swedish country style: 13 Key Elements to The look

striped settee, striped rug

What is Swedish Country Style?

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.

brown wingback settee
Esbjorn at Study Corner

Here’s one from a beautiful country house that’s a museum now in Sweden.

Red Gingham Settee
Svindersvik, Sweden. Photo by Einarspetz

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.

brown wood chairs
Strömsholm Palace. Photo by Dick Norberg. Copyright: Kungl. Hovstaterna.

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.

Tea Tables

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.

wood settee, round table
When the Children Have Gone to Bed, Carl Larsson

Half Moon Tables

Demilune, half moon tables that you can push up against the wall when they’re not in use.

half moon table, white panel curtains
Holiday Reading, Carl Larsson

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.

blond wood floor, checked bench
Fullersta Farm, Sweden. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.

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.

blond wood floor, painted faux paneling
At Home, Carl Larsson
blond wood floor, blue tile stove
Tollin, Josabeth Sjoberg
gray painted chairs red gingham upholstery
Svindersvik Manor. Photo by Einarspetz.
pale wood floor
Stromsholm Castle By Dick Norberg, Copyright Kungl. Hovstaterna
Stromsholm Ballroom Chairs
Stromsholm Ballroom Chairs. Photo by Dick Norberg. Copyright Kungl. Hovstaverna

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.

striped settee, striped rug
Cosy Corner. From A Home 26 Watercolours by Carl Larsson
two half moon tables, striped rug
At Home at Solsidan, Carl Larsson
rug, wood floor, painted faux paneling
At Home, Carl Larsson

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.

Poster Beds

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.

green bed
Cock-a-doodle-do, it’s seven o’clock, Carl Larsson

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.

green bed, blue nighttable
Brita’s Forty Winks, Carl Larsson
blond wood floor, checked bench
Fullersta Farm, Sweden. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.
blue and green Swedish Country style chairs
Swedish Style Dining Chairs, copyright Kathleen Monaghan

Crystal Chandeliers

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.

half moon table, white panel curtains
Holiday Reading, Carl Larsson

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.

crystal chandelier, white swag
A Day of Celebration, Fanny Brate

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.

green bed
Cock-a-doodle-do, it’s seven o’clock, Carl Larsson

There’s a little saying painted over that door, the door is obviously very painted.

green bed, blue nighttable
Brita’s Forty Winks, Carl Larsson
striped rug
Between Christmas and New Year, Carl Larsson
rug, wood floor, painted faux paneling
At Home, Carl Larsson

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.

blue painted kitchen
Tureholm Palace Kitchen Photo by Holger Ellgaard

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.

floral painted walls
Sturehov Castle Ottiliana’s Bedroom. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.
painted wall murals
Stromsholm Castle. Photo Dick Norberg. Copyright Kungl. Hovstaterna
painted murals, blue tile stove
Sturehov Castle. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.

But stencils will give that Swedish look for sure.

Tile Stoves

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.

blue tile stove
Fullersta Farm Blue Tile Stove. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.
blond wood floor, blue tile stove
Tollin, Josabeth Sjoberg
painted murals, blue tile stove
Sturehov Castle. Photo by Holger Ellgaard.
tile stove
Carpenter and Painter, Carl Larsson
rug, wood floor, painted faux paneling
At Home, Carl Larsson

Mora Clocks

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.

mora clock
Mora Clock. Photo by Bengt A Lundberg
Mora Clock
Mora Clock. Söderlångviks Museum Finland. Photo by Johan Fredriksson

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!

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