Scandinavian Design – sofas and couches

Through the last 10 years, Scandinavia has been promoted as an epicenter for new trends. Some of these trends are rooted in competences, that have evolved for decades in an auspicious environment.

Especially the trend of Scandinavian Design is a result of such an evolution. After WWII the environment of furniture design in Scandinavia, was highly influenced by the democracies that were characteristic for the Scandinavian countries.

The sofa above is found at this Danish interior store and is designed by Ferm Living.

The expression’s distinctive was a will and focus to combine beauty and functionality. When the history of design is examined; a clear pattern of rich people has had a monopoly on beauty emerge.

The Scandinavian design paradigm has challenged this pattern and is therefore often called democratic design. In aesthetic terms, it has resulted in a minimalistic design paradigm with straight lines and focus on functionality and ergonomics.

The Breakthrough

When pinpointing the drivers for Scandinavian Design’s breakthrough, it is necessary to mention the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 as an important event. At the Stockholm Exhibition, functionalism had it breakthrough as concept designers and manufacturers would use as a guideline in their work.

Functionalism as a design concept is always taking the context into account. The basic idea is that a designer can put as many functions and features into a product, but if it isn’t useful in the user’s situation the designer has misunderstood the context.

Photo credits:

Another historical important factors for Scandinavian Design was mass production, which kept the production cost on minimum and gave the companies economic of scale.

At the same time, there was also a proactive movement in Scandinavia to promote Scandinavian Design.

The Lunning prize was a proactive initiative, which is named after the owner Frederik Lunning of Georg Jensen.

Every year from 1951 – 1970 to Scandinavian designers were awarded the Lunning Prize. The Lunning prize was a big player in establishing the concept and profile of Scandinavian Design.

The phrase “Scandinavian Design” was coined through a large exhibit tour called “Design in Scandinavia” in America and Canada from 1954 – 1957.

How to furnish with Scandinavian Design today

With the emphasis upon functionality that is embedded in Scandinavian Design, it is important to be aware of what atmosphere you want in a room and what functions that is suitable for that atmosphere.

The living room is a good example of a room that is hard to furnish because it has multiple purposes. Some use the living room as the families cave other use it as room for guests. In Denmark, it was in many years normal to have two living rooms, where one of them was decorated for everyday use and the other for guests.

The family cave as a I call the cosy, relaxing and time-consuming living room can bear a couch that is really big and can contain the entire family, because it’s not a problem that family members touch each other and sees each other, when they are in the midst of a not so charming and comfortable moment of relaxation.

Image credits: Holmris.

The above picture is an example of a couch in Scandinavian Design, that could be used in the family cave. It has the straight lines, but the designer has chosen to shape the couch with a broad and deep seat, which makes it more to a comfy couch than a sit-up-straight couch.

Check out this Murphy bed couch as well.

The couch below, on the other hand, doesn’t have the thick pillows that make you want to lay down or sit in weird positions. At the same time, the seat is narrower and it’s possible to sit with the knees in a 90-degree angle. This makes this couch more suitable for guest, where the purpose isn’t relaxation, but a cultivated conversation over a great cup of coffee.


Sofa from Holmris – Denmark.

The living room is one of the hardest rooms to decorate because it’s important to the entire family and the couch is maybe the hardest furniture to choose because it can afford the loving touches in a family and the good moments in a way no other furniture is able to.