The Rustic Countryside Style
As we are diving deeper into what characterizes Scandinavian Style and Design there is a topic we need to cover. It’s the different styles available within the Scandinavian Style. As with any niche, once you start to look a little closer you notice the little differences within the niche. The one we will be focusing on today is the Rustic Countryside Style.
These photos are by the talented Linda Haglund, also known as knorkan – a Swedish Photographer and content creator. Apart from having a stunning home she also has the most beautiful flower garden I’ve ever seen.
The other Scandinavian Sub Style
Just for you to be aware of what the two different Scandinavian styles and their sub styles are – here’s a quick little overview.
- The Rustic Countrysider (“The Minimalists” or “The Mix & Matchers”)
- The Sleek Modernist (“The Light & Airy” or “The Dark & Moody”)
Don’t look at these two styles and their inherent sub styles as constant “Either Or” categories but rather as a horizontal scale. One side of the scale of the sleek modernist for example will be a lot lighter and more airy, while the other side will have a darker and moodier look, and then there will be all sorts of combinations in between. Turning them into groups like this just makes it easier to talk about and show examples.
I absolutely LOVE each and every one of these styles with their own unique expressions and I can’t wait to share more about them all.
But for today, let’s dive into the Rustic Countryside Style shall we?
A big core value for this style is a focus to live a simple and somewhat slow life. It also has a deep love and appreciation of nature and what it provides in both beauty and nourishment.
What signifies this style?
What is signifying the Rustic Countryside Style is that a lot of the pieces could be found and put together by going to a couple local yard sales in the countryside. You’d often see the owner of these homes cherish refurbishing, and getting pieces who have already withstood the test of time and shows it with a beautifully textured patina.
A few core pieces you can often find in these homes are very textured and well used wooden furniture and plates that look like you got them from your grandma. And I say that with the highest love and honor, because grandmas are amazing. Another thing you can often find are high quality kitchen towels with embroidered initials and tablecloths that have been passed down throughout the generations. As this was often the linen they only took out on special occasions it is usually still in pristine condition. The last piece I will mention is also what would directly translate to a “rag-rug“ (trasmatta in swedish). Back in the days it was basically a rug that was made out of whatever scrap pieces of fabric the family had. This usually makes them quite a colorful and original spectacle, but non the less – definitely a staple in the Rustic Countryside Home.
Common Lifestyle Choices
The driving force behind the Rustic Countrysider is a closeness to nature, repurposing, and appreciating the beauty in the old rugged pieces.
As I was doing my research and looked at all the homes I would say have this style I found a few common denominators. I found that a lot of the people living in homes with this style also had some common interests. They are growing their own gardens and flowers, and making their own jams and juices in the summers. In the fall they gather & dry wild mushrooms & oftentimes knit everything from scarfs to sweaters or socks.
A Possible Origin of Inspiration
As I was thinking of how to explain and put words onto this specific style a lot of images from one of Sweden’s most famous Childrens Book Authors – Astrid Lindgren pops into my mind.
She wrote a lot of books that were later made into movies that depicted children living with their families in the idyllic Swedish countryside in the early 1900’s. They have come to be iconic stories for anyone born and raised in Scandinavia. My guess is that they played a big role in Inspiring this style to live on.
Another aspect is of course also our parents and grandparents who have passed on some of their cultural values, taste and skills onto their children and grandchildren. Two to three generations ago this kind of life was normal for most Scandinavians.
Two Kinds of Rustic Countryside Styles
Within the Rustic Countrysider there are two kinds.
The Minimalists & the Mix and Matchers.
This style is the essence of Rustic Scandinavian Minimalism. Homes with this style only have the bare minimum of things needed for function. This is often the case in the Scandinavian Summer houses where you would go with your family for a couple of weeks or months during the summer to disconnect from your normal everyday life. The whole purpose is to get away from the noise and to live very simply.
Obviously you don’t just see this style in an Actual Summer House out on the countryside. Many people still have this style, even though they live in an apartment or somewhere in the city. A perfect example of what this style looks like is found in the home of Jenny, also known as @nordic_stories from Helsinki in Finland. Above are some of her gorgeous photographs that perfectly captures that. If you want to see more of her she has a blog with lots of beautiful photographs.
This style is one of extreme serenity and peacefulness, and one of my personal favorites.
The Reality of Scandinavian Summerhouses
Let’s just talk a little bit more about the actual summer houses though because that is a big thing all around in Scandinavia. I would say that the majority of Scandinavians have an extra house in the family that is some kind of summer house where you all go for vacation on holidays.
The idea of a Real Scandinavian Summer House may sound amazing and I personally think they are. But I would also say they are not always for the faint of heart. They may not have running water or electricity and might be dependent on a fireplace to provide heat. The toilet could be an outdoor one that you have to empty manually. They most certainly may not have a TV or wifi. More and more of them are obviously getting modernized these days but you can still find some old school Summer House gems out there.
The Mix & Matchers
The other kind of Rustic Countryside Style can sometimes be less minimalistic in their approach than some of the other General Scandinavian Styles. This is a kind of style that does well with mixing and matching lots of different colors and smaller patterns, but the common denominator is still a mix of neutral or colors and textures as a base. Where the Rustic Minimalist Style mostly consists of older reused items this style often also mix and match both new and old pieces. This makes it possible to be able to both have the comforts and cleanliness of a modern home, but the look and style of an older one.
How to get this Style Today
Whether you’re in to the more Minimalist style like in the Authentic Summer House or the Mixing and Matching of old and new sounds more appealing – here is how you can get the Rustic Countryside Style for yourself.
Go to a yard sale and look for used wooden furniture with a lot of texture. The more texture the better. If you are in Scandinavia you can go look for those high quality cotton kitchen towels and tablecloths there as well. If you are outside of Scandinavia, aim for something simple and neutral when it comes to your fabrics. While you’re out looking for fabrics, add a wool throw in there while your’e at it as well.
Stick with Neutral Colors and use rustic ceramic or “grandma pieces” for your flowers or kitchenware. Look for an old oil painting if you are going for the Minimalism style and want to add some art. If you like the Mix and Match of old and new, you could look for a new print of a floral or nature motive that has a timeless or even older look to it. Lastly -add a geranium plant on your windowsill and you’re all set. If you really wanna go ALL IN for it, plant a garden and bake something really delicious.
The two photo collages above are from the Swedish photographer, blogger & content creator Emelie Sundberg. She is the founder of one of the biggest podcasts in Sweden on Interior Design.
A Personal Story
What I just described to you in this post is what some of my fondest earliest childhood memories actually looked like. We would spend our summers at the house where my grandma was born and it was the most magical time of the year for me. It is a dream of mine to be able to get a place like that where my future children can also experience the beauty and simplicity of a Swedish Summer in the countryside one day.
I hope this post about the Scandinavian Rustic Countryside Style inspired you, and that you got a deeper understanding for one of the nuances there is to Scandinavian Style.
Until Next time,
(Goodbye in Swedish)
// Josefine from Scandinavian Style House