The Scandinavians are well known for their distinct and innovative sense of design, and this is certainly one of the reasons I was most excited to journey North. Before this trip my personal encounters with Swedish design were fairly limited to the mismatched Hanna Anderson outfits in which my mother dressed me regularly until the age of eleven. While I’d like to think my tastes have evolved beyond the stripe-on-inverted-stripe aesthetic of my onetime go-to label, I found that much of the same playful attitude imbues Swedish decor in the home. Here are some of the shops from which I found it the most difficult to not shoplift:
Far and away the most beautiful store I visited in Stockholm, this enchanting world of decor was described by our Swedish guide as the “anti-Ikea.” The description was apt; for everything Ikea is bare-boned, minimal, and mass produced, the goods here are fanciful, ornate and elegant. Unfortunately, it is also everything Ikea is not in regards to market-cornering pricing. One day I’ll be able to afford a calfskin bench, but until then my Instagrams will have to tide me over.
Leave it to the Swedes to create a festive contemporary update to Grandparents’ Beach House chic.
These lampshades are so beautiful I’d wear them as hats. If I were a trendy Swede I could pull it off.
The world’s cutest credenza/my dream bar cart.
If I ever had a Wild West themed room, this would be in it. If I ever had an anything-themed room, this would be in it.
The stylish Swedish women behind the counter were none too amused when I inquired about taking up residence in this textile room.
While I salivated over botanical prints and teak accented furniture at Svenskt Tenn, Swedish ceramic maven Bruka offered some tastes of Stockholm design actually within my price range annual income. Here, the playful, child-like side of Swedish design, à la Hanna Andersen was displayed in all it’s glory. Simple, functional ceramic containers of all sizes lined the store’s floor-to-ceiling shelving, surrounding tables of gorgeous tools for tasks for which you never before realized tools were required. A Copper nailhead coathooks? Genius! Heart-shaped tea strainer? Absolute necessity! Enamel watering cansin all colors of the rainbow? One of each, please and tack. Luckily they have a website, so when I inevitably regret not picking up a brightly colored indoor mailbox, or a set of bowls labeled for specific snacks, I can right my error by the graces of modern technology.
Bowls for all the important things: chips, popcorn and snacks.