A Guide to All Things Danish Design: From Cabinets to Cutlery


As you’ve probably noticed, Scandinavian design (and generally all things Scandinavian, really), have taken off over the last 4-5 years. If you’re already here, then it’s safe to say you’re looking to add a Scandinavian twist to your own home.

In this article we’re going to look at all things Danish design inspired across the whole range. From the usual chairs and cabinets, right the way through to candle holders, bathroom accessories, posters and wall art, and that jumper you’ve had your eye on.

Danish design really began to emerge at the start of the 19th century - and has had a somewhat roaring success since around the 1920s. However, before we get too deep into who made what chair, or who started off as a cabinet maker and ended up as an architect, we need to take a step back…

Before Scandinavian design as a whole took off, we need to look at what it was before - and where it really came from. In its original countries, what we now know as the basis of Scandinavian design was known as Functionalism.

Functionalism taking hold in Scandinavia, combined with sheer timing (the end of the Second World War), meant a greater focus was placed on democracy (as in “we’re all in it together”) and a major shift in societal thinking. 

Ultimately, what this means is that as a whole, people felt that you shouldn’t have to be rich just to have a nice interior and nice furniture for your home. At Project Nord, that’s definitely something we can get behind!


If Danish (and Scandinavian) design is minimal, doesn’t that mean it’s just another form of minimalism?


This one comes up a lot. Although, yes, Scandinavian design hinges upon the idea of clean lines and high quality quality materials in their purest form - there are distinct differences between the two movements.

Without getting too involved in the finer details, the differences between the two movements are mostly materials. Minimalism tends to focus upon chrome, other metals, and generally aim for a more industrial feel. Contrasted with Scandinavian design which tends to focus more on creating texture with materials such as rugs, pillows, and throws.

However, in recent years there has been much more overlap between the two - with industrial scandinavian design becoming a thing, and minimalism becoming more scandinavian design inspired.

If you’d like to learn more about the minimalism movement whilst you’re here, then why not take a look at our UItimate Guide to Minimalism or Minimalist Transformation! The Benefits of a Minimalist Home.


Why is there such an emphasis on furniture and interior design in Denmark (and Scandinavia)?


As you may or may not already be aware, there’s a few major reasons for why there’s such a heavy emphasis placed on furniture and interior design within Nordic countries. This is mostly because:

  • Space is at a premium

    Rent is expensive which means that the price per square meter is high. Therefore, it’s worth making use of all space available so you don’t pay so much. There’s also no point overpaying for space you’re not going to use.

  • The winters are dark and long

    This means that there’s more time spent indoors because the weather isn’t exactly nice enough to be sitting outside or doing an outdoor activity. So, pull up a blanket, light some candles, and get cosy with a good book or your favourite film!

  • Restuarants and eating out in general are expensive (in comparison to other countries)

    Now, this might seem like a weird one to focus on or a strange reason. However, it’s true. Visiting as a tourist is expensive enough, but going out to eat at a resturant is expensive in the Nordics even for the locals.

    This means that they spend more time in their own homes, or visitng friends homes. And when you spend more time with guests over, you tend to be a bit more house (or rather, apartment) proud.


Who are The well-known Danish designers?


There are many many well known Danish designers, which we have actually already covered in more depth in another article. If you’d like to learn more about the greats of Danish (and Scandinavian) design, then why not head on over to our article on The Greats of Scandinavian Design.


The designs (and designers) of the early 19th century are still looked up and paid tribute to today, with many design houses in Denmark and the other Nordics where you can buy homage, replica, or entirely original pieces of excellent high quality Scandinavian design across a wide range of things.

For example, if you’re looking for inspiration when it comes to posters and wall art to add some colour and create a different vibe in your home, then how about some of our multicoloured posters, or our pastel posters.

Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, here’s a few for you to get some inspiration:

  • House of Finn Juhl

  • Hjemm

  • Fritz Hansen

  • IKEA

  • Georg Jensen

  • Lyngby Porcelæn

  • Ørskov

  • Rosendahl Copenhagen

  • Hay

  • By Lassen

  • Normann Copenhagen


So what about non-furniture Danish design? It can’t all be chairs and cabinets … can it?


Although your mind might immediately go to furniture, chairs, and interiors, there are plenty of other things that have been inspired by scandinavian design over the years.

From towels and other bathroom necessities through to sweaters, cars, cups, watches, and candle holders. All of these things are a few examples of items that have had a Scandinavin twist applied to them at one point or another.

Design is so well regarded in Denmark that many of the companies on the List of Purveyors to the Court of Denmark (Leverandør til Det Kongelige Danske Hof), as well as the king and queen (Kongelig Hofleverandør) - otherwise known as “Royal warrants of appointment” are for companies that are design orientated. These include lots of porcelain makers and textile makers, along with food and beverage companies.


Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this look into the world of Danish design and you’ve learnt something new and gotten a bit of inspiration out of it! For your own piece of Scandinavian design for the home, why now have a look at some of our best sellers on the Project Nord website?


Written by Jack Luke Fitzsimons

Images sourced from Pinterest and Project Nord website.