table echoes the right angles that dominate the room’s layout. Photo © Michael Moran/OTTO
This Danish library by Barbara Bendix Becker boasts an all-star lineup of Scandinavian design pieces, including a Hans Wegner China chair, a Poul Kjærholm PK-31/3 sofa, a Serge Mouille floor lamp and an Artichoke Lamp by Poul Henningsen.
“The architecture and light in this home lent itself perfectly to the clean lines and use of natural materials, which are hallmarks of Scandinavian design,” Catherine Kwong says of this loft in San Francisco. Starting with a palette of grays, muted blues and taupes, set against white walls, we layered in pieces that exemplify the rich heritage and simple elegance of Nordic design, including a rolled-arm sofa, upholstered in Belgian linen, an 800-pound custom steel firewood holder, a pair of leather sling chairs and a Gustavian-inspired fireplace.”
In this Southampton, New York, living room by Timothy Whelan, a pair of Poul Kjaerholm PK-22 chairs sit opposite a sectional sofa.
In this charming farmhouse in Gilleleje, Denmark, designers Klaus Bischoff and Erik Nielsen paired an old-fashioned heater with sleek pieces by Philippe Starck.
In this 18th-century lakeside farm house in Sweden, Sigmar created a cozy nook with a cushioned wooden bench that echoed the angles of the fireplace.
For the traditional kitchen of a centuries-old Swedish castle, London interior design firm Sigmar mixed antique, heirloom and modern pieces.
“This project was the marriage of a minimalist architecture within the warmth of a home for both grown-up entertaining and family life,” Tom Bartlett of Waldo Studio says of designing this five-story London townhouse. “The couple were clear from the start of the project that they wanted to invest in quality pieces by good modern designers as well as contemporary art. They had an understanding of the intrinsic value in these pieces, and they were also following their passion.” The space features a Cité armchair by Jean Prouvé and a Driade chair in burgundy red velvet, along with Serge Mouille floor lamp and a Willy Rizzo coffee table.
The Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm, Sweden was designed by London-based talent Ilse Crawford and her firm, Studioilse. Crawford updated the property — a 1910 Arts and Craft building — with a mixture of vintage and modern furnishings.
An Arne Jacobsen Egg chair adds a cool, modern note to the living room of a Manhattan penthouse designed by Neal Beckstedt. Photo by Marili Forastieri