15+ Scandinavian Tricks That Can Help Make Your Life More Comfortable
Scandinavian style is gaining more and more fans, including people who live outside of the northwestern part of Europe. It’s more than just simple interiors — it is a way of thinking that spreads not only to your apartment, but also to your clothing style and to the attitude you have toward life in general. It’s no accident that Denmark and Norway are at the top of the list of the happiest countries, second only to Finland. So if anyone understands happiness, then it’s definitely the Scandinavians.
We at Bright Side have read a lot about the Scandinavian lifestyle and have chosen some simple tricks that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Interior: minimalism and functionality
The basic principles of a Scandinavian-style interior are simplicity and convenience. Niki Brantmark, the author of the blog My Scandinavian Home, advises mixing vintage and modern interior items and giving preference to natural materials.
The Scandinavian style is about quality, not quantity. Residents of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden don’t try to own too many things — it’s better to have just one armchair in a room instead of 2 or 3, if it’s comfortable, solid, and will last for many years.
Don’t try to fill free space with trinkets. Every detail in the room should be useful. For example, there may be a compartment for storing books in an ottoman, and the floor lamp may have a basket for umbrellas. It might seem that without a bunch of little things the room will look empty and gloomy, but this isn’t true. The Scandinavians usually use green plants and soft blankets as decorations, and they might put one or 2 bright pillows on the sofa to create a color accent.
One room is often used for several purposes, for example, a living room may be a dining room at the same time, so the Scandinavians like to zone space with the help of light. To visually zone the room, you can use several different layers of soft light sources like ceiling lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, and, finally, small table lamps or even candles.
Another important point is to not forget about natural light. The Swedes love when as much daylight as possible penetrates the room, so there are either no curtains on the windows, or they are made of transparent fabric. Blackout curtains are only appropriate for the bedroom. Thanks to this approach, the apartment looks spacious and bright in the afternoon, and thanks to the warm artificial lighting, it’ll be cozy in the evening.
Wardrobe: The important thing is practicality.
The Scandinavian minimalism in clothes is based on the same principles as the interior of the house — which are simplicity, convenience, and practicality. Looking at the clothing collections created by Swedish designers, you immediately pay attention to the laconic cut, the lack of asymmetry, and the small number of decorative elements.
The wardrobe of every resident of Norway or Denmark will certainly contain basic clothes like a simple T-shirt, a classic shirt, a leather jacket, and, of course, a coat. Coats can be worn in the summer, but they should be thin and light. The Scandinavians choose things in classic or muted natural colors.
All elements of a Scandinavian wardrobe can be easily combined with each other, and it’s possible to create several different looks with just one item of clothing. For example, a simple dress that can be worn both separately and as an elongated tunic, combined with tight trousers or jeans. And a Danish or a Swedish woman will rarely buy beautiful, but uncomfortable, shoes because comfort is valued higher than fashion.
Most of the year, it’s cold in the Scandinavian countries, so the wardrobe will imply layering. Several layers of clothing retain heat better than one, and you can easily wear a T-shirt, a thin shirt, a knitted sweater, and a coat on top for winter walks. In order not to look like you’ve put on all your clothes at once, just take a look at how harmoniously the Scandinavians do it.
Cleaning: Don’t be afraid to throw away unnecessary things.
Margareta Magnusson’s book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, is very popular in Sweden. Her concept suggests thinking about what you’re going to leave behind: a house full of unnecessary things, or space where every detail is filled with meaning and memories? Margareta’s guide is suitable for everyone who wants to free their home from unnecessary stuff. This type of cleaning is not just about dusting and arranging things in their places, but it’s about rethinking your way of life.
It’s recommended to start this cleaning with your wardrobe, because parting with clothes will be easier than with some kind of trinket, and you’ll probably find clothes you no longer wear on the shelves. Magnusson advises sorting all your clothes into 2 piles — in the first pile, put clothes that you wear regularly, and get rid of everything else.
Things that are dear to your heart, like children’s drawings, memorabilia, and other trifles you can’t imagine throwing away, should be stored in one place. You can purchase a special box for them. After you complete what is probably the biggest cleanup of your life, Margareta Magnusson advises rewarding yourself. But not with buying new things instead of the old ones — it’d be better to go to the cinema to watch a good movie or to arrange a small gathering of friends for dinner.
In general, the Swedes try to adhere to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle and recycle everything they can. Think about it when you declutter your apartment. For example, things in good condition can be donated to charity, and the rest can go to recycling.
Natural materials and healthy food
The Scandinavians really appreciate all that is natural, and this applies not only to the interior of their house, but also to their wardrobe and food. A Scandinavian family has wooden floors in their house, an oak table made from a whole board in the dining room, linen, woolen, and leather items prevail in their wardrobe, and they’d rather serve baked fish and vegetables for dinner than order a pizza. The popular notion of hygge, or Danish happiness, is definitely not about ordering ready-made food, but about something homemade, cooked with your own hands.
In everyday life, we use many synthetic things, for example, faux leather instead of genuine leather, plastic cutting boards instead of wooden ones, and ceramic knives instead of high-grade steel. It won’t be easy to radically change your way of life, but if you really want to, you can start small, for example, gradually change cheap kitchenware to high-quality kitchenware that will last longer.
Lifestyle: Enjoy the simple things.
In Scandinavia, there are several concepts, and each of them refers to a certain type of lifestyle. You’ve probably heard about lagom or hygge, and the Danes came up with a philosophy of life called, “lykke.” There is a difference between all fo these, but at the same time, they have a lot in common. In any of these concepts, you’ll find the same message — you need to be able to enjoy the simple things. An evening with loved ones, a couple of hours alone with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate after a walk in the cold winter, or the smell of freshness after the rain — you just need to find something that brings you joy.
To get closer to the Scandinavian lifestyle, surround yourself with comfort, wherever you are. Any place where you spend a lot of time, like your desk or your office, should be a place where you can pleasantly spend time. Bring plants in there, print and frame beautiful photographs, and clean the workspace.
And here is what the Scandinavians themselves think about their lifestyle:
- Hygge is what you feel when you have a good time with your family, friends, partner, or simply by yourself. This is not really a thing or a certain activity. It’s just a feeling of when you relax on your sofa, read a book, or simply sit by the fire. © Thomas Hansen / Quora
- “Lagom” means “enough.” This is a weird word, and the Swedes often use it when they talk about the right and moderate amount of something. A person can say that they have lagom coffee to drink, or that they’ve eaten lagom cookies. But it wouldn’t mean that you’re full, because lagom is about moderation in everything. © Leo Ryberg / Quora
- Balance is the most important thing. The Scandinavians don’t like living in excess. They dislike extreme wealth or extreme poverty. They want things just right: not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. © Erik Engheim / Quora
It cannot be defined, only felt. This is just a Danish ritual — we enjoy simple life pleasures like our friends, family, all the good and pleasant feelings, warm light in a house... © Arnis Prokopovics / Quora
Does Scandinavian moderation feel relatable to you, or do you prefer a different lifestyle?