Meaning and Value in the Context of Scandinavian Interior Design

Anna-Christin Mohn

Student thesis: Master thesis


This Master’s thesis investigates the meaning and value types that female consumers from Denmark and Germany attach to their home and their furniture as well as smaller home objects. The study is embedded in the context of the currently flourishing Scandinavian interior design, and has the purpose to research the associated and valued characteristics from the consumers’ perspective. For those reasons, the theoretical framework is composed of literature from Consumer Behavior, Sociology, Psychology and Design, and highlights the inseparability of the phenomena meaning and value, as well as the influencing role of the furniture design elements. As furniture consumption is hedonic and decision-criteria influenced by culture, this study aims at exploring differences and similarities between Germans and Danes in relation to lifestyle and the cultural context. In order to gain consumer insights for this study, the data was collected with the qualitative focus group method. For the purpose of comparison, two focus group interviews, each homogeneous in their nationality, were conducted. The coded and interpreted data revealed that the women primarily assign symbolic meanings to their home and furnishing, such as representing social ties to family and friends, reflecting the personality and taste of the inhabitant and being a sign of memories. The main values that the subjects derive primarily from the intrinsic attributes of their furniture are experiential, self-oriented and encompass among others the appreciation of aesthetics, quality and acknowledgement from others. Finally, the study shows that the Danish culture influences Danish women to assign high importance to their home and furniture and that they value Scandinavian furniture designs more than German women, as those designs can be claimed part of their national identity. The results complement existing theories and provide valuable information for future and present furniture and interior designers and companies in general and in particular for Scandinavians. The findings suggest that design practitioners should take the meanings and values as a starting point for product design and that an aesthetic look and feel is the crucial element for value prediction. Finally, it is recommended that Scandinavian designers should, next to their traditional functionality design approach, account for comfort and price. Lastly, this thesis presents possibilities for further research such as expanding the geographic scope or adopting a business perspective on value creation.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages114
SupervisorsJesper Clement