In Times of Stress, I Self-Soothe With Scandi Design
Consider it a form of color therapy.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:34 AM
By the fourth week of March, I had already followed five new accounts on Instagram, each run by some style-setter living in Sweden, Norway, or Denmark. The realities of life in social isolation had settled in, and I needed something to cheer me up. Their bright, pastel-and-neon strewn interiors were exactly what I wanted to scroll through at the end of a long day working from home.
I’ve been a self-avowed maximalist for some time now, but these vibrant Scandi interiors make my bright Brooklyn bedroom pale in comparison. The way that they use color with little to no moderation (cherry blossom pinks and daffodil yellows and hyacinth purples all mixed up), embrace unexpectedly wacky silhouettes (a Verner Panton chair here, an Ultrafragola mirror there), and bring together charming details (a vase of lilies; a shell lamp), seems to me a foolproof formula for a space that feels purely joyful. I’m inspired to adopt their playful attitude with the hopes that it will make my sheltered-in-place surroundings feel a little more special.
I know that this kind of color-forward Scandinavian design was developed for a reason: In a region with very long winters, there is a real benefit to making your home feel like an endless spring. Now, the flowers are finally sprouting in my Brooklyn neighborhood, but since I’m primarily staying inside, I want to bring those colors into my apartment.
So I got an orchid in a peachy pink pot, and I’ve allowed the rainbow of vintage beads I bought on eBay and Etsy to take up full-time residence on my dresser (at least when I’m not working on my new quarantine hobby of jewelry-making). I ordered storage tins and crates from Hay in a mix of muted and pastel hues. I’m considering swapping my warm ochre bedspread with one the color of pistachio ice cream, and while I’m at it, eyeing some multi-toned tie-dye pillowcases to bring it up another notch.
As the days go on, I’ve become more perceptive to the little changes in my view; the tree outside my window is covered in a smattering of yellow-green buds that it didn’t have before “social distancing” was a term in our collective vocabulary. In prior springs, I might not have noticed how the leaves dangle like crystals on a chandelier before they’re fully grown. But now, I have a new reverence for the beauty of the things within my line of sight.
Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I continue to save the kaleidoscopic images that I see, and I think about the small changes I can make to give my space that kind of whimsical wonder. Spring may be short-lived, but in a room of my own, I’m certain I can make it last eternal.
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