Just because you only do one thing in the dining room doesn’t mean you can neglect the decor. Do you really love that table and chairs? Or are they simply “doing the job”?
It’s time to update that dining furniture set that has followed you around for years. Or perhaps you are thinking about refreshing the look of the room with new accessories.
Let me help you bring a touch of Nordic style into your home with this Scandinavian dining room mood board. And discover high-quality products inspired by natural elements and organic textures.
The space: a dark narrow room
My dining room is blessed with long and narrow proportions. But it gets better. The previous owners of the house knocked the wall down between the dining room and kitchen (the old scullery and coal store). Open plan they said. This created an awkward dining room/corridor that leads to the kitchen.
STYLE TIP: Decorate a high traffic room respecting the easiest flow route. Add definition to the living area by zoning with a rug. And anchor the whole scheme with wall art.
On top of being a high traffic area, the only window in the room is north facing. The permanent lack of natural light means that the artificial lights are pretty much always on. Even at breakfast time. The few plants I have are clinging to life. Except for the one that gave up – RIP Shoshanna the Kalanchoe.
The inspiration: nature and simple patterns
The main influence comes from 19th Century Scandinavian floral motifs. The ones found in less refined items and fabrics. Think of your typical Nordic simplicity with pops of vivid colour.
Patterns like this call for natural materials and bare textures. No place for laminate furniture here. On the list of finishes are wood, raw textiles and even exposed brick. The idea is to expose the brick on one wall due to condensation issues (and the added cosmetic bonus). Not looking forward to the mess.
The Victorian link
Even though the room had been stripped of all original features, there was one surprise left. My 95-year-old neighbour had this metal board in her garden for years. One day I asked her about it, and she said it was probably the old fireplace hearth. Two minutes later I was running home with it — with my neighbour’s permission.
It seems working-class houses had metal hearths in the scullery instead of stone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s rusty and the colours are faded. But I like the floral pattern and the simple green and yellow combination. It’s the only piece that links to the house’s past.
The impossible table
The third source of inspiration was a styled shot. You may have seen the beautifully styled photographs of Habitat’s Talia dining table. I’m not ashamed to admit those photos convinced me to go for exactly the same colour combination: white and warm grey.
It took me a while to find the Talia table. The problem is that there are few 6-seater tables made of solid wood with stylish lines. A chunky square leg table would look out of place in this room. Let’s see what other items I put together for the mood board and where you can get them from…
The mood board: A Scandinavian dining room inspired by nature
1. Talia table, chairs and bench (Habitat)
A beautiful oak table with meticulous joinery. It looks airy thanks to the bevelled edges. The chairs have a classic spindle-back shape without being too rustic. Don’t forget the practicality element. The lacquered finish makes them easy to clean.
2. Handmade cotton rug (Baobab)
A rug is a must to define the area, but I also like spaghetti Bolognese. Solution? A thin washable rug made of cotton. Spot clean or chuck it in the washing machine when needed. It features an interesting block-printed geometric pattern.
3. Ming vase (Marimekko)
The fancy item of the mood board. This mouth-blown vase was designed by Carina Seth-Andersson for Marimekko. As the official description reads it’s “perfect for smaller bouquets, single flowers or branches”. Bring on the eucalyptus.
4. Berså tableware (Gustavsbergs Porslinsfabrik)
A true Swedish mid-century design from the 60s. The Berså collection is available in various colours and every single piece is handmade by skilled craftsmen. The bone china used is microwave and dishwasher safe for your convenience.
5. Moomin mugs (Arabia)
There has to be a Moomin reference in every room. Have you spotted the Moomin item on my pendant lamp and Timor calendar posts? These cute mugs will bring a smile to your face with every sip. You’ll find your favourite character as the collection has over twenty designs.
6. Aerial metal ceiling light (Habitat)
A retro-style pendant made of aluminium with gloss finish. Because there has to be a subtle reflective element in such a gloomy room. It’s also powder-coated white on the inside to maximise the light. Pair with a Watt Nott bulb and a Little Bishop hook if required.
7. Almas plant hanger (Broste Copenhagen)
Shoshanna the Kalanchoe may be gone, but the cuttings are doing well. This time, a hanging plant pot may be the solution to get that extra ray of light. Place as close to the window as possible for higher chances of success.
What do you think?
I’m still deciding how to incorporate the Victorian metal hearth into the Scandinavian dining room design. Perhaps displayed on the wall? Now, over to you. What’s your dining room like? Is it a separate room or have you gone open plan? Share your style tips and stories in the comments below!Want more? Don't miss the subscriber-only articles in the newsletter Join the mailing list