Nordic Design Principles & the Importance of Light in the Home

It’s no secret that Nordic design has become increasingly popular in recent years.

What Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have been doing for centuries has only caught on comparatively recently in the UK and elsewhere. 

We wanted to take a look at some of the most significant nordic design principles, and their emphasis on one thing in particular – light. Let’s dive in!




‘Lagom’ is a Swedish and Norwegian word that loosely translates to ‘not too little and not too much’. While this can apply to all sorts of things, in home design, it’s about finding balance and harmony. 

The basic premise is that there is abundance found in simplicity. 

This is why so much of Swedish design is centred around clean lines, flowing edges, and rounded corners. 

Following the principles of Lagom in the home starts with decluttering and ends with the perfect balance between form and function. Everything has its place.



A core principle of Nordic design is bringing nature into the home. In many Scandinavian homes, for example, you’ll find large windows opening onto green spaces, nature-inspired sculptures, house plants, and natural textures and colours.

Upholstery and fabrics used include jute, mohair, sheepskin, burlap, wool, and other natural materials. Furniture and accents are often made of wood – light woods like pine, beech, and ash are the most popular.

Living elements in the home brighten up the space and bring the outdoors in.



For many countries in the North, natural light is a precious commodity. That means that it’s important to make the most of it.

This desire for light in the home is reflected in Nordic design and, more specifically, in sheer and translucent fabrics for curtains, light colours on the walls, and big windows.

Light walls and a lack of clutter in turn emphasise the natural light that does manage to make its way in.

And when there isn’t any natural light? Statement lights and lamps bring warmth – think pendant lights over dining tables and lamps in reading nooks.


Why is home lighting design so important?

Lighting as an aspect of exterior and interior design is too often overlooked – and yet great lighting offers a variety of benefits to residents.

Ambient lighting – the artificial lighting that comes from lamps and bulbs – is vital for opening spaces up when sunlight is scarce, or in the places where sunlight doesn’t reach. 

For one, poor home lighting design can make it difficult to do certain tasks, like cooking, reading, and cleaning. But as well as that, poor lighting is, frankly, bad for your general wellbeing. Research shows that the right kind of artificial lighting can improve our moods, aid in decision-making, and even improve our sleep.

But artificial lighting alone isn’t enough. Wherever possible, natural light should be encouraged into the home.

After all, it’s what makes our circadian rhythms tick. Our circadian rhythms are essentially our internal clocks and they’re very sensitive to light, using it to either tell our bodies to go to sleep or wake up. It goes without saying, then, that natural lighting is crucial to our health.


Nordic-inspired villas


We had a vision for homes that fused the classic appeal of the Edwardian villa with the sleek, bright nature of Nordic design – and thus our Villas on the Green were created.

Inspired by ‘upside-down living’, these villas are designed with elevated terraces for entertaining in bright, open spaces. Their huge, picturesque windows pull sunlight into the home throughout the day, so you’ll never find yourself lacking that all-important light.

Because we know the importance of living amongst nature (as those Nordic designers do), the villas overlook the Village Green and are located close to Tilgate Forest. Inside, you’re welcomed by light walls and wood accents.

These homes are positively bursting with light and lagom – so if you’re thinking of buying a new home and Nordic design is your thing, register your interest here!