Make no mistake, the Scandinavians have designs on us – whether they’re keeping us glued to the TV with dark Danish crime series The Killing or winning us over to their stylish home furnishings.
And what’s not to like about furniture that has timeless good looks and colour schemes and settings that seem to make the most of every inch of space and every ray of light?
That’s the essence of cool, calm, sleek Scandi-style. Those appealing qualities probably explain why we don’t seem to be able to get enough of it.
“Scandinavians don’t like showing off, so their style is understated and more about relaxing and enjoying your home than making it a showpiece,” says Anne Tiainen-Harris, founder of Cloudberry Living, which specialises in interior pieces and accessories by Scandinavian designers.
While connoisseurs may yearn for pieces by iconic designers such as Denmark’s Arne Jacobsen, whose Butterfly chair was famously straddled in the Sixties by a naked Christine Keeler, or fellow countrymen including Henrik Pedersen and Verner Panton, most of us probably get our Scandi-fix at affordable Swedish homestore Ikea.
Its popularity was highlighted by recent Mintel research which found that we buy almost ten per cent of our furniture from its 18 UK stores, even though some may be tempted to commit a crime against the authors of its flatpack instructions.
Whether you’re already a Scandi convert, or keen to make the switch, check out this guide to sourcing the style.
Dark settings add to the atmosphere of BBC Four’s The Killing, but in reality Danish interiors are about uncluttered spaces, white painted walls and richly grained wooden floors.
“If white’s too cold and stark for your taste, opt instead for a soft colour palette of pale greys and blues which are on trend this year,” advises Gail Abbott, author of Living With Light, a guide to decorating the Scandinavian way.
“Include an accent colour – blue or red is characteristic of the style – which can instantly give a lift to a white room.”
Inject colour with retro style. Verner Panton’s sleek S chair, £189, comes in various colours including red (pictured left).
Fans of the brooding BBC One series Wallander, featuring Swedish detective Kurt Wallander (Kenneth Branagh), have plenty of sources to plunder to replicate his style.
Ikea, pivotal in shaping the British perception of Swedish design, has won us over to pale, blonde furniture and slim sofas, not to mention helped us cheaply clear up our clutter with its best-selling storage solution, the Billy bookcase, which starts from £19.
But there are a wealth of other covetable ranges offered by other companies, which don’t require a screwdriver.
“Scandinavian modern design, as a style, first emerged between the first and second world wars and peaked in popularity in the Fifties,” says Rich Harris, who celebrates both Swedish and Danish style at his web-based company Chairs and Skyscrapers.
“After a lull, it’s now ultra-chic again as the look fits so well with modern living.”
There are plenty of ways to flirt with Scandi-style without spending a fortune, either by replicating the pared-back style of rooms or simply reflecting its design in accessories.
“Symmetry is key to achieving the ordered, calm atmosphere that’s so characteristic of Scandinavian rooms,” advises Gail Abbott.
“It’s an easy technique to emulate. A couple of painted wooden chairs might be arranged either side of a bureau, and decorative accessories like candlesticks are always displayed in pairs.”
Check out Nordic House’s glorious array of Scandinavian products, including a set of six candles (pictured above), which look just like hen’s eggs complete with a yellow yolk interior, from £7.95.