Scandinavian design typically radiates beauty through the use of light colours, ample amounts of wood, minimalism and functionality.

These characteristics are rooted in the history of the Nordic countries. Whereas most of Europe emulated the wealth and opulence of the nobility, northern Europe focused on accessible materials and subtle, functional forms. Practicality became the byword of Scandinavian design and a major influence on modern furniture and product design.

For centuries, Scandinavian life revolved around the home: through the long, cold winters, the home became a comfortable, cosy refuge. Underpinned by the Protestant values of rationality and humanity, design evolved three guiding principles which continue to this day:

  • good design for everyone
  • beauty and functionality
  • optimal use of available resources

Scandinavian product design

Louis Poulsen Classic pendant   Arne Jacobsen Egg chair   Alvar Aalto Silla vase

Products and interiors are kept simple and often stylise their natural environment. Yet despite their symmetry and clarity, Scandinavian design radiates warmth and a homely cosiness, which the Danes call hygge.

Use of colour

Neutral shades: the mere mention of Scandinavian design conjures up calm, muted tones - vaporous blues, soft greys, milky whites and creams.

Neutral shades in Scandinavian design



…along with some brights: against a neutral canvas, colour is splashed liberally, introducing a fun dimension.

Colour in Scandinavian design

  Louis Poulsen lighting              Image:      Marimekko print


White (or light) wood: as well as creating an airy feel, white-painted and light woods act as a backdrop for architectural details and furnishings.

Wood in Scandinavian design


Let the light shine in: given the harsh Nordic climate with its long, dark winters, natural light has become revered. In the summer months, large windows allow natural light to stream in.

Natural light in Scandinavian design



Bring nature inside: nature and its materials - wood, leather, metal, linen, wool and furs - are the mother of Scandinavian design inspiration. Brought indoors, these translate into a palette of calm, muted tones.

Nature in Scandinavian design



Layered textures: comfort is important in cold climates and these natural materials create visual warmth and luxury.

Layered texture in Scandinavian design



Such was the inspiration behind our Scandinavia collection. Like all our ranges, these deliciously soft shot cottons are 54" wide and available as cut lengths or pre-cut packs.

Oakshott Scandinavia

Use them together or combine them as a contrast or complement to other colours - the choice is yours. Check out our Projects and don't miss our Free Patterns booklet - a great source of inspiration!