May 21, 2010 11:37 pm

Simply Scandinavian

Simply Scandinavian, Edited by Sara Norrman, Ryland, Peters & Small, £19.99, FT Bookshop price: £15.99

Contemporary Scandinavian style works on all levels: it is affordable, practical and aesthetically attractive. And since Scandinavia’s “good design for all” credo emerged from a post-war era that championed social democracy, it seems appropriate that its clean-cut look is easily emulated, as this 160-page hardback reveals.

Four chapters invite readers into 20 properties, including a Norwegian island home, a Copenhagen apartment, a Finnish architect’s forest house, a converted distillery on a Swedish farm, a seaside house in Denmark, a cabin on Sweden’s Atlantic coast and the stilted home of Finnish chef Aki Wahlman. Accessible text describes each property’s evolution, interior decor and key pieces while an abundance of colour photographs offers inspiration for readers’ own homes. Two pages of sources suggest where to find furniture and accessories to create a similar look.

Touring these homes steeps readers in the unifying strands of Scandinavian style: pale, muted paints; colourful textiles; the prevalence of wood and stone; and a mix of understated, well-designed furniture and traditional crafts. The area’s natural beauty is a huge inspiration for these design-savvy homeowners. The rest of us at least have this uplifting book.

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