Tapestries are a great way to express your personality, your passions, your interests and your ambitions. They’re also a great way to make an otherwise boring room come to life. A tapestry, like any work of art, is an extension of your self. That’s why, of the many themes our customers seek out, the nordic tapestry is so popular. It brings inspiration, natural wonder and Scandinavian beauty into any home.
Principles of Scandanavian Design
Before we talk about what makes a Scandinavian tapestry so popular, let's look at the larger style these wall hangings represent. What are the elements of Scandinavian design?
As you may know, Scandinavian design is a modernist design movement that includes interior design, furniture craftsmanship and more. Characterized by minimalism, simplicity, and functionality, the variety of tapestries we offer on this website includes quite a few that would fit in well with this Nordic aesthetic, where real-life historical sagas and fantastical mythology meet.
We’ll get to a few specific examples in just a minute. Until then, here are some general principles of Scandanavian design you should know about.
- Utility. In Nordic design, home furnishings and decor emphasize function as well as form—everything has a purpose, as well as a style.
- Light. In February, Northern Finland sees about four to six hours of daylight per day. Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are also in darkness much of the winter. Since white and lighter colors reflect the natural light better, you’ll often see color palettes that make generous use of white, off-white, pale beige … You get the picture. Whites are often contrasted with grays, blacks and browns to create a clean and calming look.
- Natural wood. Those muted, light colors blend well with natural wood, which is another common Nordic design feature. Sweden (for example) is covered by 69% forest, so the liberal use of natural wood grain is only, well, natural.
- Multi-purpose. In urban areas of Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm, apartments and homes are (by American standards), quite small. There’s no room for useless things. In fact, if something has more than one purpose, all the better. That’s why using pieces that accomplish more than one thing is very popular in the land of the Vikings. Think tables that nest into each other or pull-out sofa beds. Multi-functionality gives Scananavian furnishings so much more value.
- Coziness. Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a comfortable conviviality, mixed with feelings of wellness and contentment. The main component of hygge is that you feel present when spending quality time with yourself or your loved ones. There’s no doubting that Scandinavians take coziness seriously!
- Eco-friendliness. Nature is always a consideration in Nordic countries. That’s why design takes ecological sustainability into consideration. This means connecting people with the natural environment around them and building homes and interiors using ecological techniques and efficient materials.
What Makes a Nordic Tapestry Unique?
As we’ve seen, there are a few general principles of Scandinavian interior design. But if there’s one common thread behind Nordic sensibilities (whether we’re talking furniture or Scandanavian tapestry design), it’s this: Scandinavia is COLD.
It’s no mystery why the use of warm textiles in Scandinavian home decor became so popular. People in these countries have traditionally used tapestries and textiles to add texture and color to their home interiors, to decorate couches and other seating areas (with throws and pillows), and to offset austere, monochromatic design with geometric prints that add vibrancy and spark.
Hence, light fabrics such as sheer curtains are often used to cover windows. it’s common to find pillows and blankets on the floor. Sheepskins, wool or mohair throws and bright wall tapestries can warm up drab interiors and add another layer of texture to a space.
Oh, did we say drab? Yes, Scandinavian design has been called dreary, bleak, sparse, and even drab… But that’s where Nordic tapestries play a crucial role in the overall look. They add that little splash of excitement that makes the entire room come to life.
Insights into Nordic Design
What is Nordic interior design? To say it’s simply IKEA and light woods is really an unfair oversimplification. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Scandi interiors;
First, some history. The minimalist Scandinavian style first made an impact in the 1950s in the United States with a traveling design show that promoted works by Danish, Finnish, Icelandish, Norwegian and Swedish designers. These Scandinavian designers wanted to improve daily life through innovative designs. Names to know include:
- Verner Panton
- Eero Aarnio
- Eero Saarinen
- Alvar Aalto
- Poul Henningsen
- Arne Jacobsen
- Borge Mogensen
- Hans J. Wegner
- Maija Isola
The Nordic art and design of those times continue to influence modern designs, as interior decorators, architects and artists alike draw inspiration from the visionary work.
Factors to Consider
We’ve talked about the principles of Nordic design. Let’s list a few more common factors to keep in mind if this is the style you want your home to emulate:
- Unity: Rather than have a theme for each room, a cohesive style predominates many Scandinavian homes. For example, the same flooring is usually found throughout an entire home (and it’s usually a light-colored wooden floor in all rooms). The bathroom is typically the exception—there you will find floors covered with tile or vinyl.
- Simplicity. A Scandinavian won’t have many knick-knacks and tchotchkes collecting dust on the shelves. If you had to condense Scandinavian style into one word, that word would be minimalism.
- Natural. The connection to nature is evident in many ways. For example, there will be a balcony or terrace in even the tiniest apartments.
- Clean. Clean lines are everywhere, from the architecture to the furnishings within. Loud pop art won’t be found on many walls; wall art normally consists of embroidered textiles, tapestries or abstract paintings—perhaps the occasional landscape photography (black and white, of course).
