If you have any eye for design or just love watching home makeover shows, you’ve probably heard of a variety of design styles: modern, rustic, farmhouse, mid-century. You likely even have a preferred design style. But, have you ever heard of Dutch design or Scandinavian design? You may not be as likely to hear about them on your favorite home makeover TV shows, but they take many facets of design styles you’re already familiar with and combine them into beautiful and unique home decor pieces. We’ve done all the research for you to help you start incorporating Dutch design and Scandinavian design into your home.
Dutch vs. Scandinavian
If your eighth-grade geography is a little dusty, here’s some background on the Dutch and Scandinavian countries and how they have influenced both Dutch design and Scandinavian design.
All the different terminology can get confusing. So, here’s a brief background.
First, Dutch and Deutsch are not the same. The Deutsch are German. They are not Danish, Dutch, Scandinavian, or Nordic. The Dutch are from the Netherlands, also called Holland, and are not Danish or Deutsch and do not speak Danish, a common misconception. The Dutch are also not Scandinavian or Nordic.
The Dutch: The Dutch and Dutch design hail from the Netherlands, a country in Northwest Europe. The Netherlands is made up of twelve provinces in Europe, and three island territories in the Caribbean. Together these form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a constituent country. Their four largest cities are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht. Most people are familiar with Amsterdam, the country’s capital, and The Hauge, affectionately referred to as “The World’s Legal Capital.” The Hague is home to the International Court of Justice, the main judicial arm of the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and close to 200 other international organizations.
The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, although you’ll find its residents speak many languages due to the large international presence in the Netherlands. There are roughly 17.3 million people that live in the Netherlands, and due to the size of the country, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Scandinavia: Unlike the Netherlands, Scandinavia is not its own country, rather it is a region in Northern Europe. Scandinavia refers to the three countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Occasionally, Scandinavia can also refer to the Scandinavian Peninsula or even Finland and Iceland, although they are actually Nordic countries.
Nordic Countries: Nordic countries often mean Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland. Because Nordic countries encompass Scandinavian countries, Scandinavia is considered a subset of the Nordic countries.
If your head is reeling, we get it! It can be pretty confusing to understand, but the basics you need to know are Holland and the Netherlands are the same, and that’s where Dutch design comes from. Scandinavia represents three countries, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and that’s where Scandinavian design comes from.
Now that you know where Dutch design is from, it’s time to learn what it means and what it looks like!
Dutch design began its rise in popularity in 1918 and continued to gain momentum through the 1990s. Dutch design refers to anything from home decor to fashion and even architecture. The movement started with a focus on graphic design, but during the 1993 Milan Furniture Fair, Dutch design took off in the home decor world.
Dutch design focuses on minimalism, functionalism, and innovative yet simplistic designs. But what truly sets Dutch design apart is its focus on the designers. The designers that create this beautiful and modern home decor are integral to the entire development and production process. While other types of design use mass production and technology-driven practices to create their products, Dutch design focuses on each element of the design, and many pieces are actually handmade.
Much like Dutch design, the Scandinavian design focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and functionality. Scandinavian design first came to prominence in the 1950s thanks to the Lunning Prize, an award given to outstanding Scandinavian designers. This prize was crucial to Scandinavian design becoming a sought-after design style.
Each country in Scandinavia has contributed their own style and aesthetic to Scandinavian design, and to fully understand this design style, you need to know how they differ.
Denmark: Danish design was largely influenced by the German Bauhaus school. It is a functionalist design style and many Danish designers combine new technologies with functionalism to design buildings and decor. You might be familiar with some of Danish design’s more iconic pieces like the Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958.
Norway: Norwegian design is centered around a strong, minimalist aesthetic. You’re most likely to see Norwegian design in home decor items. Norwegian design places a strong emphasis on durability, simplicity, and functionality.
Sweden: Swedish design is minimalist with an emphasis on clean lines. This is especially seen in Swedish furniture design. There are many organizations that promote Swedish design, including the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, the Swedish Arts Council, and the Swedish Center for Architecture and Design.
Scandinavian design encompasses all of these design styles to create a modern and minimalist aesthetic.
You might be wondering if this means Dutch design and Scandinavian design are the same. They do both emphasize functionality, minimalism, simplicity, and clean lines, but the biggest difference between Dutch design and Scandinavian design is the vital role Dutch designers play throughout the entire production process. The value placed on designers in Dutch design creates a collaborative and inspiring environment for the creation of truly unique products.
