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Swedish country style

"A home is not dead but living, and like all living things must obey the laws of nature by constantly changing." In some ways, Carl Larsson, godfather of Swedish interior design – and quoter of this quote – was ahead of his time... others, he was simply true to age-old human habits. Either way, his influence lives on, and nowhere more than at Ikea, which has always referenced its homeland's native artist and designer as one of its founding inspirations. I was reminded of this in a new post over at the lovely Canadian blog, Poppytalk, today, which previews Ikea's February focus on Swedish country style. Here are some highlights.

Älmsta chairs, £70 

Åkerkulla textiles range 

Promenad dinnerware, £3-4 a piece. (All these products hit Ikea next month.)

But this look is more personal to me than that. My dear mum has been a huge inspiration to me in the world of interiors – and when I was growing up, the book of Carl Larsson paintings that she treasured was like a styling and shopping bible to her. Our end-of-terrace Victorian house stuck out from the other houses on our little street with its tongue and groove kitchen, hard floors, junk shop everything, layers of patterned textiles and soft, organic tones. It looked, in short, uncannily like the images below...

(My mum also – much to my embarrassment at the time – used to hunt out antique clothes for me to wear, so while my friends were wearing the really cool Mr Men socks I begged for, I'd be drowning under broderie Anglaise pinafores, worn over Laura Ashley florals, woolly tights and Kickers – just like the girl in the window below, though I'd also have been scowling at the indignity of it all.)

But back to interiors: with this new range at Ikea, perhaps that early 80s fancy for a particular 19th century look is back... Does Larsson's home, painted by the man himself below, inspire you? (If it does, just don't be tempted to dress your children to match.)

You can buy sets of 8 Carl Larsson postcards featuring these paintings and more from Cafe Press. And you can read more about Larsson's influence on Ikea in this Independent feature, as well as some more general Larsson history at the V&A, which published this book on Carl and his wife Karin, whose teamwork created their distinctive style.


  1. Love the plates, might treat myself to some of those when they hit the shelves. However, the last time I tried to get plates home from IKEA I managed to break the lot! Love the story about the way your mum used to dress you.

  2. Just need the aged tiling to set them off...