- Bright. When it’s dark outside, you can bet the interiors are bright and inviting. Skylights are frequently used. Cold, neon lightbulbs are rare; lamps and overhead lighting are always warm and inviting.
- Cozy: For that added Scandinavian touch, bake some cookies, light a scented candle, and offer a hot cup of mulled wine to your guests.
10 Best Nordic Tapestries
Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis Tapestry
The Northern Lights are a genuinely magical sight. It’s like finding church in the great outdoors. The spectacular scenery and fantastic color palette featured in this aurora borealis tapestry add a dream-like quality to a room, with shining stars and shades of purple, mint green and blue lighting up the night sky. The Nordic black fir forest is mysteriously silhouetted against the glowing sky, making a fabulous contrast.
Meteor Shower Tapestry
Find inspiration in a fantastic field of shooting stars. The mesmerizing wall hanging stands out in any room with its vibrant visuals of bold, beautiful shooting stars. Distant silhouette of a person makes this a soothing and intriguing picture. The cosmic theme evokes a happy and romantic mood.
Forgotten Forest Tapestry
Evocative of an ancient Norse tale, this dark yet majestic wall hanging is perfect for a room filled with medieval folk art, fairies and trolls. Stoke the imagination with a scene of wonder and majesty as you gaze up to the trees and the glorious night sky above.
Road to Freedom Tapestry
The Scandinavian Mountain range runs through the Scandinavian Peninsula, dropping into the North Sea and Norwegian Sea and forming the majestic fjords of Norway. This tapestry shows you the way there, along the long road towards the gorgeous mountains on the horizon.
Hidden Trail Tapestry
Venture through the woods as you happen upon a majestic yet subtle path with our "Hidden Trail" design. Where does it lead? No one knows! You’ll feel like you can step directly into this serene, mysterious place any time you wish.
Snowy Hills Tapestry
Trees. Sky. Snowy mountain ridges. Graceful whites and blues blend and fold into each other with this popular "Snowy Hills" design.
Hazy Nights Tapestry
Add a touch of the psychedelic to your decor as you relax and gaze up at the swirls with our "Hazy Nights" design.
Waterfall Views Tapestry
You may be surprised to learn that Some of the world’s tallest waterfalls are found in Norway, including Vøringsfossen in Måbødalen valley and The Seven Sisters (“De syv søstre”) in Geiranger (so named because it looks like the hair of seven women). This “Waterfall Views” design will instantly transport you to an invigorating waterfall scene complete with overhanging, verdant treetops and ancient rock formations.
Beautiful Lakefront Tapestry
Take in the majestic mountains and tranquil waters with this fabulous nature-inspired tapestry good for a study, bedroom or living room. The serene, scenic wall hanging features soothing pastel colors. Wake up to a perfectly still lake reflecting majestic mountains, forest-covered shores and gentle sunshine touching the surface of the lake.
Wolf and Moon Tapestry
This inspiring wolf tapestry has many creative uses. Throw it over a piece of furniture, cover an empty wall or take it with you on your adventure in the mountains.
How To Hang Your Nordic Tapestry
So, you’ve selected the right tapestry for your home. Now what? How you hang it is something you need to think about and plan for.
You don’t have to damage your walls. You can use velcro, Command Strips, or even tacks to hang a tapestry ifIf you live in an apartment or dorm room and your tapestry isn’t too heavy. All of these methods won’t leave any damage, or at least none that can't be easily repaired.
Heavy tapestries may require the use of wall anchors and wall mounts. If you hang the tapestry on a decorative rod, make sure the rod will fit through the holes or pocket of the tapestry (if it has them). You will push the rod through the holes of the tapestry and secure it in the brackets on the wall. The last step is securing rod finials to each end of the rod.
When using brackets to secure a rod to the wall, make sure that you check the type of screws you are using. The material your wall is made out of will determine whether to use basic wood screws, screws made for drywall, or masonry screws.
Heavier tapestries will of course require the use of a rod that can hold a greater amount of weight. On average, rods with a diameter of a 1/2 to 3/4 diameter will hold the weight of tapestries that are 2 to 10 lbs.
When hanging the tapestry, it's usually ideal to hang it so that its focal point is eye-level. Even though you may want to hang the tapestry flush with the wall, keep in mind that this can result in mold growth behind the fabric in damp environments. To avoid this, make sure the tapestry is hanging at least a 1/2 inch from the wall.
Additional Nordic Home Design Tips
At this point, you may be asking: “How can I decorate like a Scandinavian?”
We already covered Scandanavian interior design, which can be monochromatic. But remember: modern Scandinavian home design can also be bold. Don’t be afraid to use bright colors and graphic, high contrast styles, exemplified by the Finnish company Marimekko and favorite Scandinavian designer Josef Frank. You’ll just need to use them tastefully.
Declutter your living space and you’ll be halfway there. Keep the furnishings natural, and keep everything as cozy and minimalist as you can. Soon you’ll be an honorary Norseman (or woman), with an inviting home you’d be proud to welcome friends and family into.