So That Your Design Is: Swedish

So That Your Design Is: Swedish

What it is: Swedish interior decorating includes multiple nuances, from the neoclassical-influenced Gustavian appearance to the more basic Swedish farmhouse approach. Yet at their origin, each of the branches of decor discuss common characteristics: a blend of casual, elegant, rustic and elegant, a hot and cheerful sensibility, and a fresh-faced appeal that’s helped to propel this style to renewed popularity.

Why it works: Swedish style is straightforward, clean and very low maintenance. It’s unassuming yet never boring. It draws heavily on crowd-pleasing elements like white and blue tones, wide windows and light forests — a recipe for likable, livable style.

You will love it if … you’re able to construct an Ikea bookcase in 10 minutes flat. You crave the peace and solitude of a gray, snowy day. You’re a pro at mixing pastels with no Easter egg influence. You captivate your children with Nordic fairy tales. You read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series in a single sitting.

Howard Bankston & Post

Style Secret: Blue and White

Swedish winters are long, dark and dull, so is it any wonder that Swedes have historically turned to mild, uplifting colors to get them during the cold months? A hefty dose of cream and white, the greatest Swedish colour, helps to bounce light around and infuse a little artificial summer. Blue runs a close second — dabs of azure, lapis and Wedgwood bring in a sign of the skies and sea. Use them to carry on the airy texture.

How Swede it is: This room, punctuated with authentic Swedish antiques, typifies the palette in its best. A touch of blue in the faience fireplace tiles, which themselves are a common design detail, and in the accents brings warmth and depth into the white walls and blond woods.

Howard Bankston & Post

Style Secret: Natural Light

Light can be a precious commodity for much of the year in Sweden. Broad windows, unobscured by heavy draperies or blinds, get the most out of what sun there’s to stream inside. Hang expansive mirrors and layer in crystal and glass accent pieces to enhance light as far as you can.

How Swede it is: In this dining and living area, windows are mounted in a variety of angles to catch sun exposure from every direction. Sparkling chandeliers add a top note of warmth that helps to brighten the space, and polished floors reflect the pure lighting.

Style Secret: Pale Woods

Dark, heavy woods like mahogany and walnut would drag down the buoyancy of that white. Instead, go lighter: birch, alder, white walnut and other paler species, mixed and matched to floors, ceiling beams and furniture. Bleached or pickled forests look pitch perfect, or you can use a sheer white stain or paint to find a similar impact. If you like, add a bit of stenciled detailing — a popular accent in Swedish state fashion.

How Swede it is: This dining area nimbly marries several whites, light browns and light grays for an impact that’s silent but in no manner dull.

Brian Dittmar Design, Inc..

Style Secret: Canopied Beds

Gracefully draped beds are a hallmark of Swedish boudoirs. The traditional canopy takes a slightly different kind: swags of cloth attached to a coronet or cornice, or hung from the ceiling and parted within the headboard. You can carry this approach beyond the master bedroom, also — it looks just as suitable over a daybed or an overscale chaise in a guest room or office.

How Swede it is: Swedish beds are normally crafted of easy, light forests, perhaps with a little of stenciled or carved detailing, and this one is a classic example. Like most furnishings in this fashion, it is coated in pastel paint that elevates the appearance. Plus, the warm yellow tones lend a slice of sun that will be welcome in any Scandinavian space.

Style Secret: Open Space

Simplicity drives the aesthetic. Open space streamlines the overall texture of a house, provides the feeling of breathing room and helps to relieve the oppressive atmosphere that can set in during those dark winters. When warm (well, warmer) weather does arrive and the doors and windows are thrown wide, openness helps breezes circulate as economically as you can.

How Swede it is: The dining area here signifies a slightly more modern spin on Swedish decoration, but its expansive feel is a significant reason that it stays true to the style’s character. Ceiling beams painted the exact same colour as the ceiling visually raise the space, while blond wood flooring appears to elongate.

Style Secret: Mora Clocks

No single slice instantly conveys Swedish style as well as the Mora clock. All these charmers possess a fanciful backstory: During a challenging 18th-century period from the farm town of Mora, the story goes, the farmers turned their attention from crops to clockmaking so as to scratch out a living. Although their production dropped as the 19th century waned, they’re still ticking away in the center of Swedish fashion.

How Swede it is: Mora clocks are as individual as chambers — some are plain, some carved, some painted. Start looking for them at antiques shops and markets that focus on Nordic products, or you can even have one custom crafted with all the embellishments you’d like.

Christie Thomas

Style Secret: Clean-Lined Chairs

Swedish furniture has a simple and low-maintenance, yet still tasteful, allure. Crisp lines and easy profiles predominate, and the pieces that most exemplify the appearance are traditional upholstered benches and straight-back sofas. Even though you may see a couple of curves or a bit of carved edging, they’re never fussy or overblown.

How Swede it is: The controlled settee and seat inside this space complement the low, unassuming mattress and the subtle melange of patterns. A bolster pillow (another normally Swedish signature) picks up the style of the mattress shams and softens the settee.


Style Secret: Legitimate Handicrafts

Mora clocks do not have a lock on the crafting convention. Cottage industries have flourished all over the nation, from painted roosters to braided wheat and whittled wood tchotchkes. Sprinkle these accents throughout your house to cap off the decoration with Swedish country-inspired aplomb.

How Swede it is: Rustic, brightly colored Dala horses, revealed in this nursery arrangement, have their origins in the Swedish Dalarna region. Traditionally they were intended as children’s toys, but their sweetly simple charm translates to every room in a Swedish-style house.

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