Light and Color in Nordic Homes
Why do we think of Nordic homes as light? Scandinavian homes traditionally have been designed to maximize sunlight. Stockholm is the Nordic region’s sunniest capital, with about 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, and that figure is at least 1,000 hours short of the amount enjoyed in Madrid, Sydney and Miami.
“The foundation of Scandinavian design, and our Nordic homes, will always be brightness and simplicity, because it’s simply what we need due to the lack of sunlight,” says Karl Johan Bertilsson, creative director at NCS Colour Academy, which offers color consultancy services to manufacturers, architects and designers around the world.
“What we’re seeing now, however, is a change,” Bertilsson says. “During the last two or three years, bold colors have returned.” Though a common perception is that Scandinavian homes have been whitewashed and pared back for decades, if not centuries, there have been cycles of colors in the Nordic countries. The 1970s had a touch of psychedelia with bright colors and vivid patterns, followed by pastels in the 1980s and mottled earth tones in the 1990s — all of which preceded the pure. But now the spectrum is changing again. At Nordic trend exhibitions and fairs, interior design has moved away from the pale blues and violets of the past toward clearer, stronger colors — most recently, orange, pink, yellow and red.
“Trends often represent a reaction to what used to be,” Bertilsson says. “The fashion industry is always the quickest to react, but the interior decoration and design industry isn’t far behind. Since the turn of the millennium and until now, neutral colors, such as white and gray, have been the dominant shades in most Scandinavian homes. The [brighter] color that’s now becoming increasingly popular is simply a response to that.
“However, it’s important to remember that trends are both speculative phenomena and processes that sometimes overlap, and they’re only able to gain ground when we’re mentally ready to accept them,” Bertilsson says. paleness of the new millennium.