Interior designs: ‘The modern interpretation subdues excesses’
Sympathetic to this year’s nostalgic approach to interior decor, Swedish Gustavian style is all about soft colours and mellow decoration, juxtaposing the elaborate and plain.
With its genesis in the 18th-century French décor so beloved of the francophile king Gustave III, the modern interpretation of Gustavian style subdues rococo excesses and reworks the look with a fresh, clean pattern and palette. Whereas a huge French armoire with curves and carvings imposed itself on a space, the Gustavian equivalent painted in soft blue-grey is just as decorative but much gentler. Which means that today’s unfashionable Victorian and Edwardian pieces – painted and distressed in matt pastels or washed in sea green or grey – capture the look admirably.
Blue-grey, palest pink and soft white are signature shades. Glassware and crystal-drop chandeliers reflect light, while touches of verdigris ground the scheme. Reinterpreting the style needs a careful approach to avoid a room appearing cold. To update and warm the airy, almost translucent, grey blue freshness of Gustavian style, add crisp rust red, creamy taupe and rich blue checked or striped soft furnishings. Painted or limed tongue and groove panelling with textured wood, delicate lace and simple carving help dispel any chill, adding character and depth to a predominantly pastel scheme.
Elegant and romantic, Gustavian décor suits most homes and rooms. A lick of paint on scruffy furniture, stencilled decoration on plain walls, slipcovers on sofas with new cushion covers create an inexpensive makeover. Add pretty lampshades and translucent woodwork, and the look is immediately Carl Larsson for the 21st century.
• Pat Elliott, The Borders Design House. Visit our website for design services, courses and workshops. Start a new career as a Homestyle Advisor or learn to ‘Be Your Own Designer’ with our distance-learning interior design course (07765 057409, www.thebordersdesignhouse.co.uk)
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East