Sunday, April 1, 2012

Swedish Happy

Happy Monday, everybody! Did you have a nice weekend? Ours was good. We needed to relax a little. Sam has been working cuh-razy hours. He still worked from home some on Saturday. It just wasn't the weekend to try to tackle much on the room. Poor man needed a break! We did get a little more painting done. But, that's about it. Not much progress to report.

So, today I have a design-type post instead of a progress-type post. It's been a while since I've written about what's inspiring me these days. I thought it might be fun.

We're getting to a decent foundation in a number of rooms, and it's time to start working on layering and adding color. I've noticed this past year, as I've looked for examples of strong color accents in otherwise neutral spaces, that I keep being drawn to Scandinavian rooms. In particular, Swedish. Not necessarily Swedish design (which tends to be quite modern), but the happy, family-friendly, comfortable, Swedish art of making a home.

Sometimes Swedish homes go too modern for me or too eccentric or a bit too minimalist. But, when I see a Swedish home that resonates with me, it really resonates with me.

The background is almost always pure white with some degree of black and gray in the mix. High contrast neutrals create a canvas for all the high energy color and pattern that get added with subsequent layers.

And these homes are certainly not short on vivid, bold color. It's pretty daring, really. They use pure hues... no muddy, nondescript shades. Red. Green. Blue. Pink. Yellow. Clear, bright color. I know the colors are thought out and planned, but they seem so beautifully nonchalant in the finished effect. They're "loud", but at the same time they aren't. More like a huge smile and heartfelt HELLO! than like a jarring yell. They are exceptionally friendly when piled altogether in a white room.

These homes are lovely to me. Ordered, but not uptight. Graphic, but not in your face.

They take risks, but the risks are fun-loving.

You get the sense that they made choices based on what made them smile, not based on rules or someone else's aesthetic. Or, even, what would look best. In the end, it turns out that what made them smile magically just kind of wound up looking best. It's all rather accidental looking.

The rooms are very personal and laid back. I love the lights up year round. We kept our living room snowflake lights up until the beginning of March this year because I loved the twinkle in the evenings. Why not have indoor lights year round if they make you smile?

I love this photo above. How fun!

And wow. That's some serious yellow. I don't know that I could handle it in a main living space, but maybe in a laundry room or half bath? And look - it's paired with bright red!? But it somehow doesn't seem too much. It just seems happy. I think it's all the white giving your eyes some relief.

Right about now, those who have been reading this blog for a while are scratching their heads and saying "wuh??" - because these rooms are not really like those I've mentioned before as inspiration for this house. They're really different, actually. Not at all in line with Things I've Loved For Over A Decade.

But, I'm okay with that. Because most of the ways color is used in these rooms can be very easily changed. A blanket. A painted chair. Curtains. Flowers. Accent decorations. This is not major longterm commitment to bold color... the color isn't (often) on the walls or the sofa or the flooring. It shows up in ways you can play around with, you know? Ways you can easily change and actually have fun with.

In our sidebar, I've written that our (evolving) style is "firmly rooted in tradition... but with an element of unexpected FUN to keep it from becoming too stuffy or formulaic." I do not plan on making any of our rooms look Swedish like the photos in this post. But, these rooms are one of the primary influences behind the unexpected fun component I would like our home to have. Like lights up year round. And the kid's art. And a chalkboard wall. And party decorations that I never take down.

Those things all make me smile. And help me not take this house or myself too seriously. That's also part of making the house welcoming and comfortable, I think. It's not so serious and self-important.

What do you think about the photos in this post? Could you see some of this fun, light-hearted style working with a traditional backdrop? Or is this all just way too much for your tastes?

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