I am obsessed with all things Scandinavian. It’s uncanny, but Italians loves Scandinavian design too, so I feel like an unofficial local… okay, so I’m sugar coating it. Italians are obsessed with Ikea. It’s a family pastime where even grandma gets into the action elbowing you out the way for that LACK lamp.
I have never been to a Scandinavian country. I usually get into arguments with Giulio (my husband) about which countries constitute Scandinavia and which don’t, but I love their design aesthetic and am very slowly incorporating it into everything I add to my home.
It began with my entrance way. Before we renovated, our apartment one massive corridor that ran from one end to the other. Then we stuck a second bathroom in the middle, effectively cutting the corridor in half. The remaining section became a super skinny entrance.
I would have been perfectly happy to leave the space empty, but there was nowhere for us to put our shoes, bags or jackets. We were just dumping them on our white couch, which was a recipe for disaster. So I shopped around on the internet for ideas, but nothing caught my attention. Until I saw this on a Finnish website and fell in love.
I must mention I have a reputation for being a little insane in my small country town, so I don’t always share my design ideas. I simply mentioned to my father-in-law that I needed a really long branch. We headed to our nearest woods and cut this from an oak one October afternoon. I bought plaster hooks for the ceiling, wrapped some hessian string around the branch and strung it up in about 10 minutes. And I love the result. It’s rustic, minimalist and perfectly captures the Tuscan landscape we live in. I added a €30 bench from my local hardware store and a €20 basket from Ikea for our shoes. I particularly like the bench because it reminds me all the summer sagre (food festivals) I go to in the area.
The mirror was an Ikea hack dressed up with some bronze spray paint and I added a few hooks for my shopping list, bag and sun hat. I change this “accessories section” to reflect the season. All in all, the entire project cost less than €50 and is probably the most beloved feature in my house.
You’re wondering at this point how any of this has to do with Tuscany or even Italy? Scandinavian design is minimalistic, so you get a lot of white and shiny sleek surfaces, which is utterly un-Tuscany, but it’s also earthy and natural and obsessed with raw and rustic materials, which is totally Tuscan. I’m definitely drawn to the natural side of Scandinavian design and I think it gels beautifully with the Tuscan countryside.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can add a little touch of Scandinavia to your country Italian home.
no.1: BLACK AND WHITE: capture the minimalist Scandinavian spirit through your textiles. Rugs, cushions and throws are a great way to bring a modern touch to your home without having to invest too much. The best part about this pattern is it suits whatever style you already have. I picked this rug up from Italian Ikea for €59.
no.2: COPPER TONES: I am in love with copper. I used it to accent everything in my home from candle holders to the cupboards on my sideboard and my lamp. This piece is by Room 21 and is only available in Scandinavian countries, but you can achieve the same look with copper candelabras or do as I do when I can’t find it in copper – buy a handy bottle of copper spray-paint and paint away.
no.3: MARVELOUS MARBLE: Some people think marble is cold and uninviting. I find it’s the complete opposite and it’s a style feature that runs through both Italian and Scandinavian design – think Carrara. I have a marble counter top in my kitchen and just picked up a slab to make my own desk (project to come), but you don’t have to go to such extremes to get this look. This marble bowl is also by Scandinavian company Room 21, but Zara Home has its own range of marble frames and vases. They key is to pair your marble piece with something warm like copper or aged wood.
no.4: A STATEMENT CHAIR: This chair by Ellos Home is completely out of my budget range at €1,699, but it’s a look you can easily mimic with a piece from Ikea or even Maison du Monde. The cut-out design makes it a fresh and very Scandinavian alternative to the leather armchair most people shove in their bedroom (you know, to pile with dirty clothes and towels) and would look amazing with a slate-coloured throw and black and white cushion!
no.5: COUNTRY FARM-STYLE TABLE: There is one piece that me and my husband love above all others in our home. It’s our recycled timber table. It’s a behemoth very much like this one by Ellos Home, but we picked up it from Agora in Viterbo. It used to be an old door and is perfect for any kitchen/diner. You can keep with the Scandinavian look and style it with minimalist wood and steel chairs or add some warmth with brown suede armchairs like I did.[pinterest]