Sweet Swedish Dreams: The Bedrooms of Carl Larsson

Other people's bedrooms are always so foreign, so exotic. With just a few elements — a bed, blankets, perhaps a chair — there are a million ways to configure this most intimate of spaces. Some bedrooms inspire a reaction of, "Seriously, you like to sleep here?" while others make us want to move right in...

In 2009, I was introduced to the works of Swedish painter Carl Larsson by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy. She wrote such lovely things about the way Larsson's work has gently influenced her home over the years. There's a lot to love in his paintings, and my favorite ones are portraits of bedrooms — incredibly, intensely Swedish bedrooms. Larsson was known for his adoring and intimate depictions of his family and family life, so I feel like such a jerk for saying this, but I often wish there were no people in these paintings. It's harder to imagine this first bedroom is mine with Papa hanging around in the back there.


  • Papa's Bedroom just slays me: the red-red trim, the windows, the up-high bookshelves, the boot-taking-off bench. I would move into this bedroom in a heartbeat, and am inspired to see that a bedroom can be so vibrant and so peaceful at the same time.

  • I appreciate all the white in Brita's Little Nap. I think I would keep the floral panel above the door and replace the bows, sprigs, and fireplace flowers with plain white, but still the effect is calm rather than busy.

  • Cock-a-Doodle, Seven O'Clock has some excellent and unique elements. I've never seen a stained glass window that opened, the bed reminds me of a wheelbarrow, and that painting of rooftops is awesome and strange. It reminds me of the opening sequence of Yellow Submarine.

  • In Mother's Bed makes me feel like Mother kind of lost out when it came to bedrooms. The room is nice enough, and I really like the bedside stand with the bowl and water carafe, but it's nothing compared to Papa's room!

  • Lisbeth With Yellow Tulip is another favorite. That painted design on the wall is beautiful, and I admire that the multiple flower motifs are perfect for a little girl's room, without being girly or saccharine.

(Images: All paintings by Carl Larsson, all images/prints from Scandinavian Treasures)

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