After cleaning up the lush fullness of the holiday season, I’m inspired by the calm beauty of Gustavian style design (or Swedish style). Its clean and fresh sensibility is perfect for decluttering. Everything seems purposeful and beautiful. Which is just what I yearn for after all the excess of the holidays. Here are 5 tips to create the perfect Gustavian style for your design.
Start with a clean slate. Clean up and improve your storage. Find a place for everything and what doesn’t fit or you aren’t using should be donated or recycled.
Gustavian and Swedish style lean on a blue and white color scheme, but don’t be afraid to tweak that. White will work with anything so work with colors you love. Yellow/white, green/white or even a rose red/white combo would be beautiful. Take a look at the red and white floorcloth below.
Painted furniture is essential to Gustavian design. Dragged with soft antiqued colors, furniture, trim or cabinetry benefit from a hand painted finish. Add a pinstripe in an accent color or a metallic for some sparkle. Keep sheens to a minimum – no high gloss here. Seal furniture with a dead flat urethane, or apply a waxed finish. Find more ideas in our painted furniture portfolio.
Think about adding a gesso patina like on this monogrammed desk and the bedframe.
Take a look at this hall table for Marika Meyer Interiors. The top is painted with a faux mabre, the base has a sage green, gesso finish with silver leaf accents. Gustavian design celebrates hand painted finishes and faux finishes with exquisite style. You’ll find very painterly versions of faux marbre and faux bois (faux marble and faux wood). So, instead of a very literal style, Gustavian hand painting has a more poetic or artistic style. Painted marble can be more creative or dramatic than a real marble.
Include painted floors or floorcloths in your Gustavian design. Patterns can be in natural wood tones and simplified designs, like this Octagonal Key floor. Here is a guide to help you get ready for painted floors, and to care for your floors after they’re painted, Guide To Spectacular Painted Floors.
Showcase your natural fiber rug with a border, like this gilded Greek Key painted for a Mary Douglas Drysdale project. You can see a peek of the Gustavian flower in the field area of the floor.
Or make it more painterly like this 10′ floorcloth in a soft red color designed to go under a formal dining room table. Floorcloths are easy to care for, find more here: How To Care For Your Canvas Floorcloth.
A beautiful mural or hand painted walls will give your design real Swedish style. A botanical mural would be lovely with trailing branches and leaves, maybe a few birds.
Or paint the walls with a boiserie technique, by panelling the walls with hand painted borders. These accent walls are painted with pumped up colors for a more contemporary impact.
Add artistry to the architecture with a painted border like these doors or around a chandelier.
What do you have planned for your Gustavian design project? We’d love to see!