A friend of mine recently asked for my advice regards to a light fixture in her home. Although the house is very beautiful with many architectural details, it features dark wooden mouldings with canvas ceilings that create decorating difficulties. My excitement to solve this design dilemma turned into a whirlwind of research. Which in turn put me on a path to learning more about the Swedish design style known as Gustavian. This style is quite popular and the name is thrown around often, so I thought it was important that I share what I learned.
The fusion of Swedish taste and styles imported by King Gustav III during his reign from 1172 – 1792 account for the majority of the decorative influences of that period in Sweden. The look that gathered influences from various European courts, mainly France, Italy and England became known as the Gustavian style. Gustavian furniture often possesses Neoclassical design elements, with straight legs and elegant lines. While noble households used expensive woods like mahogany, the painted finishes were more affordable and in turn became known as distinctly Swedish. These lighter finishes often painted in white, grey, blue or yellow also add a sense of light to Swedish homes during their long winters.
Today, the Gustavian style is quite popular as the restrained design details suite modern lifestyle and the gathered influences also reflect the modern taste of eclectic interiors. With a few key pieces of furniture and attention to the design elements, Gustavian decor is easily attainable. In part II, I will share products that I sourced, which evoke the Gustavian style.