Why You Should Decorate Your Home with Dutch and Scandinavian Design
If you love modern design, then you’ll absolutely love Dutch and Scandinavian design. Modern design is known for its clean lines and sleek style. Modern designers often use raw materials like steel, glass, wood, and leather to create the desired aesthetic.
If you want a home that feels sleek and clean, while also feeling warm and welcoming, then Dutch and Scandinavian design is the perfect style for you. Here are some ways you can incorporate this design style into your home.
- Living Room
Your living room is the center of your home. It’s where movie nights happen and family game nights are played. If you want to incorporate Dutch design into your living room, start with a few small pieces or upgrade some decor that matches your general color scheme. An easy way to start incorporating Dutch design into your living room is with artwork. Using pieces from our Storytiles collection, you can mix and match the artwork to create a unique but coherent gallery wall. If you want more of a standalone piece, you can use a larger piece of artwork like the Nadesign graphic poster or use mirrors to make your room feel larger.
- Dining Room
Food is what brings people together, and your dining room is where that happens. You can incorporate Dutch design into your dining room in a number of ways, including centerpieces and tableware. If you’re looking for a striking centerpiece, use a handcrafted, unique piece like the Flat Bowl by K’Willem In Huis. If you want a more traditional but equally striking centerpiece, you can opt for vases or candles. You can also incorporate this modern design style into your tableware. If you want a fun and sustainable solution to plates, bowls, cups, and more, Zuperzozial is the perfect product line for you. If you want to use Dutch design in a more subtle way, start by changing out small pieces like your salt and pepper shakers, bread basket, or salad servers.
Your bedroom needs to be a place of comfort where you can relax after the end of a long day and wake up feeling refreshed. Using Dutch design, you can easily transform your bedroom into your dream oasis. The first thing you need to do is make it comfortable. Use different shaped pillows to create dimension and add a pop of color to your bed or seating area. Once you decide what your pop of color will be, add some more cushions to your bed in neutral tones to create a comfortable and well-designed place to curl up and read. If you have a chair, bench, or just want a cozier bed, add a soft and warm throw blanket. You might be wondering where to store all of these new cushions and blankets when you crawl into bed at night, so we recommend using one of the beautiful and functional pieces of decor we carry like this large metal basket. Minimalist, functional, and gorgeous, it is the perfect piece of Dutch design for the bedroom.
You might not think your bathroom is a place you want well decorated, but where is the one room in your house every guest inevitably needs to go? The bathroom. While decorating your bedroom is for you and you alone, decorating the bathroom makes your home feel comfortable for any guest. If you’re wondering if you can incorporate modern design into your bathroom, the answer is yes! What’s the one thing everyone needs in the bathroom? Toilet paper. Why not make your toilet paper a focal point of the room instead of something hidden? With this beautiful leather toilet paper holder, you can start adding Dutch design to your bathroom where most people never think to add design elements. The next step is to make your hand towels look prettier than ever. Displaying them with a delightful leather and metal holder is a great way to make even the most ordinary towels look nice. If you’re a one-bathroom household, you might need somewhere to store your family’s towels. Hang them on a sleek set of hooks to keep them off the ground, out of the way, while still maintaining a modern look. Soon your bathroom will be one of the best-decorated rooms in your house!
- Holiday Gift Giving
While this isn’t a room in your house, finding the perfect gift for someone can create added stress around any holiday. If you want to enjoy the company of your family, relax around the fire, and take the stress away, why not use Dutch design to help you give the perfect gift? From scarves and leather bags to piggy banks and aprons, Dutch designers have created the perfect gift for everyone in your life. Instead of getting your family member another sweater or your mom another set of earrings, you can purchase items that are functional and gorgeous. Because Dutch design focuses on minimalism and functionalism, you will never have to worry about your gift not matching your friend or family member’s style. They’ll be able to make any gift their own! If you’re looking for a housewarming gift instead, you can’t go wrong with classic crystal glasses and a matching decanter or a bottle of wine and wine cooler.
As you can see, there are so many ways Dutch design can be used in your home and in your life! If you’re looking for more tips and tricks for incorporating design elements into your home, visit our blog and learn how to use Dutch design throughout your home, office, and life!
Dutch Design Brands and Decor
At Uniek Living, we offer original Dutch decor from designers who align with our values and passions. We work with both new and established designers, giving preference to their aesthetic rather than experience. We pay special attention to brands and products that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and/or Fairtrade certified. We truly believe this Earth deserves our love and respect, and we choose to carry and support brands that agree with these values.
All of the items you see in our store are handpicked to ensure every piece you purchase from Uniek Living is truly unique to you.