Skip to content

Danish Decorating Trends

Lots of people ask me now that I live in northern Europe what I consider in style here in the world of interiors. It’s hard to point to a few looks and say this or that is the norm just as it is impossible to pinpoint true American style these days. Fact is, Europe is a big place with tons of cultures and influence making each country quite unique but on the flip side, Europe is much more diversified than ever before (a topic that some are uncomfortable discussing and for good reason, the fear of homogenization). I think that fear is something most of us who grew up in 1980s America where we watched borders slowly fade can relate to… Exciting at first, but today many of us long for the days when travel from one state to the next was exciting — it meant being exposed to all new stores and restaurants, even chain stores were different, and that was pretty darn cool when I was a kid.

Danish Style

I guess that is why so many of us cling to handmade and flock to small shops even if it means paying more — and why we support local restaurants — we are trying to hold on to that feeling of uniqueness that we remember from our childhood. My observation entirely  but what do YOU think?

Danish Style

Truth is, those living outside of Europe have long admired it for maintaining its uniqueness, from country to country… and that it maintains a special old world charm. However, as you watch the Travel Channel and see show hosts wander from city to city, you can’t help but notice recurring store signage. Borders here are fading in some ways too. I think the difference though is that countries are not so quick to allow products in from other countries unless their is a real demand or interest but also because you are dealing with different governments and languages, it just takes longer to negotiate deals and import/export goods. It’s not as easy to set up shop in another country.

Also, new brands from “outside” are not so easily adopted with a smile. And yet it is exciting to see the good stuff leak over the borders to Germany, I can’t deny this, especially since Germany doesn’t have a strong identifiable “style” post WWII like the Danes, French or the Italians maintained throughout the years. Oh yes, once they did, in fact their design and art movements spawned many other movements worldwide, just look at the Bauhaus and it’s influence. However, since the second world war, function trumped beauty in many respects because so much was destroyed here and people were forced to build quickly to recover part of their life that was lost. But lately the tide is changing and younger Germans are starting to move and shake things. Functional products are looking really good to me and the overall future of German design (interiors, handmade arts & crafts, decorating) feels bright once more. Outside influence is definitely helping, as I see more and more Danish design here (and some Dutch) which excites me as these are two of my favorite places when it comes to design that I personally relate to.

Danish Style

Given that Germany and Denmark share a border to the north, it’s natural that Danish design would start to creep over and influence the modern German home especially here in the north. You can see this in many shops and some cafes in Hamburg, the influence is there for certain. Pick up any good German decorating magazine and you’ll see some of the hallmarks of Scandinavian design being highlighted more and more, particularly the Swedish and Danish stuff. Scandinavian design is very easy to classify but also to like and I’m guessing Danish goods appeal to Germans because the design is not only practical for everyday use and the lines are clean for the most part, but there is a rustic, natural feel to it that Germans as a whole like and can identify with as they are a culture very close to and respectful of, nature. Germans are known for being extremely brand loyal. It takes time for them to warm up to something (or someone) but once you’ve won them over you have a customer/friend for life. This is especially true of northern Germans, and since I’ve been visiting here for the past 11 years and now live and work here as well, I have an outsider’s opinion based on the changes I’ve witnessed over the years when it comes to design in this country. This tells me that Danish companies who win over the hearts of people here will gain a loyal market that will stay in place for a long, long time.

Danish Style

If you are curious to see some examples of current Danish designers who are making some of today’s top trends come to life, just flip through the e-pages of a TineK Home catalog, check out House Doctor, Ferm Living, Normann Copenhagen, HAY, Noa Noa (fashion brand but still), DAY, Greengate, Rice, Madam Stolz, and you’ll definitely find many beautiful things that are very clean, some colorful and quirky, others more streamlined and modern with a neutral palette.

Danish Design Trends

In my mind I tend to group some of the Danish styles that I’m seeing quite strongly here where I live in three key categories: Danish Pretty (Greengate, Rice), Old Meets New Danish (DAY Birger et Mikkelsen homeware, House Doctor, TineK Home, Madam Stoltz) and New Danish Modern (Normann Copenhagen, HAY). This post is more about Old Meets New Danish, as you can clearly see in the images I’ve selected. And by the way, these terms are all “Holly made” so they may or may not be how these individual companies classify themselves!

