Art and Design, Christina Sunario
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For the Love of Scandinavian Design

by Christina Sunario

A few years ago, after I got married and moved to Australia, my husband and I had to move into a small studio apartment. What we needed furniture- wise had to be both compact and multifunctional. A dining table had to act as my craft table as well as my husband’s workshop space, a stool had to work as our bed side table as well as a chair. It didn’t take long to figure out that the clarity of Scandinavian furniture really suited our needs, and for a bunch of reasons:

1. The beauty of Scandinavian design is in its simplicity which makes it timeless. Warm touches are gained from the use of distinct materials: timber, leather, wool, fur and many others.

2. Colours and patterns are used as accents. Bold or pastel colours, geometric or flowery patterns can be used to add character without undermining the fresh tonal backdrop. You will find that these accents of colours and patterns are most commonly used on furnishings such as cushions, curtains and signature art work. The great benefit of this is that when you feel like it, you can change your colour scheme simply by changing your cushions, without having to purchase new furniture.

3. As I mentioned earlier, one thing I love about Scandinavian furniture is the way it is multifunctional. For example I recently bought a set of side tables that come in different sizes. I have been moving these tables around the house, using them not only as a side table in our living room but also as a bed side table and even as a coffee table.

4. This style of home design fits in easily with pieces that are vastly different in character. A few months ago, my husband and I moved into a bigger place and started to buy more furniture to fill in our unit (always my favourite part of moving into a new place!). I came across a very cool vintage sewing machine cabinet from a garage sale in our neighbourhood and, low and behold, it fits perfectly in the living room next to our Scandinavian style TV bench.

Here are a few sketches of pieces typical of Scandinavian design:

OC5MF_bc2HO4zCoUV32rSZ1p7sWocDToI--auPq3WvESimple and elegant pendant lights, a cushion cover that matches the couch with coloured buttons as the feature, a stool where the legs are painted in different colours.


Either a table, side unit or chair with legs, take your pick!


From when I was little, the IKEA catalogue was my favourite magazine, especially the kid’s bedroom section. I always asked my dad if I could have the compact kid’s bunk bed with a study nook underneath it. I obviously didn’t have a clear picture about what Scandinavian design was, but when I came across that image of my dream bed all I saw was: a bedroom within a bed. Perfect.

Most of us know IKEA, but if you’re looking for Scandinavian furniture or home wares in Australia, here are a few stores worth checking out:

The Great Dane


Nordic Fusion

Yellow Bungalow

Design Stuff

Design House Stockholm

Curious Grace


Scandinavian style is also often featured on:

Hard to find

Temple and Webster


Flip through interior magazines and pop into Scandinavian furniture stores around your neighbourhood, be inspired!


Photos by Christina Sunario

If you enjoy reading about the functional use of small spaces, have a look at what New York- based writer Erin Boyle has done about living in tiny apartments her entire NYC life. From living in a 22 square metre studio apartment, to now living in a one bedroom apartment (with a baby), Erin runs a beautiful and quirky series on her blog entitled, “Life in a Tiny Apartment.”

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