It’s been a little over a year since I first moved to Copenhagen, and I have lived first-hand the Danish design experience.
I’ve been to quite a few Danish houses, shops, cafes, restaurants and I can confirm that Danes are decorators at heart!
More or less, we’ve all heard of and admired Scandinavian decoration on Pinterest and various other blogs and hardly anyone would doubt that it’s truly elegant and beautiful.
Danish people absolutely love design; so much so that their houses look as though they have been taken off the pages of a deco magazine.
It doesn’t matter whether their home is an old apartment in a block of flats or a newly renovated house.
Most of them share some common features and habits in their decorating style, stemming from their culture and the climate conditions commonly occurring in the country.
main image via Instagram
Read on and you’ll know exactly what I mean:
They can live without curtains in the windows
Curtains are by no means a necessary deco element in Danish rooms because people feel the need to allow as much natural light in as possible.
In a country with only 133 days of sunshine a year, and a long dark winter, people do not really care if somebody is looking in on them from the street!
Their need to be in direct contact with their environment leads them to the decision to live with open windows, while also learning to respect their fellow citizens’ privacy.
Candles are kept lit all day long
Over the first few days when I noticed people having breakfast by candlelight in the morning or entered a bakery or a pharmacy to shop and saw the candles flickering on the cash register bench, I was slightly at a loss to understand what exactly was happening.
It took me a while to realise that, to the Danes, candles are a source of vital energy.
It’s the light that warms their souls and creates an atmosphere of intimacy and relaxation throughout the day.
The addition of lit candles is of crucial importance for their decoration.
They buy the most amazing plants possible
My visit to the central flower market and the countless florists’ shops that this country boasts was an eye-opening experience!
Picture this: artichoke, fig tree and vine pots can easily decorate any Danish living-room. On top of these, various rogues, thorns and any other plant that most of the rest of us would probably remove from our gardens and pots, to the Danes presents a challenge and choice, helping them to introduce authentic nature into their homes.
And, of course, what can no longer survive in the water is dried in the shade and goes on to decorate vases.
In Denmark dried flowers are a true art!
They are obsessed with lighting
Lighting is one of the most important elements in decoration.
Even in the plainest of houses, even in interiors on a low budget, it’s common to find at least one quality lamp by a well-known Danish designer, which will be able to diffuse the light without shining it directly on the occupants.
The Danes carefully select their lighting items and strategically choose where to install them so that they can enjoy relaxing, circumferential lighting.
Besides, it is definitely no coincidence that in all contemporary houses, there is no power supply in the middle of the room, but around the ceiling edges instead; from there, the homeowner or the tenant can use cables and install the lamps in the points that will produce the perfect soothing lighting effect.
The Danes consider lighting to be a whole science as they feel it is closely linked to their well-being.
Statement furniture and deco items
While in many countries the concept of socialisation is connected with entertainment in bars, restaurants and cafés, in Denmark the home is the focal point of social life.
As a result, it is only natural that the Danes should dedicate their time, energy and money to decorating their living spaces, and so creating the desirable atmosphere.
For them, it is almost a necessity to purchase at least one piece of furniture or deco item by a well-known designer.
Even if all the basic furniture is bought from IKEA or Jysk, it is absolutely certain that the finishing touch in decoration will be added by an Egg armchair, a Shell chair by Hans J. Werner or another item of high Scandinavian design worth many Danish krones.
If truth be told, even if you visit a Danish student living on her own, at her home you could probably have your coffee served in a porcelain cup by the famous Royal Copenhagen brand.
Lights in balconies
One of the most typical Danish characteristics in terms of balcony decoration are the small lights adorning their railings all year round as well as the floor lanterns constantly kept lit in exterior spaces.
Many of us have adopted this balcony trend in order to add warmth and Scandinavian style to our decoration.
In fact, the Danes are led to use this lighting solution in exterior spaces because most blocks of flats do not have any other source of power supply installed in the balcony ceilings during the construction of the buildings.
Of course, this is due to the fact that during the 3 spring and the 3 summer months when people find themselves sitting more outside on their balconies enjoying the nice weather, the day is rather longer and the sun sets at around 10:30 pm, so there is actually no need for extra light.
During the rest of the months, the adverse weather conditions do not allow for relaxation in exterior spaces; and yet, these small lights offer a note of warmth even when being looking at from the inside through the window.