How To Achieve Swedish Painted Finishes

Late Gustavian Swedish pine bench Eleish Van Breems Antiques

Shabby chic and Swedish looks are quite different, yet many people consider them to be in one category. Shabby Chic was a popular style that came about in the last 20 or so years, while Swedish style took place in the 18th century.

Swedish furniture often has a depth to the paint finish from years of re-painting the same furniture.  Swedish Sofas, chairs, tables, and cabinets were styled after Stockholm fashions and painted. Colors such as red were used to produce faux mahogany), marbled black on red, grey and white, blue or yellow (to simulate marble). Also paint colors of a mid-blue, apple green, straw yellow, cream and pearl grey varied throughout the country.  Most of the gray looks are a greenish gray.  There was only so many pigments of paint that was used compared to the paint color choices we have today.

If you are considering creating your own Swedish piece, consider using the older grays, and beige paints, the trick is to use several layers of lighter colors to create the look.

My suggestion is to use oil paint over your base color, and layer on the paint colors with oil paint.  You can move the oil around compared to the latex. Any faux finishes do take a lot of practice, but it can be an enjoyable process.

I have found success using the darker gray-green colors in my base coat, and then using a whiter oil paint for the top layers.

Using the technique of painting on, and then wiping off while using a textured finish with a sponge has been quite successful for me through the years.

Oil also gives you the movement if you want to dab and wipe giving you a different look.

I usually let the oil dry, and then again doing that same process over again with multiple different color steps, layering on the whites.  The steps of paint, somewhat replicates the linseed oil used in the past.

You will also want to distress it in the right places. Your pieces should be distressed where there is naturally wear and tear.

Another consideration is applying a glaze to areas which would naturally collect dirt,or be worn out. Using a light brown glaze usually works very well.

Many finishes don’t have to be complicated for them to look terrific.  Often times choosing the right color and working with distressing, and using a brown glaze can really make a piece stand out like a genuine antique.  Using muted colors, such as a color produced from adding either black or white has also produced successful color hues for me, much like the genuine antiques.

Painted Swedish Sofa with Griffins and Lions Seller Jacueline Adams

Neoclassical Blue Painted and Parcel Gilt Dining Seller Guy Regal Ltd


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