Get the Swedish country Look With Chalk Paint

grey and white kitten sitting on blue green neoclassical table

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Swedish Country Style Color Palette

If you love the Swedish Country / Gustavian style, one of the best ways to get it is to use typical Swedish paint colors on your furniture. In this video I give a little background on how the Gustavian style developed from the 18th century French Neoclassical Style King Gustav III of Sweden fell in love with at the court of King Louis XVI of France.

It’s pretty easy to find second hand furniture at thrift shops and yard sales with Neoclassical shapes like fluted legs that is just waiting for the right paint job to transform into Gustavian furniture . I’ll show you a Gustavian Swedish paint palette from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to use to get the Gustavian / Swedish Country look with paint color by transforming an old, beat-up table into a cheerful, light-catching Swedish antique with ASCP Duck Egg Blue and Paris Grey. Other ASCP paint colors for a Gustavian/Swedish Country palette look include: Aubusson Blue, Svenska Blue, Swedish Pink, Old White, Pure, Original, Arles, Chicago Grey, Antibes, French Linen, and Chateau Grey.

Check out my YouTube video, linked right below here, for a brief history of the Gustavian Style and a guide for getting the look with chalk paint.

If you don’t want to watch the video, the transcript follows right here below.

Transcript

Hey this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com and today I’m going to show you how to get a Swedish Gustavian, Swedish Country, Scandi country look with chalk paint. So let’s get started.

What is the Swedish/Gustavian Look?

The Swedish look, if you’re not familiar with it, or the Gustavian Style,
what does that mean exactly. So King Gustav III of Sweden, he was king in like seven, in the 1770s kind of when we were having a revolution here and he went over to France and visited Louis XVI over at Versailles and he just fell in love with that French neoclassical style and when he went back home he wanted the same kind of furniture and the same kind of look. But he didn’t have as much cash as the French so he didn’t gild everything the way they did.

oil portrait of King Gustav the Third of Sweden
King Gustav III of Sweden

Um, they ended up using a lot of paint and in Sweden, they used a lot of light colored paint because it’s so dark there for so much of the year that a lot of their interior decorating is is designed to catch as much light as possible. And um, so that was how they refined that French neoclassical style. Lighter colors, and more paint and less gilding, um some even cleaner and more paired back lines.

light green wall cream doors bare wood floors yellow chair
Per Oof Forsberg, Stromsholm Castle


And also um when it got out into you know wider circulation in Sweden, not these fancy, uh fabrics as much as like, a simple check. And so, putting like a checked homespun fabric style, something like this, with um a gilded or painted chair sort of, it gives the Swedish country style or Gustavian style, uh, this high / low look which really fits so well with how we like to decorate today, how we live.

green gingham upholstered chairs, blue tiled stove, pink flower wallpaper
Ellgaard Holger, Parade Bedchamber, Svindersvik

Get Furniture with the Right Shape

So I had this old set, it was actually my great-grandmother’s. The shape – if you can find furniture, old furniture that, you know, obviously this is really beat up. I do not want to refinish it. It’s got all kinds of water stains and marks, and the veneer is chipping in spots, but the shape is great. It’s got this neoclassical shape.

What does Neoclassical Style Mean?

They would make the legs like this to imitate, you know, the Grecian columns. What is the neoclassical style? The neoclassical style got started in France and then spread out. It was because
they had discovered Pompeii and then other place in Italy, um, buried under that volcanic ash and so the world just went -people just went crazy, and they wanted to imitate everything that they saw,
from furniture to fresco to you – just that look – the neo- the classical look, hence neoclassical style.

watercolor of Pompeii atrium painted light green, red, and blue
Pompeii Atrium

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Colors for Swedish Country Style

Um today what I’m going to show you is duck egg blue. This is the color, it’s a green blue, exactly like a duck egg. This would have been a very typical color that they would have used, um in the Gustavian period. And then I’m also going to be adding some highlights with Annie’s Paris Grey. Right here, um, to this table, which is exactly how I did the chairs.

These are all of Annie’s colors and her other sort of Swedish colors would be Aubusson Blue right there, and Scandinavian pink, which is a great pink because it doesn’t have any of that baby pink in it. It’s a real earthy pink. Primer Red – no girly pink – Old Ochre, and then of course Pure, Original or Old White, maybe especially Old White. A lot of Scandinavian furniture is simply painted white. And she also has this new color which is close to Duck Egg but it’s bluer, whereas duck egg is greener, and that’s Svenska Blue.

List of colors good for a Swedish Country look
Swedish Country Color Palette

How to paint with Chalk Paint

Alright the first thing I’m going to do is paint this entire table in a coat of duck egg blue and then I’m going to highlight, go over and brush on, dry brush some highlights with Paris Grey.

I’ve got here Waverly Inspirations chalk paint brush and I got it because I really want Annie Sloan’s oval brush, but I just don’t want to spend that much money. This is about half the cost and it works pretty well if you want to see brush marks in your paint work. I’ve got a big one and then I’ve got this smaller one as well. They’re both fine really.
And then if you want a smoother finish, then I would use these Purdy brushes. This is a two and a half inch and this is a two inch and these are some of my favorites.

Purdy brushes are outstanding. They’re a little more expensive than the cheap brushes, but they give a really nice finish and I think I’m planning on using these for the legs because I want a very smooth look, so we’re going to get started with that.

Normally if I painted a chair or something I would turn the thing upside down. I just don’t want to turn this table upside down.
It’s too big and heavy so I’m just going to paint it from the legs up. Just
a little bit and I want to – I’m just going to cover the whole thing in a solid coat like so just brush it on. This paint has very good coverage. I don’t think it’s going to take more than a coat, especially since I’m going to go back and brush in some gray highlights.

This brush is really really great for getting into all of these
carved areas and just making sure the paint gets in there nice into the rosette and into these channels.

Oval chalk paint brush vs. 2-in Brush

I want to show you the difference in how it’s going to look. This is the oval Waverly chalk paint brush and you can see I’m brushing it on and I’m just going to paint in every which direction and you can see that you get a lot of texture. With my two-inch Purdy brush, painting in all directions, it’s a little bit smoother, there’s not as much chunk to it,
so it’s just going to be, I guess the word would be more refined.

I’ve linked some paint brushes here that I’ve found to be great tools for furniture painting (affiliate links).

More DIY resources for Swedish Country Style

f you’d like more on getting the Swedish Country look, I’ve made a video on how to add character and layers to your furniture pieces by dry brushing highlights and lowlights here. I’ve also got a video on how to get the perfect thin layer of wax over your chalk paint for that charming handmade look.

If you find yourself starting to be obsessed with all things Scandinavian, go even farther toward the Gustavian Swedish Country Style by going to my tutorial for making some gingham slipcovers for your dining room chairs.

Let me know what you think

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