History of Scandinavian Design Chairs + Shopping Options


Functional and intensely modern, Scandinavian design chairs and other furniture pieces provide a sense of unfussy style that manages to be both dramatic and unassuming at the same time. The popularity of this kind of furniture design has gone global thanks to the proliferation of IKEA stores around the globe, but there are many more stores that can help you get that Scandinavian chic look for your home.

Scandinavian Design Chair - The History behind Scandinavian Design

What we think of as Scandinavian design first emerged in the 1950s. Influenced heavily by modernism, Scandinavian furniture designers began to focus on making uncomplicated furniture that was both functional and attractive. Their design turned away completely from the idea for large, ornate furniture pieces that are found in many different European styles of design. What makes Scandinavian design so interesting is that it was so furniture driven - many design movements involve interior design and furniture design in particular, but they are seldom lead or dominated by them. Scandinavian design, on the other hand, is synonymous with furniture design.

The materials used most often in Scandinavian design chair pieces and other furniture tell the story of the motivating forces behind this design movement. Teak, beech, pine and ash woods are commonly used as is aluminum, steel, chrome, and glass. Pressed wood and oddly enough, particle board, also play a central role. These materials are relatively accessible and inexpensive, and the decision to rely on them is indicative of the motivation and inspiration of the first designers who created the Scandinavian style. During the time when this kind of design emerged, the Scandinavian countries were taking a big move towards developing their own brand of socialism and a social safety net for all of their citizens. The mood in the country was for a leveling out of society and less striation between poor and rich - and the design movement away from ultra expensive, ornate furniture towards affordable, simple, functional pieces reflects this political environment.

Of course, the one thing you should know about Scandinavian design is that Scandinavian designers despise the term. In the 1980s, a group of designers in Oslo, Norway held a "funeral" for the term and "buried" it. Unfortunately for them, Scandinavian design lives on and if anything, the term has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 2000s as IKEA became a furniture staple.

Buying Scandinavian Design Furniture - Where to Shop

If you want the clean, simple style of Scandinavian design chair pieces or other furniture in your home, there are lots of places online where you can find a good deal on some great styles. Give these websites a try:

  • IKEA - Sometimes IKEA is a victim of the "Starbucks Effect" - because there are so many IKEA stores all around the world, and new ones pop up all the time, many people write them off as a less than desirable chain store churning out a sub-par product. In reality, IKEA remains on the cutting edge of Scandinavian style, and their low prices that are within reach of everyone is very in keeping with the original inspirations for this kind of design. They are well worth a look.
  • Nordic Nest- With 4,500 products on their site from all of the top Scandinavian designers, you're sure to find whatever you need here. You can decorate your home right down to the towel racks and light switches on this site, so you may find you can do one-stop shopping here.
  • Modern Classics - This shop has a small collection of Scandinavian chairs among their offerings, but they are certainly worth a look. You'll find chairs from designers like Finn Juhl, Poul Kjaerholm, and Borge Mogensen.
  • Scandinavian Designs - Here you'll find chairs in a bevy of designs, colors, and materials. From the Linus swivel lounger to the Gustav leather chair, you're sure to find at least one chair that works with you design scheme.
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History of Scandinavian Design Chairs + Shopping Options