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Scandinavian Style


We’ve all sat watching those moody Nordic Noir crime dramas; but how many of us have spent more time staring enviously at the interior design rather than being wrapped up in the plot twist? Well, I’m afraid I’m guilty. There is something about those cool tones mixed with minimalist furniture and natural textures that is evocative, and somehow, oddly, quite warming.

Scandal-style is without doubt one of the most talked about and aspirational interior design styles currently doing the rounds. In other words; the epitome of modern living. The idea that you’ve ‘made it’ in life when your apartment is empty, is an unusual one, though!

Modern Scandinavian interiors don’t have a set of design rules that must be adhered to.  That said, there are certain aspects which should be considered if looking for an authentic feel. The most critical part is the colour palette. Cool tones of white and grey are a must. Try to avoid off whites of the red and yellow spectrum on the walls, they’re likely to make the interior feel too warm. Importantly for us at Rafe Olsen, the guidelines for wall colours also applies to the floor. Go with whites and greys, or for a truly individual look, a grey base with a whitewash in the grain. This will add a depth to the floor not normally seen.

If you’re concerned that everything is feeling too cold, don’t despair, this is where the Scandinavians really know there stuff. The whole room can be lifted by the addition of natural textures and fibres on the soft furnishings. The seating is generally seen in the similar cool tones, but cushions, throws and rugs are used to add a touch of warmth, with geometric patterns of blues, yellows or greens increasing the interest and breaking the monotone nature. Naturally finished/exposed timber furniture is another simple way of adding warmth (and interest) to the room.

Stick to a few of the basics and you can be sat in your very own Nordic Noir crime drama in no time. For help or advice on your flooring, please contact us. We’ll be more than happy to provide advice on what will fit in with your own space. Looking for something truly bespoke? That’s our speciality. Test us out!

Graeme Bell, Creative Director @ Rafe Olsen

"Minimalist ideals and cool clean lines come together to produce the hottest (or coolest) interior design"

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Texture, Texture, Texture

Take the rough or the smooth

To texture or not to texture? That is the question. Well, one of them. In the early part of the wood flooring boom, the market was inundated with ultra smooth and incredibly polished floors. Particularly popular were the lighter Beech, Maple and Ash finishes imported from Scandinavia and Northern America. Thankfully times (and tastes) change. Fast forward 20+ years and the market has been through many fashion ups and downs. We currently find ourselves at some what of a crossroads of trends.

The Scandinavian influence is still prominent but now with cool whites and greys on smooth boards, additionally we’re also seeing a shift towards rich, mid to dark brown tones on textured flooring. Whilst it would be easy to attribute the texture of the floor purely to how it feels under foot, there is a lot more to it when it comes to colours.

Rafe Olsen offers three surface textures for our flooring; sanded (pretty smooth), brushed (textured with the grain enhanced and the surface relatively smooth) and distressed (heavily brushed to physically tear wood away from the surface but without feeling splintered). These options do feel different under foot. None of them are going to give you splinters when walking on them but there is a distinct difference in how smooth they appear and feel.

Critically, the texture options we have impact on how colour is applied and as to how it appears. As a general rule, the more heavily textured the flooring, the deeper and more intense the coloured aspects will appear. This is particularly prevalent when applying a light coloured oil over the top of a dark base coat.

In my opinion, when considering the texture of your floor, it’s vitally important to think about your colour scheme first. If you’re looking for cool whites and greys, stick with sanded and brushed surfaces to keep some consistency in the colour and a bit of interest within the grain. If you fancy something deep, dark and dramatic, go with mid-dark browns with a distressed surface with clear or dark oil top coats. This will keep the colours from becoming too complex, whilst adding fantastic depth to the floor.

Reserve the heavily textured boards with dark base colours and white oil washes for restaurants, pubs and clubs where large open spaces and allow the flooring to become part of the interior design without becoming tiring to look at.

For further insights, please contact the team!

Graeme Bell, Creative Director @ Rafe Olsen

"The texture on your floor is far more than just the feel under foot"

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