Scandinavian interiors have set the standard for interior design, and there’s a reason: The look is modern, simple, functional, and achievable.
“With today’s busy lifestyle, most people are looking to create a calming retreat in their home but don’t want to compromise on design,” says James Tabb, interior designer at Laurel & Wolf. “Scandinavian furniture has historically been light and airy, offering clean lines with a focus on ergonomics. This, combined with light wood tones and a neutral color palette, help to create a space that is high-style as well as extraordinarily comfortable.”
Shaokao and Niki Cheng, owners of BoConcept New York, a high-end retailer of sleek, modern, Danish-designed furniture, echo Tabb’s sentiment. “Scandinavian furniture is designed with style in mind, but also for a purpose, keeping in mind the function of the object,” they say. “It’s about elegant minimalism, un-messy design, pared down with reasonable curves that emphasize quality workmanship.” Who wouldn’t want that?
If you’re a fan of the look, don’t limit yourself to IKEA. Below are five leading Scandinavian brands you should check out ASAP—then, click through the gallery for what to shop from each (plus, styling inspiration).
Anchored by two of Denmark’s preeminent, award-winning architects, brothers Mogens and Flemming Lassen, by Lassen’s mission is to continue the brothers’ legacy of good design, which started in 1962 with the Kubus candleholder. The line has expanded to include furniture in addition to home accessories, and you’ll find a range of sleek Scandinavian pieces, all worth coveting.
ferm LIVING gives its traditional Scandinavian designs a distinctive graphic edge “that makes every item firmly contemporary.” Founded by graphic designer Trine Andersen in 2005, the line now includes high-end interior products, from wallpaper and textiles to furniture.
“Muuto” means “new perspective” in Finnish, and the brand’s ambition is to “deliver a new perspective on Scandinavian design.” Using fresh materials and cutting-edge techniques, leading contemporary designers create unique and playful yet functional pieces that make a statement in any space.
Founded in 1976, Menu describes its aesthetic as “soft minimalism meets Scandinavian heritage.” Inspired by late Modernists, its architectural chairs, shelves, tables, sofas, kitchen equipment, and décor accents are simple yet high-style. A splurge to be sure, but they’re investment pieces you’ll own forever.
Established in Copenhagen in 1967, Gubi was founded by Gubi and Lisbeth Olsen, who opened a concept store and sold their own furniture designs and textiles to the retail sector, in addition to apparel including Prada and Helmut Lang. Since then, Gubi has turned its focus back to home design, creating modern furniture, accents, and (especially iconic) lighting.
Originally published August 2016. Updated August 2017.