Scandinavian style finds its roots over 200 years ago during the reign of King Gustav III. While traveling in Europe, he was so taken with the neo-classical furniture and décor so popular in France during Louis XVI reign in the late 1700s that he ordered his furniture makers to copy the style. The people of Sweden readily adopted the new style and the Swedish Gustavian style was born. Later, Swede Carl Malmsten in the early 20th century popularized the Swedish style we know today which combines modern elements with antiques and reproductions. The weather of Scandinavia also plays a role in the development of the style; long dark winters with little natural light necessitated the need to create light and airy interiors.
Image Above via theswedishfurniture.com
This traditional Scandinavian style living room is decorated with delicate, ornate, light and airy furnishings which are indicative of the early Swedish style.
Traditional Scandinavian interiors are replete with pale-hued furnishings, floors and walls which all work together to brighten the Scandinavian home’s interior. Most everything is painted, bleached or stained from the furniture to the walls in light pinks, blues, greens, grays, yellows and white. Fun accents of red and gold add to the brightness of the décor. Furniture is painted, bleached or lightly stained and has clean lines and sensuous curves with tapered legs. Wood furniture is made from alder, beech, birch and white pine. Delicately carved designs are common on fluted furniture legs, tables and mirrors. Walls are painted in white, pale colors or wallpapered. Patterns tend to be stripes and soft florals on a white background. Stenciling is also popular. Decorative objects are ornate and often made with silver or glass.Image Above via theswedishfurniture.com
The dining room pictured here shows the heavy French influences of Louis XVI on Scandinavian interior design.
The Scandinavian modernist tradition emerged in the early 20th century with designers stepping away from more ornate styling and concentrating more on function. Influenced heavily by the English Arts and Crafts movement, modern Scandinavian furniture is less ornate with sleek straight lines in light woods with round or tapered legs. Pure white interiors are common with accents of crystal and gold or silver.
Image Above via homemoderns.com
This contemporary Scandinavian living room shows the straight lines and sleek designs of modern Swedish styling. Furnishings lack ornamentation so popular of traditional design.
Today, many Scandinavian designers mix the traditional with the contemporary such as the eclectic interior designs of Stockholm-based interior design firm, Svenskt Tenn. They are on the forefront of one of the hottest trends—maximalism—rooms filled with bold accents, unique furniture and interesting textiles. They are well-known for mixing modern and traditional Swedish styling for an eclectic design.
Image Above via wetweekend Flickr.com
The fun and bright designs of the maximalism trend as photographed by Johan Carlson. Furnishings are traditional and contemporary, patterns are bold and brightly hued and expansive.White walls set off the furnishings and add another layer of light to the room.
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While you’re here, check out our other style guides below: