Swedish interiors are famed for delicate, layered, neutral color palettes. “Swedish country color palette” make me think of soft, natural color palettes incorporating wood, white walls, bright but light colors. These seem to be the province of Scandinavian interior design.
Carl Larsson painted hundreds of pictures of his beautiful Scandinavian home, painted and decorated by himself and his wife, Karin, who was also a gifted artist and artisan. I think Larsson’s paintings of his Swedish country home are a trove of inspiration for Swedish interior design, Swedish country interiors, Scandinavian decor, farmhouse style, painted furniture, Gustavian furniture, Scandinavian furniture, Swedish style and design.
If you love Swedish Country style, Karin Larsson is an interior designer you want to follow! And happily, her husband Carl left us a gorgeous record of her creativity.
Please enjoy the video I made for you about creating a Swedish Country paint color palette from a gorgeous piece of classic art.
If you prefer to read, I’ve posted the transcript right after the video.
Hi, this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I wanted to take a Carl Larsson painting and pull out a beautiful Swedish Country color palette based on the colors in the painting. In Farrow and Ball paints and also in Sherwin-Williams. So here it is. I hope you enjoy.
So we’ve got this beautiful painting, At home in Solsidan, by Carl Larsson. It’s a painting of his home and it’s got a beautiful color palette. I pulled out a white and a gray and a red and a blue and a green.
Sherwin-Williams Swedish Country Color Palette
In Sherwin-Williams, I matched the colors to the following. I’ve linked each color here for easy reference.
Gold painted picture frames add beauty for pennies. Chalk paint, spray paint, acrylic paint, latex paint, craft paint, even milk paint or genuine gold leaf can work beautifully over inexpensive frames from the dollar store, Walmart, yard sales, or Goodwill. I love to paint picture frames because it’s a quick and easy way to add interest to a room. Painting an old frame is a perfect way to start that gallery wall you’ve been dreaming of. Start with one painted frame and add on as you find more, or go out to your thrift store or dollar store and buy all the frames you want to fill up a wall, and paint them all at once. If you’re lucky, you might find some charming antique frames and thrift stores or yard sales. If you’re not so lucky, metallic paint can do a great job. Paint will stick to an old wooden frame easily. It will work great over metal frames, too. But don’t pass up plastic frames. Paint can turn blah plastic into a beautiful frame.
I wanted some gold painted frames for my new cozy English style library. I had some old artwork in the form of posters, but posters were not going to fit my home décor vision.
Here is the video I made for you about turning cheap plastic frames into gold. If you prefer to read, I put the transcript right after the video down below. I added a supply list, too, for easy reference.
For this decor project, you will need:
For this decor project, you will need: A picture frame. Or picture frames. I used these from Walmart:
I wanted this room to look like that picture of Calke Abbey, this one here where there’s these big beautiful oil paintings and gorgeous antique gold frames. Only problem is, I don’t have big oil paintings and I don’t have gold painted frames. So what to do? Can I turn these super cheap frames from Walmart into something that will look like a million bucks in my new English country house library?
Hey, this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I am going to try to make the cheapest frames I could find at Walmart into something that looks like a beautiful, aged gold frame for my new library. So let’s get started.
Prepping the frames for gold paint
These are a little different from other frames you you you work these corners until the glass pops out. Okay yeah, okay perfect, so yeah you just you go around each corner and you just kind of push and then your glass comes out.
And it’s got a little cardboard back. I’m going to paint over my little uh, glass front frame. I’m gonna get the edge and then actually I am also gonna paint the side. When you are painting these kind of frames make sure that you paint on that edge and then also on the inside because just a little bit of this inside vertical side does show when you put your picture and glass in. I found that out the hard way by putting in my picture and glass and seeing that there was a little black line, so I had to take it all out – and it was a big mess – and go back over it.
Oka,y my 20 by 30 frame. I already went ahead and put the poster in there that I wanted in there because the plastic doesn’t seem to detach from the black frame. And I just didn’t want to, I tried to pop it out and it didn’t seem to want to go, and I didn’t want to run the risk of cracking it. And if I get any paint splatters I’ll just, you know, scrape them off. Or wipe them off with a bit of paper towel.
I am going to take a little sanding block and just kind of go over this super shiny plastic because i think that might help it grip a little better.
Basecoat is essential for metallic paint
So the first thing I’m doing is painting the base coat driftwood semi-gloss, which is what you’re supposed to paint as the base coat to the Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass. And it’s going okay on this super shiny plastic. It’s – it’s covering about as well as I would expect. Okay, so here is the frame after two coats of the Driftwood color base coat. It has stuck to the plastic pretty well. You can still see some of the black plastic frame shining through, but it’s nothing that I’m worried enough about to go over it a third time. Pretty – it was easy – I didn’t get any drips on my plastic, I mean my glass. I just used this, I think it’s a two inch Purdy angled brush, and I was able to stay on that edge and avoid getting on the plastic altogether, which is nice, but i had a rag here just in case. This is how it looks after one coat of the driftwood base coat. It sticks better to this plastic because it’s not as shiny as that other plastic and I don’t – I’m not even going to go over it a second time. This will be good enough. I’m trying to use just the corner of my brush so i don’t get the plastic. The laziest picture frame painting, just wanted to do a quick project. But no, seriously I think on these poster frames the plastic’s not even meant to pop out, you know, they’re just, they’re very, very inexpensive. This one was six or seven dollars.
Gold Painted Frames
And here are the finished products. Here’s the fatter frame with the – that was that shiny plastic and now it’s gold, not too shabby.
Of course it’s the same paint as I used up there on the trim, and again here’s the two Bruegel posters with their faux metal frames. The narrow little gold around the edge. I think they look pretty good.
Swedish Country Interiors have a distinct look. They are Gustavian style simplified. The Swedish interior is a Scandinavian style that works well for casual, hi / low decorating. It is a farmhouse style with a color palette of delicate blues and greens, reds, whites, and greys, clean lines, and Gustavian furniture.
I find Swedish interior design for country living and country houses to be some of the most beautiful and inspirational. I wanted to share ideas with you from three Swedish interior design experts. First, Carl Larsson, the painter, and his wife, Karin. Karin was also an artist. Together they designed an iconic family home. Second, Carol Glasser, an interior designer whose take on Swedish Country house design, and decor, will give you inspiration for a lifetime of decorating.
Here is the video I made for you about getting Swedish Country Style into your home. If you prefer to read, the transcript follows right after the video.
So I thought what I’d do is take two really inspirational people that have wonderful ideas that you could incorporate for Swedish Country Style. I wanted to show you the paintings of Carl Larsson and the interior design of Carol Glasser. These are two artists who really inspire me and I think they have a lot of amazing ideas for Swedish Country Style. So Carl Larsson first.
Two Icons of Swedish Country Style: Karin & Carl Larsson
Carl Larson was a Swedish painter and he lived in the late 1800s and he and his wife Karin – Karin was also an artist – and in 1888 they got a home. I think Karin’s dad gave it to them and it was a country house in Sweden. They had six or seven children and they lived in this house and they decorated it themselves in a very beautiful and artistic way and incorporating traditional Swedish style along with anything else that they found artistically interesting.
And Carl painted his family and his wife and the interiors of their home and he left tons of these paintings and they are a trove of ideas for Swedish Country Style. So I wanted to show you some of those and pull out the elements that make it so Swedish, and things that we can take and do in our house, and then all of a sudden you’re like, wow, Swedish Country Style in my house!
Swedish Country Interiors: Carol Glasser
And then also, intermixed with these Carl Larsson paintings, I want to show you some of the work of Carol Glasser.
Carol Glasser is an interior designer based in Houston, Texas. I find everything that I have ever seen her do to be the utmost in perfection. She seems to love the European country style. I’ve seen a lot of her French Country Style work via Joni Webb’s blog, Cote de Texas. I’ll link in the description below. Joni has three or four really great articles about Carol Glasser. I’ve linked them here:
And then Carol was gracious enough to give me permission to use some of the photographs from her website so that I can show you her Swedish Country Style. I wish that she had a book so I could look at it every day. I think everything she does is brilliant and if you are in love with French Country Style, Scandinavian Country Style, European Country Style generally, she is the interior designer for you.
13 Ways to the Get Swedish Country Style Look
13 elements that you could put one or all 13 into your home and add some Swedish Country Style.
Swedish Country Fabric
The first one is fabric. Checked fabric, striped fabric instantly give a Swedish look. tTere’s this, um, you can do any color of checks, like these gorgeous red and white ones here on this armchair in Carol Glasser’s home.
Here are some blue and white checks and a painting by Carl Larsson
Blue and white stripes. I would say blue green and white or blue and white stripes or checks would be quintessentially Swedish.
Here, though, you see yellow stripes, as well, so really any color. Here’s some more pictures of Carl Larsson’s house. These beautiful chairs covered with these little slip covers, some red stripes and red checks from Carol Glasser.
Sofas & Settees
Okay the second thing is the sofa or the settee. Get a sofa or sette with wooden carved legs that you can see and a very simple clean silhouette on top, just kind of like a straight line across.
Here’s one from a beautiful country house that’s a museum now in Sweden.
Swedish Country Chairs, Carved & Painted
Painted and carved woodwork. Just get any chair and paint it. You could add gilding.
Paint them white, paint them warm gray, and then, you know, cover the seat with a chair cover and checks. I have a tutorial on my blog about a tie on chair cover I am the worst most beginning sewer and I could do this project so you could too. Dining chairs all wooden, painted or not painted. This is one of the Swedish Royal Family’s historic palaces, Stromsholm. Note the beautiful weathered wood on the chairs.
And here is the drawing room of the Crown Prince’s bedchamber at Stromsholm Palace. It looks like the same type of chairs from the ballroom, above, but this time, painted yellow with gorgeous teal green upholstery.
Instead of a coffee table that is low kind of even or lower than your couch or chair, these tea tables that the Swedish tend to like to use come up higher. I tried this in my own living room after being inspired by this. I just dragged a table I had that was, you know, standard table height, over to my love seat just kind of like this here, and it is awesome, especially if you’re serving food. It’s easier than the coffee table actually and I really like how it looks because it looks a little different.
Half Moon Tables
Demilune, half moon tables that you can push up against the wall when they’re not in use.
Or bring out into the middle of the room like in this painting here. Fit them together to make one full table.
Blond Wood Floors
Bleached blonde wood floors. So very light wood. Paint it light or bleach it, or just get it finished in a light light stain or get it pickled somehow.
But I think traditionally in these old houses they wouldn’t put anything on the floor, they just put the boards down and left them to weather. Now you can see here this has a light stain on it, or you know there are different ways to finish the floors in this blonde look, but that is a quintessential Swedish look, the blonde floors. I think this is Svindersvik, if I’m saying it right. You can see the silvery floors. This is Stromsholm, another palace in Sweden. You can see the floors aren’t finished at all. I don’t even know if they oil them, or if they’re just left the way they are but the boards turn silvery over time.
Classic Swedish Flat Weave Rugs
Okay, flat weave rugs. The Swedish are really known for these.
I think it might have started because they didn’t have the money for the plush rugs with pile and they would make these flat weave rugs and they would traditionally be a runner like you can see here in Carl Larsson’s home.
And then if they wanted it to move around the room they just folded it over, you can see there and in this picture over by the shoes it’s just folded and then it goes on its way horizontal, they want to go vertical they folded it, and on it goes.
There it is again, so I think that’s a pretty cool idea. And then here’s just a beautiful striped larger flat weave rug in Carol Glasser’s home.
For beds, a canopy bed or a four poster bed. Painted wood with some carving, that would be a great way to add some Swedish style into your home as well.
Here’s a green – very simple bed painted green at Carl Larsson’s home ,and you can see through to his room with the canopy bed there.
Swedish Country Furniture Style
Okay, and then for the rest of your furniture, paint it. Look for furniture with little channels in it, like the Swedish cupboard carved and then with simple tapered legs.
So with channeled carving, or any other kind of carving, painted white or a light color and then tapered legs like you see that little blue night table, a little green, and this very simple bench with just this light greenish white color and simple tapered legs here. Again the settee, and there’s a little dresser in the corner with the little tapered legs and painted white. The channeled carving I’m talking about like on these chairs.
Crystal chandeliers are a very Swedish look. Here’s an example of a few. You obviously – you know you can buy antique chandeliers for really relatively cheap if you get lucky. You can also just go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and they’ve got tons of really nice ones, but it’s a nice pretty way to add some Swedish Country Style to your house. And there’s another one.
Swedish Country Window Treatments
What do you put on the windows? Swags, panels, or Swedish blinds.
So here you see some beautiful Swedish blinds, they’re so sheer.
Here’s some Roman shades which are not exactly the same as a Swedish blind.
Simple paneled curtains that go all the way to the floor, but nothing fussy, just a simple panel.
And then here are just like a swag that’s just simply – looks like tacked up over the window, or you could drape it over a curtain rod.
There’s some long simple panel curtains again.
Decoratively Painted Walls
You could paint or stencil your walls. Obviously Carl and Karin Larsson were artists and they probably, you know, they had all the skill, they used these beautiful paintings and swags and flowers on the walls.
There’s a little saying painted over that door, the door is obviously very painted.
Painted faux paneling, you can see here they’ve, at Carol Glasser’s home she’s just painted the wall in dark gray and a lighter gray and it looks like paneling.
Or this beautiful, I had to include this, this is another museum in Sweden, that beautiful painted kitchen.
And then here’s another example, some other examples of more elaborate, probably painted on a canvas and then tacked up to the wall or something like that.
But stencils will give that Swedish look for sure.
And then just a couple bonus ones. If you could afford to get a tile stove. Obviously it’s very cold in Sweden and at a certain point in time this technology came in and what happens is the the fire in there heats up these tiles and the tiles turn around and heat up the room and it’s more efficient than an open fireplace and also very beautiful. You can see all these decorative tiles so if you can get something like that somehow sourced for your house. Carol Glasser seems to have one in her house. I don’t know what her source is, maybe I’ll do another video on that in the future.
And then last but not least, the Mora Clock. I think if you are around Swedish Country Style at all, you’ve seen these clocks. Again, you can get reproductions pretty easily. You can also get the real antiques pretty easily – relatively easily. They’re kind of expensive. But a great beautiful shape there, and quintessentially Swedish.
Thank you so much for watching my video about 13 elements of Swedish Country Style. If you liked this video, would you mind giving me a thumbs up below? I’m so excited to keep making more videos about Swedish Country Style, French Country Style, and English Country Style and I am at oldworldfarmhouse.com. Thank you so much!
My son and I were inspired to paint this “Paris café” bed to be like these beautiful chairs and tables at this Paris café. Enjoy the video. If you prefer to read, the transcript follows below.
I call this the Paris café bed because I got the idea for the colors from this beautiful picture of a café – outdoor café somewhere in Paris.
This was a bed frame that we got for free and my son saw it and he said, “I want that bed:” because he’s on the top bunk and he’s tired of being on the top bunk. So I said, well okay, why don’t we paint it? because it was pretty ugly and he loves red.
So he said he wanted to paint it red and I had some odds and ends left over of red paint, so we just got that out.
Now if you don’t want to get a headache running around after all those paints and you just want to go to Sherwin-Williams, I color matched them to I would say Sherwin-Williams Gladiola for the orangey red and Sherwin-Williams Antique Red for that darker red trim. And then of course the Valspar Brilliant Metals Aged Brass stays the same.
If you wanted to do this with Annie Sloan paint I would say Emperor’s Silk would be great for the brighter main red and then Primer Red for that darker red trim would be what I would recommend. So here it is, the Paris café bed. And my son, who’s something of a Francophile, is loving it.
If you like this video, please consider giving me a thumbs up down below. Thank you so much for watching. I can’t wait to make more videos about French, Swedish, and English country styles. Bye.