Elements of Style: Swedish Design

As I’ve been writing this blog and doing more research on interior design, I’ve found myself being drawn to Swedish decorating.  It always looks so CLEAN and FRESH and CALMING.  I’m never going to be a minimalist, but I wondered, what lessons could I learn from Swedish design that I could apply to my own style?

{this living room exemplifies a ‘typical’ Swedish living room}

 {design elements found throughout Swedish interior design – past & present}

Here are 5 elements in this room that appear in many Swedish spaces:

1. Huge windows – This is the trickiest to improvise. Many American homes, especially in the northern part of the country, don’t have large windows. But notice that this window is completely bare – no shade, no curtains. That’s one way to let more light in! And in a ‘public’ room like a living room, it’s a feasible option.

2. White walls – Almost every single Scandinavian room that I’ve seen has white walls. That’s a cheap, easy fix for anyone’s space!

3. Comfy sofa – One might argue that every, or at least most, cultures have comfortable seating. While this is true, I think that Scandinavians do it particularly well because of the emphasis on form AND function.  No settees or stiff, formal seating here! And with an Ektorp sofa at Ikea selling for a mere $399, it’s a very attainable chic.

4. Light wood floor and area rugs – The Swedes LOVE wood floors. In fact, I’ve never noticed carpet in any Swedish room.  And in general, wood floors are either a white wash, such as in this room, or a very light shade of natural wood.  Because the floors can get cold, and tend to be a neutral wood color, Swedes almost always have an area rug. Having a white rug on white wood, like in this room, is a bit less common of a look. More typical would be to have a colorful rug. Although it doesn’t lend an colorful accent to the room, you can tell that its texture helps soften and warm the room a bit.

5. Natural wood furniture – Witnessed by the fact that Swedes almost always have wood floors, one can tell that they appreciate the natural look of wood. In this living room, there’s a low wood chest on the far side of the room, as well as a tabletop, in bare wood. Especially in this time of super-modern office blocks and new construction homes, there’s something really nice about bringing a bit of raw nature into the home.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home a bit this summer, these are just a few ideas on how to open things up and let a little Swedish in!

{photo of living room via Brave Home Design}


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