Jonathan Parker & Sharon Kelley-Parrella's Blog
Scandinavian design is a popular style in exterior and interior home design. As the name might suggest, this style originated in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and combines several elements inspired by life in the Northern Hemisphere. While similar to other styles that share some of the same concepts, Scandinavian design is far more specific than what some might label simply as “minimalism.” Instead, it is a design style heavily inspired by its origins and location.
How do you know recognize Scandinavian design? Here are the basic elements of the style, inside and out:
Lots of Light
One of the key characteristics of Scandinavian design directly results from a unique location. The long nights and long winters of far northern climates mean people spend a lot of time inside. It also means that builders and homeowners alike try use every bit of natural light they have access to. Therefore you will see glass roofs, walls and an emphasis on large windows in homes built with Scandinavian design style in mind.
Cozy & Comfortable
So much time spent indoors also created an emphasis on comfortable interiors. Neutral color palettes and natural textures combine with soft lighting and practical-rustic features to create a sense of “hygge” or coziness. According to Scandification, this concept encapsulates the comfort and sheltering warmth of home and togetherness. Scandinavian design is all about inviting spaces where you can remain happy and comfortable through the winter.
Efficient heating is essential in cold climates, but Scandinavian architecture takes it a step further. These homes are usually very energy efficient, not only because of the insulation and heating systems but because of specific layouts meant to warm up quickly and stay that way. Scandinavian architects design the flow and shape of rooms to retain heat, keeping you comfortable without expending unnecessary energy.
Scandinavian interior and exterior design emphasizes clean lines. Similarly to mid-century modern architecture, there is little embellishment and a preference for bold geometric shapes and angles. However, Scandinavian design is clean without being severe. It is also simple without being boring. Exteriors combine natural textures and soft color palettes with aesthetically interesting features like deep, asymmetrical gables and multi-level rooflines.
Connection With Nature
While Scandinavian architecture aims to be eye-catching visually, it also follows the concept of integrating with the surrounding environment. Scandinavian architecture works with the terrain rather than makes a bold contrast to it. This is where the natural textures and colors come into play for exteriors: softer, muted tones are pleasing to look at as part of a greater view. For interiors, Scandinavian design achieves a connection to nature through making that same beautiful view available to everyone inside: glass walls, skylights and windows keep you connected to the outside world even when you’re warm and cozy.
You can recognize and define Scandinavian design by all the above, but you can understand it further through the larger-scale public architecture in its locations of origin. These countries boast amazing architectural landmarks like the Oslo Opera House, Copenhagen City Hall and the Stockholm Public Library’s reading room. These and more serve as excellent sources of inspiration for anyone wanting to cultivate the elements of Scandinavian design.
14 Hilltop Pkwy, Woburn, MA 01801
510 Main St., Wilmington, MA 01887
Essential oils are catching on as a natural way to spruce up your home. However, many people are unaware of the full array of uses for essential oils in the household.
In this article, we’ll cover some of those uses that you may not have heard of, and give you some tips on which essential oils are the best to use.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the result of distilling large amounts of herbs, spices, or other plant-based materials. There are dozens of essential oils commercially available and they all emit strong aromas that can be used in multiple ways.
When buying oils, it’s important to check the labels to make sure you are buying 100% pure essential oils. Many companies dilute their oils in a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. While this isn’t inherently bad, it does probably mean you’re getting less for your dollar due to being diluted.
Aside from smelling nice, essential oils are often used for aromatherapy and other medicinal uses. However, be aware that they are not intended as a treatment for any medical condition.
Similarly, some oils might cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. So, be careful when spraying them in the air or using them on your skin if you think you might be allergic to a certain oil.
Which oils are best for use around the home?
There are dozens or even hundreds of essential oils that have various scents and uses. However, some are more pleasant and suitable for the home than others.
The main essentials that serve a number of uses around the home are:
There are various kits available online that include some or all of the oils listed above, or you can buy them individually from retailers.
Household uses for essential oils
There are many uses for essential oils around the home. They include:
Used as an air freshener with an oil diffuser. These diffusers humidify the air while diffusing the oil into the room, resulting in a pleasant aroma.
Mixed with water or alcohol to make a fabric spray. You can find several formulas for creating a fabric spray. However, the easiest way to quickly freshen up the sofa or carpet is to mix 10% oil to 90% water or ethanol and put the mixture into a spray bottle.
As a natural cleaning product. Lemon, lime, lavender, and peppermint all make great additions to a homemade cleaning solution. Diluted with water and vinegar, many essential oils can be used to freshen up a countertop or scrub a sink.
Spruce up your clean laundry/linen. You can put a couple of drops of lavender onto a damp washcloth and put this in your dryer with your clothes to give them a nice fragrance. This works particularly well if you use unscented laundry detergent. However, be sure not to go overboard--essential oils are strong and some can cause skin irritation.
Refrigerator deodorant. The best way to get rid of the smell of a refrigerator is to give it a thorough cleaning. But afterward, help keep it smelling clean longer by putting several drops of lemongrass into a small bowl with baking soda. Stir the baking soda on occasion to release the lemongrass fragrance.