Swedish Cottage Style – Suppose you lived in a place where the climate was cold and overcast most of the year. Wouldn’t you want to cheer up you home with light? That’s exactly what Swedish cottage style intends to do for your living space!
Swedish style became very fashionable in America in the mid-1800s, when many Scandinavians immigrated to the United States. Ironically, many of them settled in the Upper Midwest, where the climate came closest to what they knew in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. So naturally in a land of cold gray winters and short days, they reproduced their light, bright, airy decorating style in a new land.
The first rule of Swedish cottage decorating is to think airy and pale, to reflect as much light as possible. There’s lots of white, offset by pastel blues, but no other colors on the walls, floors or moldings. Instead, pale greens, lavender, yellow and blue are used in decoration and accessories to bright up the room.
If you’ve ever been to a store or seen a catalog from IKEA, then you have a good idea of what Swedish furnishings look like. In general, wood is light and lines are simple and unadorned. Natural woods include birch, alder, white pine and beech. They may be stained, bleached, distressed or painted in white, cream or light grays. Sometimes the furniture is decorated with stenciled designs.
Table tops often have edges detailed in beads or carving. Couches are typically wood-framed with upholstered seats and loose back cushions. Slipcovers and loose cushions make it easy to change the look inexpensively.
Floors, like furniture, are also plain and without much decoration, although again stencils may be used to create shapes or stripes. Flooring also is usually wood, also distressed, bleached, pickled or whitewashed. Area rugs should be simple, such plain blue rugs with flat pile or loose weave.
Window treatments also are plain and simple. Molding around windows may be painted with pale blue and left uncovered if privacy isn’t an issue. Roman shades would be a good way to ensure some privacy. The shades could be flanked by light sheers or draped with white muslin or linen.
Swedish cottage style bedrooms may be casual or quite formal. A white draped canopy hung from a coronet or rings could crown the bed in your room. A matching padded headboard would finish off the look.
The simple elegance of this style makes it an ideal background for surprise elements that enliven the decor. For instance, a bedroom might be finished with an antique treasure box and a simple vase of white roses. Mirrors in every room bring added light reflection and keep away cabin fever in winter by making rooms seem bigger.
Faux framing is a unique element of Swedish design. Instead of putting a picture inside a frame, you simply paint a frame on the wall and hang the picture inside it. The only caution is to be sure that’s the exact spot where you want the picture.
For those who love calm simplicity with a touch of surprise, Swedish cottage can be the perfect decor.