Danish style

Old Meets New decorating, Danish style anyway, is clean and bright (when you live in the north, white is essential!) but there are definite French, Asian and Moroccan influences in surfaces, shapes, colors and patterns. There is also an industrial edge making this style accessible to city loft dwellers in addition to those living in country homes. Think rustic pottery, straw totes with leather handles, metallic (mostly silver) surfaces, linen, jute, wool, metallic linens, rustic wood, industrial, vintage Moroccan tea trays, metal bases on tables, metal lockers, wheels on rustic wood coffee tables, etc.

Danish Design Trends

If you want to recreate this look in your own home, consider keeping your foundation pieces clean and fuss-free, mixing in a few statement pieces that may be painted in gray, blue or black for instance or you may choose to bring your statement pieces in using metal furniture – lockers, metal cabinets on wheels, wood tabletops with metal pipe bases… Also pay close attention to texture. This is what makes this look work. The Danes are naturals when it comes to making people feel at home, I felt very accepted and at home in Copenhagen earlier this year when I was there to work on my book. They are also effortlessly stylish, which I admire so much.

Danish style

This style is a well-edited look appearing to be effortless, but in reality it is very well thought out. If you are trying to recreate the look use some of the images in this post as your inspiration. No matter where you live, no doubt you can find objects in your local neighborhood that can be used to create this look if you don’t have access to the companies that I’ve mentioned above.

If you like the photos that appear in this post, they are from the Danish brand Madam Stolz, run by husband wife duo Pernille and Peter Stoltz since 1995 who live and work on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. They also run a delightful shop during the summer in Svaneke that I would love to visit as it appears as though everything they stock I would consider owning! If you are interested in Madam Stoltz products, please visit their website to see their online catalog or contact them directly to find a sales rep nearest to you.

(images: madam stoltz)

Posted in Decorating Tips, trends on December 07, 2010

Barbara Coupe Pillows

I spotted these gorgeous pillows today from Barbara Coupe, a textile designer in London who specializes in hand-embroidered goods that are made in England, and had to share them. The typography-as-decor continues to be a strong trend here on this side of the pond — in fact, it has enjoyed quite a long run both in parts of Europe and in the US. Certain trends definitely have staying power and end up running a lot longer than others, which is of course largely due to supply and demand so if consumers are drawn to a certain trend and don’t tire of it easily, it can endure for some time — and rarely, though it has happened, even becomes a classic style, a must-have in every home.

Barbara Coupe

Other trends disappear forever once they’ve had their run, but then others circle back — like the revival of wallpaper. After it’s popularity waned in the 1990s, it made a huge come back about five years ago and today it’s a staple in some of the most drool-inducing rooms in the world. With growing options from hand-blocked to hand-painted, eco, and beyond wallpaper seems to have staying power so if it is does start to lose its mass appeal in a few years, no doubt it will circle back again for the next generation of young designers to embrace as a hot new trend all over again.

Barbara Coupe

Barbara Coupe

I find trend watching quite fascinating, especially now that I live abroad, because lots of what we see over here makes it to the states a year later but also vice versa as the US starts many trends on its own — like the whole blogging trend and handmade market trend — I credit them mostly as being largely promoted in the states before the rest of the world caught on so it’s not always Europe dictating movements in fashion, art and design like so many assume, America plays a huge role in up-and-coming trend movements as well.

Barbara Coupe

But back to lovely Barbara Coupe, who made these stunning cushions that definitely have anglo-appeal. Many people, even those who have no English ancestry, love the Union Jack as a motif and of course this has been a trend in decor as well hasn’t it? I’ve seen Union Jacks popping up in design for some time now. I don’t think we have a US-equivalent using the flag, if we put a US flag on anything it is usually attributed to either the Fourth of July, being a fan of the New England Patriots or associated with the Ralph Lauren/Polo brand. To me anyway. It would be cool if a designer could modernize the US flag somehow, if that is even respectful to say, and make it more interesting to show in the home because currently it just doesn’t seem to find it’s way to sofas in our favorite magazines as cushions or wall hangings like the Union Jack, does it?

Lovely work, Barbara!

I’d like to thank new blogger, Emily Peck, for writing about Barbara Coupe and pointing me to her blog today – it was nice to hear from you! Thank you for the tip!

