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How to Achieve Sleek Swedish Style

There’s more to Stockholm’s decor aesthetic than clean, crisp lines. Scandi design expert Frida Ramstedt (The Interior Design Handbook) shares the straightforward Swedish formula.

modern cozy swedish dining room with flowered wallpaper, wooden table and bench seats
If you like simple design with a side of happy, colorful pattern, take inspiration from Stockholm, Sweden.

The typical Scandinavian look is characterized by a clean, stripped-down aesthetic and innovative solutions, says Ramstedt. There is a difference, though, between the traditional heyday of mid-century modern and the New Nordic look arising in Stockholm.

“Mid-century is extravagant, sober, and exclusive, while the younger design scene is the opposite—simple and functional, playful and colorful, good-value-for-your-money furniture,” Ramstedt says.

Look for brands that sell stateside, like MENU, House Doctor, and, of course, IKEA. “Currently hyped” Stockholm stores show Swedes’ passion for pattern, she notes: “We’re talking bold, clear colors and contrasts. It would surprise anyone who thinks of Scandinavian design as being totally streamlined.”

Also trending? Sustainability. “The Greta Effect has reached the interior design scene,” says Ramstedt. “What are the objects made of? How have they been produced? Where will it all go once the furniture returns to the ecosystem?”

That thoughtfulness is reflected in experimentation with recycled materials, particularly plastic and polyester; but also, simply “honest materials that are what they claim to be have received a huge upswing,” she says.

To get the Stockholm look, start with these ready-to-ship recommendations from Ramstedt, a mix of Swedish classics, colorful accents, and eco-friendly constructs.

colorful teheran cushion

Cushion Teheran

Dreamed up in the 1940s by Austrian-born Swedish architect and designer Josef Frank, this linen throw pillow ($175) shows the madcap, maximalist side of Scandi design. Its eye-catching colors and striking nature-inspired print will add a serious pop to any sofa.

white IKEA PS cabinet

IKEA PS Cabinet

A simple silhouette available in neutral white or bolder brights (red, cobalt), this cabinet ($99) is a versatile storage piece: Use it as a media console in the den (there’s a cord cutout underneath) or a sideboard in the dining room.

mushroom table lamp in red

Örsjö Mushroom Lamp

The iconic mid-century mushroom lamp has seen a resurgence of late on Instagram interior design pages. Try the trend for yourself with this enamel table light ($600) created by Swedish designer Matti Klenell for Örsjö, available in crisp white or Rowanberry red for a pop of color.

swedese lamino chair

Swedese Lamino Chair

Made in 1956 by famed Swedish designer Yngve Ekström, the Lamino lounger (starting at $2,880) is a symbol of timeless Scandi cool. Those clean contours come in your choice of wood (beech, oak, walnut) and comfy sheepskin upholstery.

black and white menu bottle spice grinders

Menu Bottle Grinder

A polished take on good ol’ salt and pepper shakers, this spice grinder ($80 for two) has a rubberized exterior for easy gripping and a powerful ceramic mechanism inside, so you can pulse not only seasonings but also grains, nuts and seeds, even dried berries.

red and blue stockholm illustration

Looking for more Scandi design inspo? Pick up Ramstedt’s definitive guide, The Interior Design Handbook, available at bookstores or on amazon.com.

By Christina Izzo | Photograph by Bjorn Wallander/Otto | Illustration by Amrita Marino | Product photographs courtesy of the brands

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