Styling Your Dining Room: Scandinavian Style
I've always been a huge fan of Scandinavian design. It first emerged in the 1950's and is characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality. It focuses on the idea that beautiful design should not only be a pleasure just for the wealthy, but should be available to all. It encompasses five core Scandinavian countries - Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Norway.
Aside from the beauty of design, one thing that the Scandinavians have brought into the UK in recent years is the concept of 'hygge' (pronounced 'hu ga'). You'd have heard this word bandied about often within the context of interiors and it's meaning is this: A feeling of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). One of the reasons that it resonates so well in this country is the fact our seasonal weather is fairly similar to Scandinavia and so the concept appeals to us all.
Scandinavian design veers towards simplicity and lightness. As a country, they have dark winters and light summers and therefore the idea of keeping your interiors pale, yet using accessories for warmth, is the key to this idea. Warm countries do the opposite and tend to veer towards darker colours such as terracottas and ochre which keep their interiors cool whilst the outside is hot. Again, this is another reason why the Scandinavian way of living is so popular here in the UK due to seasonal similarities.
The first JYSK (pronounced 'yoosk') store was opened by Danish founder Lars Larsson in 1979. The brand was originally called JYSK Sengetøjslager (the name changed in 1981) and the first store was opened in Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus. By 1984, the company was growing fast and had spread to Germany for the first store opening beyond the borders. Lars Larsson had never expected such phenomenal growth when he first hit upon the idea of opening a store that prides itself on providing 'everything that is needed for the home'. The brand now have over 2,500 stores across the world in 49 countries.
I've always loved the store and when JYSK asked me if I would style one of their fabulous dining tables, I jumped at the chance. Christmas is one of the few times of year when my family congregate around the table en masse so it's something we all look forward to. So how do you style your dining room Scandinavian style? Here's what I did to create a Christmas breakfast table with a difference.
Kept It Simple
Scandinavian design is very sleek, simple and completely unfussy. I went for a trestle style table called GADESKOV which had a slatted wooden top and black trestle legs. I particularly liked this design as I felt the simplicity meant it was adaptable to any room in my home, whether it be the dining room or the kitchen or even as a desk. Furniture that works hard for you is always the aim. The chairs were KASTRUP with padded black seats and oak legs, really solid and again, very practical.
My dining room already had picture ledges on the walls which went perfectly with the table. Picture ledges are perfect for a Scandinavian look as you can mix and match your artwork and keep the neutral look going through your accessories.
Textured The Space
For me, a dining space isn't complete without a rug under the table. Dining spaces can look quite barren and a rug really brings the textural element into the space, making the table a focal point rather than just a piece of furniture. I chose the TRETORN rug in pale grey and cream which was 160 x 230 and perfect for the area. It's neutral colours went perfectly with the wooden floor and furniture and it's low pile meant that it would be easy to keep clean. Again, it's a very versatile pattern that's very transferable within your home.
Added Neutral Tableware
I wanted a simple, unobtrusive theme for a Scandinavian look so the KRISTOFFER etched pale green china bowls were perfect. I used two either end of the table to create a symmetrical effect. The SVARTAKS black bamboo placemats were both hardwearing and stylish and balanced out the black trestle of the GADESKOV table. The LAUKE bowls were all slightly different which gave the table setting an individual look. These small bowls are ideal tableware and would also be perfect for your Christmas nuts, chocolates and nibbles. I added a marble platter for pastries which teamed beautifully with the marble candlesticks. I used my own vintage glasses for some Christmas morning Bucks Fizz.
Created A Festive Look
If you don't have space for a natural Scandinavian fir, then a white light up twig tree is the next best option. It's soft warm white lights were perfect to add atmosphere to the dining room. I added some VILHELM candlesticks in marble and gold - both key trends - and teamed them with KARLPETER taper candles which created the perfect ambience. A smoked grey VISTI vase completed the look with EJNER faux eucalyptus. I filled the KRISTOFFER bowls with fir cones for a festive feel. Pale pink honeycomb balls added some subtle colour to the table and a light up marquee star gave the whole look a contemporary feel.
So that's my take on styling your table Scandinavian style. The beauty of Scandinavian styling is in the pure simplicity of well made, well priced, functional and attractive products and JYSK are proud purveyors of this idea.
The Danish word JYSK means anything or anybody from the Jutland Peninsula (including the founder, Lars Larsson) and is associated with modesty, thoroughness and honesty. The JYSK brand stands for trustworthiness and promotes the standard that a deal is always a deal. JYSK have also been awarded the accolade of being able to use 'By Appointment To The Danish Court', a title that is only given to reputable, long serving and economically sound and well established companies.
So what to do next? Light the candles and enjoy a Scandinavian Christmas dining experience!