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Sleek, Straight and Stylish

Creating Swedish Modern Living Spaces

The term Swedish Modern has been floating around design communities for years, but what exactly is the look, and where did it come from?

Swedish Modern is an international classification for the style of furniture made popular by Swedish artisans, like Carl Malmsten (1888-1972). Malmsten, who is considered to be the father of modern Swedish furniture, believed in design that reflected nature's simplistic lines and beauty.

Although most Swedish furniture can be categorized as modern, the original artisans that created the look took influence from the English arts and crafts movement, and their designs reflected the liberal socialist society that Sweden once was. This look can be used as a period d├ęcor, or it can be successfully combined with other pieces from the modern era. "Practical beauty" makes Swedish Modern easy to live with and ideal when a long lasting modern decor is your goal.

A few characteristics make this furniture period unique:

  • Sleek straight lines (representative of nature's harmony);
  • A lack of ornamentation;
  • The use of light woods, like walnut and teak (the perfect material to create curves and roundings);
  • Square or round tapered leg styles.

Woven fibers on chair seats add a subtle element of texture to an otherwise smooth simple design. Another element of surprise is the effective use of modern plastics in upholstery pieces. Whatever the material or line may be, Swedish Modern is as unique as the nature and society that inspired it.

Three Steps to Swedish Modern
If you're looking to incorporate Swedish Modern into your home, here's something to keep in mind. Although this style can be combined with pieces from traditional eras, like Chinese Chippendale and some Adams and Sheraton pieces, it is most effective when used exclusively within a modern design concept. You can obtain the Swedish Modern look in your living room by following these three steps.

Step 1: Combine the Swedish modern style with fabrics and accessories that compliment the lines of the furniture pieces. Geometric designs and solids are good choices for fabrics and area rugs. It will give the room interest via color and design while keeping with the minimal look of the style.

Step 2: Coordinate window treatments in ways that allow nature in. After all, the organic feel is deeply rooted in this style's history. Wooden blinds are a good choice for window treatments, but if fabric panels are desired, keep them gentle and solid in color.

Step 3: Arrange furniture so that it's conducive to friendly conversation and appropriate for the room size. If a sofa and lounge chair is all your room can fit, do not overstuff the room with additional seating. The idea is to stay within your design concept while fulfilling the room's seating needs. Worldwide furniture retailer, Ikea, has done more to popularize the look of Swedish Modern than any other furniture company. Remember a room does not have to be entirely done in one period. It can be a combination of styles from similar periods and ones that compliment each other through color, texture and style.

Your final design should be a reflection of you, while meeting the needs of your household. Nature is your muse in creating this look and will inspire you throughout this process. Swedish Modern will allow you to fashionably enjoy the look of a modern interior for years to come, while providing a versatile and exciting design concept.

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