Scandinavian interior design; where do I even start? Since the rise of Instagram—and perhaps before that, when Pinterest was our main source of inspiration—the ‘Scandi look’ has become a life goal for many of us. After all, are you even a real influencer if you don’t take selfies in your pastel pink foam mirror? If you don’t have one yet but you do own a popcorn table, same thing. My daily social media routine includes scrolling through images of pretty kitchens filled with HAY chopping boards and Sophie Lou Jacobsen wave pitchers. Enviously liking pictures of cool Scandi girls wearing Ganni cowboy boots while posing on what looks like the softest sofa in the world has become a full-time job.
But what if you can’t afford to buy the obligatory KJP checkered cushions? How can I achieve a minimalist and cute Nordic interior design without breaking the bank, you ask? Well, well, well, let me share my number one secret with you: it’s all about the green plants, baby. Here are the best green plants to buy and how to present them in order to give your flat a cute Scandi interior look.
Forget about IKEA’s mini cacti and try to think big—or at least as big as your house’s ceiling height allows you to. Look for plants such as the aspidistra, a nice rubber plant or a fiddle-leaf fig tree. Once you’ve picked one (or more, who am I to judge) make sure you buy a super plain pot for it. Concrete plant pots are probably the best and easiest way to go but if you feel adventurous you can also go for something funkier like this nice dark green terracotta pot from ARKET. Avoid colourful tones at all cost, which would be too funky to be Scandi.
Small plants such as trailing jade or string of pearls are the cutest when presented in the right way. Forget about leaving them on your indoor windowsill—that’s now a big no-no. Instead, hang them up in macrame plant hangers. Hang long plants higher to keep vines and leaves from dangling on your floor and suspend shorter plants lower. Don’t even mention hanging terrariums or kokedama hanging gardens, these are not welcome in our Scandinavian bubble of minimalism.
Okay, hear me out on this one. While elevating bigger plants sounds pretty dangerous, I’m only talking about a few centimetres in simple plant stands. This will give your flat more ‘space’ and will probably help your little friend get more light too. It’s a win-win situation.
Having a couple of plants in your living room is pretty basic. Now, what about having some in your bathroom and bedroom too? Next time you give your ficus elastica tineke its Sunday bath, try leaving it in your bathroom until next week, you won’t regret it.
What about adding a few snake plants in your bedroom? They will contrast well against your cold concrete floors and white sheets and will also convert CO2 into oxygen at night, which makes them an ideal plant for bedroom decor.
Like, a lot of flowers. Although Scandinavians go through winters with almost no sunlight, they have a thing for pretty flower arrangements, and they’re always nailing them. From a simple bouquet of flowers left in a clear jar in your bathroom to preserved flowers kept in a Sofi Gunnstedt smiley vase, flowers are the way to go.
Whether you live in a city or not, access to nature is becoming more and more appreciated—especially in 2020 when most of us were locked indoors for so long. Did you wish for a little more green to surround yourself in, or desperately try to keep the plant you had previously neglected alive? We looked into what the most resilient houseplants are, the ones that can really weather our hot and cold daily routines.
First on the list is one for the over-waterers, in case the overexcitement of having a new baby in your care gets the better of you, behold the Chinese evergreen. Its temperament is in the name—native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and New Guinea, this little gem will drink just the right amount of H2O that it needs regardless of the daily drench, but it also can go without water for a couple of weeks, if you’re one of the lucky ones that takes a holiday this year. Keep it in a spot that gets some sun, and it’ll be as happy to be there as you are to have it!
If you want something a little unusual, and your apartment isn’t graced by as much natural light as you would wish for, get an asparagus fern, which isn’t actually a fern but looks like one. Native to South Africa, this fluffy friend adapts to any light it can call home, all you have to do is keep the soil moist.
Another home lover is the fiddle-leaf fig, from western Africa. With big branchy leaves, you’ll prize yourself a plant mamma without even trying to be one. It can grow up to 15 metres tall, but you can also keep it small if you keep it in a smaller pot. I left my flat for two whole months this year and came back to a bare twig, but within a couple of weeks of the odd watering here and there, buds eagerly began to sprout out. Now, I will never believe a plant is dead until it really is dead.
Do you have a house full of sunshine that we can all be jealous of? Then the yucca plant is right for you. Basically, you don’t have to do anything at all but keep it in the sun. Native to the hot and dry parts of the Americas and the Caribbean, treat it as if you imagine it in its natural habitat, and let it treat you to believing you’re on holiday somewhere really exotic.
If you have no soil or space for a pot at all, there’s a plant for that too, believe it or not, and it goes by the name of an air plant. All you have to do is dunk it in fresh water for two or three hours a week, hang it up or prop it up and you’re both good to go, with no mess involved at all.
There is hope for those of you that love flowers too, either opt for a bunch of lavender stalks that even dead, still look alive. But otherwise, the crown of thorns from Madagascar will quench your thirst for a pop of colour among the green, with no pruning needed. This flower doesn’t like much water, and isn’t fussy about where it sits.
Then, what is a no maintenance plant list without our ever reliable succulents. From aloe vera, to jade plants, these squishy leaved darlings will not let you down as much as you let them down. They are born for the dry desert, and have survived centuries of climate malfunction, that’s all that really needs to be said.
It’s safe to say there is a plant for every wishful green thumb out there, so no excuses. You could order all these plants online thanks to the digital age, or make the good old journey to a store. It is worth the effort, it’ll make you feel good to nurture something alive other than yourself.