How To Get the Look: Scandinavian-Style Kids Bedroom

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If there is one thing I never tire of while working with children's design every day, it's seeing new Scandinavian-style children's rooms. They seem so fresh to my American eyes, so different from the character-driven or über modern bedrooms I'm used to here. In an effort to capture a little bit of Sweden stateside, I've put together a little "how-to" list to get your fjord on.  

Convention here in the US is that everything should match — wood grains, hues, drapery and bedding. Not so with this style. Learn to let go and embrace serendipity like in Polly's Bold & Colorful Retro Room above. 

Here's some advice for achieving this look in your home:

1. Start with a Blank Canvas. 

That is, begin with white walls! A clean white palette is almost always the backdrop for a chic Scandinavian-style kid's room, as seen here in Leif's Modern Victorian

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2. Work with What You Have — and Paint It. 

Europeans always seem to have an effortless chic to their rooms. Source #1 is family heirlooms. In Indigo's Hyggelig Nook, colorful vintage pieces pair beautifully with an old patchwork quilt. Renew the old china hutch with a fresh coat of white paint and voila! Wardrobe. It may not always be this easy though, choose with care, and shop thrift if no hand-me-downs inspire you.  

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3. Throw in Some Mid-Century or Contemporary Modern.

This is a fun part— where you get to scour your local flea markets and garage sales for the MCM (works for grandma pieces too).  Choose to splurge on one modern piece that will last throughout childhood (like a twin bed, dresser, or Panton Chair seen in Olivia Ellen's Copenhagen Charmer).  

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4. Think Bright Color. 

Start with the primaries: a scarlet red, canary yellow, Klein blue, and build out from there.  This nursery from Alexandra's North End Creativity highlights red mixed with a bold pink, and offset by a giant Marimekko print above the crib. Don't be afraid to mix patterns!  Stripes and florals, a-okay.  

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5. Don't Forget the Requisite Black and White! 

Black and white is quintessential Scandi-chic. Bold graphic artwork, spotted pillows, a vintage chalkboard or a striped rug, as seen in Arden's White & Black Wonderland provide an excellent backdrop for all the chaos that comes with kid stuff.  IKEA, Fine Little Day, Ferm Living and even the current collection at Target are good resources.  

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6. The Well-Traveled Child.

Whether it's the baby galavanting across the Andes or the parents who met in Timbuktu, the Scandinavian look often has a bit of a well-traveled look to it.  Tapestries and pillows are a good jumping off point, and easily accessible from home base. A mix of Suzani and Native American tribal work well in together in the reduced color palette of Sacha and Iris' Playful Sleep Space. World Market is a favorite place to cheat on this regard.  

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7. Make It Personal.

Okay, so perhaps Stella has an advantage here in The Brown's Cottage Novella as her mother makes both dolls and quilts professionally. Now that you've created a beautiful backdrop, make it truly theirs. Add children's artwork, graphic prints, vintage toys. The look overall will have an heirloom quality paired with happy brights and good lines. Source your grandma's attic and your child's art bin for a beautiful place to grow.   

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(Images: 1. Jane Foster 2. Vicki Eastland 3. Tracy Nors 4.Frederikke Heiberg, Tia Borgsmidt and Rikke Graff Juel 5. Catchlight Photographers 6. Reichel Broussard 7. Celeste Sunderland 8. Alisha Peterson-Irwin)