King Gustav of Sweden rose to the throne in 1771, bringing with him design influences from his time in the French Courts at Versailles. The style became known as Gustavian, a forward progression from French Rococo and neo-classical. Through the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the style became more and more austere, blending elegance and simplicity seamlessly. The innovation of the Gustavian style put Sweden in the top ranks in culture and it quickly became known throughout Europe as the “Paris of the North.” Though the beginnings of Gustavian style are a subdued version of the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, excavations from Pompeii and Herculaneum began circulating in Sweden, shifting Gustavian’s influence toward a more classical Roman look.
Gustavian style is characterized by austere design in a soft, neutral palette without a lot of ornament and embellishment. Some common patterns found in the upholsteries are stripes and checkered prints.