Europe & Britain | Inspiration

From TV to fashion to lifestyle, Scandi-Cool influences how you live, even if you don't know it

From design and fashion to music, food and self-care, Scandinavian culture has exploded around the world in recent years. Take a look around at the furniture in your house, the clothes you’re wearing, or the music you’re listening to. Chances are, you’ve been hit by the Scandi-Cool bug too! From emulating their effortless Scandi style to bingeing on their gripping TV dramas and taking notes on their relaxed lifestyle, almost everyone has jumped on the Nordic wave – and it’s much more than just IKEA and ABBA. Here’s how Scandi-Cool is probably influencing the way you live – without you even knowing it. 

Design

colourful Scandinavian houses lining a river

When you think of Scandinavian style, your first thought is probably IKEA. The world-famous furniture company was invented by Swedish carpenter Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 and has grown to become one of the biggest furniture retailers in the world. IKEA is all about modern and minimalist design with eco-friendly products, and millions of people around the world just can’t get enough of it. But Scandinavian design doesn’t stop there.

The region is famous for its cool and clean design with a focus on functionality and sustainability. In short, the Scandinavians keep things simple – but they make it look beautiful. Think white walls, natural textures like wood and stone, open plans that let the light in, and chic yet practical and uncluttered furniture. It’s elegant yet intimate, minimal yet cosy or hygge in Danish. These days, everyone is looking to Scandinavia for their design, art and architecture inspo… And if you’ve ever been to IKEA, you probably already have a piece of Scandi-Cool in your home.

GET INSPIRED BY: Scenic Scandinavia and its Fjords

minimalist Scandi-Cool living room design

Fashion

If you’ve been trying to nail that unique Scandi style, you’re not alone. Scandi-Cool fashion has been taking the world by storm for years, and everyone wants to replicate their effortlessly cool style. So how do you do it? Again, it’s all about keeping it simple yet chic. Scandinavian style is sophisticated yet laidback and easy to wear. It’s durable and high quality, made with excellent fabrics, and it’s sustainably made to last instead of mass-produced.

Scandi-Cool outfit layout Scandinavian fashion

Scandi-Cool fashion is timeless and functional, edgy and elegant. It’s classic staples layered with bold statement pieces. Confused yet? Scandi style is a delicate balance! If you want to know more, check out some of the top Scandinavian fashion brands like ACNE, Ganni, COS, Monki, Arket, Weekday, Dr Denim, Filippa K and Stine Goya.

RELATED CONTENT: How to apply the Scandinavian lifestyle to your travels

Nordic noir

Nordic noir, or Scandinavian noir, is a genre of crime dramas that has captivated the world. The books or TV shows are usually set in Scandinavian countries and are focused around case cracking detectives. The aesthetic is often dark and cold, with complex characters and layered storylines, portraying the conflict stirred up by murder and crime.

Some of the most popular Nordic noir TV dramas are The Killing, The Bridge, Borgen and Wallander and they’re all the rage from Scandinavia to Europe and beyond. Two years ago, The Truth Will Out gripped thousands across the continent, as it told the true story of one of Sweden’s most infamous miscarriages of justice – an innocent man convicted of murder.

Scandi style architecture also plays a starring role in this genre, with the classic functional buildings and cool, clean homes. Two of the most iconic Nordic noir TV dramas were even named after Scandi structures – The Bridge was named after the Öresund Bridge that connects Copenhagen to Malmö, while Borgen was named after Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace, nicknamed Borgen. Scandi TV has managed to snag global attention in less than a decade, so what are you waiting for? Go binge on some thrilling Nordic noir this weekend.

GET INSPIRED BY: Nordic Adventure

Music

So you’ve heard of ABBA, the Swedish band that sold more than 370 albums in 10 years, making them one of the most successful music groups of all time. They were also the first music group that did not come from an English-speaking country yet achieved global commercial success. But Scandinavian music is so much more than the disco sensation that was ABBA.

Sweden is the third biggest music exporter in the world, after the US and the UK, as some of the world’s largest music studios and moguls are Swedish. You’ve probably heard of superstars like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Pink, Backstreet Boys and NSync… Well, they all got a dose of Scandi-Cool as Swedish songwriter Max Martin is the genius behind all of them! Not to mention all the home-grown Scandi stars, from Roxette and The Cardigans to Tove Lo, Avicii and Swedish House Mafia. Even Spotify, the music streaming giant now worth billions, was created in Stockholm. So whatever you’re listening to right now, chances are it’s been influenced by Scandinavia.

RELATED CONTENT: From Copenhagen to Reykjavik: the best places to visit in each Scandinavian capital city

Coffee culture

Scandinavian woman pouring a coffee

Have you ever wondered how the Scandinavians survive on those dark, chilly winter days? It’s probably got something to do with the coffee. The Nordics are some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, and in Sweden, the coffee break is such a huge part of the local culture that there’s a special word for it – fika.

It’s a lovely ritual of taking a peaceful moment to sit down with a coffee and a classic Scandi open-faced sandwich or baked treats like cinnamon buns. You can relax alone in a cafe or socialise with family, friends and colleagues – and you can definitely take fika more than once a day! So forget rushing through another lunch break at your desk – embrace the Scandi-Cool style and relax with a proper coffee break.

GET INSPIRED BY: Capitals of Scandinavia

Sauna

Scandinavian woman sitting on a deck overlooking a lake Scandinavia

Have you noticed a bunch of saunas popping up around your city? You’ve got Scandinavia to thank for that! The Nordics are the go-to experts on self-care and lifestyle and the rest of the world is starting to catch up. In Scandinavia, there’s nothing more relaxing than the sauna. You strip down and sit inside a hot room where you sweat out all your worries, before plunging into a pool of icy water. It’s wonderfully refreshing and can even be a great place to socialise and make friends. It’s all yet another way that Scandi-Cool has influenced the way we live – even if you didn’t know it!

RELATED CONTENT: Welcome to my home: a totally biased view on why to travel to Scandinavia

Have you fallen in love with the Scandi style? Let us know in the comments below!

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