Mixed up vs. Minimalist – The difference between UK and Scandinavian interior design

Mixed up vs. Minimalist – The difference between UK and Scandinavian interior design

Have you recently waded in to buy your dream home in Spain? Are you in a need of help when it comes to decide in what style will be your interior?

As a real estate agent in Estepona, on the Costa del Sol, I have been into hundreds of homes and it is funny how easily I can recognize where the owners come from… but then I was formerly the editor of an interior design magazine in Sweden.

It seems all Europeans have their own unique DNA when it comes to interior styles, like stripes that never go away. So let’s start with an examination of the British versus the Swedish style, they’re quite distinct!


Cosy, charm and meeeeetres of fabric!


The Brits love their aristocratic, colonial style with rooms overloaded with furniture, decorative items, textiles and, um, more textiles. The fireplace is a must, whatever the weather, and symmetry a religion. Two bookshelves, two sofas, two table lamps, two armchairs, two dogs, yeah you get it. A balance that can only be upset by quirky items such as a two foot high wooden servant holding a tray or a colorful stuffed parrot on a stick. Cosyness and charm are the keywords and to create the style you just follow this list;

  • Unlimited curtains, cushions, pillows, wallpapers and upholstery in cotton floral prints – preferably in different prints. The more the merrier!
  • Chesterfield sofas – yes two of them – and puffy armchairs with curved legs
  • Throw in some arches and pillars to enhance the colonial feel… And don’t forget the portraits of ancestors. The older the better!
  • Naked beams are a must to remind you of the cottage heritage not to mention the country-style kitchen with an Aga stove and paneling painted in dove blue
  • The bedroom is often an orgy in fabrics and there is not a spot that can’t be covered! Put your floral printed blindfold on if its too much to handle!
  • All rooms very much have their function, no open space solutions here! After all, who want to see the dishes?
  • Colours are mostly natural tones in dusty pink, blue and green and to go a bit wild paint the walls in Tartan scarlet or British racing green
  • Don’t forget the carpets! They have to be large, preferably in sisal and wall to wall


White, bright and anxious


The Swedes believe they are very individualistic. But the truth is most of the homes in Sweden look like they are done with carbon copy paper between them. That is partly IKEA’s fault, but mostly it’s because Swedes do not want to stand out. The word lagom, meaning ‘not too much’, is appropriate and means less is more and as long as its white, bright and fresh, it’s safe. Style is minimalist, clutter free, with ‘exciting’ details being in black and white, patterns in zigzag or just plain stripes. To make it homely a Swede brings in plants and handicrafts in ceramic and wood, showing off his or her heritage. To design like us Swedes then follow this; Paint all walls, floors and ceilings white. Maybe you can be bold with one wall in a grayish or eggshell-ish tone. The brave use some wallpaper with a ‘crazy’ pattern in the guest toilet – wow!

  • Cool is king, so do not show too much emotion, use natural fabrics in linen or cotton in beige
  • Choose a design sofa which while beautiful and expensive, will probably not be very comfortable to sit on for more than 10 minutes
  • Understatement artefacts are crucial to the style. And whether you bought it in an expensive design shop or your kid did it at daycare, it looks intellectual
  • The open plan living room/kitchen gives you space and an overview, but you’ll need a housekeeper 24/7 if you want to live a spotless life without dishes in the sink, fingerprints on the dressers and the smell of fried herring
  • The bedroom is designed in a sacred, minimalistic way. A peaceful, non cluttered space for the soul, a sanctuary away from the world. But beware, do not take this concept to a monastery level if you want to share your Hästens double bed!

Whichever interior design fits you better, we can help you along the way when you buy your dream home from us at Nest Properties. Call us: +34 650 202 970 or email lotti@nestbostad.com

Your Sincerely,

Lotti Ander & Peter Fahlberg

First appeared on The Olive Press

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