(images: barbara coupe)

Posted in trends on November 15, 2010

Over-dyed Vintage Carpet Trend

I was so surprised during my visit to Istanbul to fall head first into a shop that featured one of the biggest up-and-coming trends in floor rugs – the over-dyed vintage carpet! While shopping for a rug at Dhoku (and bought a huge collage/patchwork vintage rug that has been over-dyed in beige with spots of bright pink), I got to speak to a man who was very knowledgeable about rugs and he started to tell me about some of his clients and the stores that he was selling to and my ears perked up because I immediately felt a trend coming on!

Over-dyed Carpet Trend

When I got home, I googled and found that ABC Carpet & Home has identified this as a trend already and launched their “Color Reform” collection. Check out these rugs, stunning! Brilliant! I want a pink one now…

Over-dyed Carpet Trend
Over-dyed Carpet Trend

About the collection, each vintage rug was put through a process to neutralize the original colors while still retaining the essence of its design and then each rug was over-dyed to create a solid color with dimension.

“The Color Reform Collection by ABC Carpet began as a vision to salvage imperfect, vintage carpets and resulted in a revolutionary movement of color. Inconsistencies are the nature of this product and make each piece unique. A carpet once traditional is now a contemporary work of art.”

What do you think of these carpets? I LOVE them.

(images: abc carpet & home)

Posted in flooring, trends on November 10, 2010

Villa Collection & Northern European Design Trends (Fall 2010)

Hello everyone! I’m packing today (not heat, boxes!) but I was able to escape the sea of brown boxes for a moment to write to you. This is truly my happy space — whenever I need a place to escape, writing here gives me such a boost! How are you today? Yesterday was a very special one for us because we received the shiny new keys to our place and then went out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate. The mood was so perfect too — the air was fresh and crisp, it was slightly foggy, light showers… the smell of wood burning in stoves… so cozy. And dinner by candlelight made it even more memorable and special. More than ever before, I can’t wait to move in a few days!

Villa Collection

My husband and I feel so relieved to have found a place after so many months of intense searching. You know how hard it was for me, especially if you follow me on haus maus. Today I will have an engraved name plate made for our doorbells – yes plural – we have two of them with a fancy intercom and wall phone in the front of the house and in the back – it feels kind of posh to have two but as you get older there is ONE truth you come to realize = time is precious! You have to have at least a few things that you want in life today because mere expectation (all work/no play) can really take its toll on you emotionally.  So yes, we have two doorbells – one for decor8 (ha ha, my blog has a bell!) and one for us – isn’t that cool? This will make it so much easier now for package delivery though because many times people forget to address things with my name on it, only decor8, and because we have several different couriers there is usually confusion. It’s funny how the little things, like a name plate, can mean so much. The comforts of home.

Villa Collection

Speaking of the comforts of home, I must show you some glimpses into the new catalog from Danish brand Villa Collection. These things are available in Germany at shops as well which is good. I own some products from Villa Collection and am very happy with them – I buy them from my friend Daniela at Sommerflugl in Hannover – she is great if you are local, and she can order things for you if they are not currently in stock in her store (like furniture, lighting, etc.).

Villa Collection

Villa Collection has four specific moods this season, all accurately reflect the trends that you see in stores in my part of the world, northern Europe. One of their moods is Hot House, which is Asian minimalism meets industrial elements of the west with dots of fresh, energizing citrus hues. Another mood is called Scandinavia Today and it is a young, fresh trend rooted in nature. It is care-free, modern, minimalistic… Lots of natural wood tones, white and gray with silver accents along with lots of texture so that it feels warm and comfortable. Their next mood is called Pale & Pure which is “soft living with a modern, classy touch”. The foundation colors are dusty, chalky tones… Lavender, coral… along with natural woods and materials like raw silk and wool. It can also be less girly by using tones of green and blue. Their final mood is called Tribal Tasting. This is a colorful, spirited and spicy collection. It’s very bohemian but also quite modern with a focus on fine craftsmanship with indigenous roots. Here are some glimpses below of these moods. The nice thing is that you can mix and match elements from each to create your own custom work – something I encourage to personalize your space.

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

Villa Collection

I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into some northern European trends — which one do you connect with the most? Or perhaps you see yourself merging a few and if so, which moods would you mix? Hot House, Scandinavia Today, Pale & Pure or Tribal Tasting? Mine is a mix between Scandinavia Today and Pale & Pure for sure.

(images: villa collection)

Posted in trends on September 28, 2010

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!