SHARE
COPY LINK

DESIGN

Four Swedish home design trends for spring

Swedish interiors are world famous and this weekend the largest design fair in the Nordics, Formex, is taking place in Stockholm. Interior Designer and blogger Angeline Eriksson has had a preview of the top home trends it is showcasing in 2015.

Four Swedish home design trends for spring
The Formex design show in Stockholm. Photo: TT
Nordic and Neat are the two buzz words you need to know in 2015.
 
“During restless times of war and health epidemics around the world, we have a need to make our home a place where we can feel secure. Everything has its place without being boring or impersonal,” explains Formex's event manager Christina Olsson.
 
But while Nordic Neat appears to be the most popular trend, there is also a heavy influence of bold, refreshing colours that is not typically associated with Scandinavian design, and an overall feeling of cheerful 1950s optimism.
 
Materials are a key focus as sustainability is no longer a futuristic concept but a reality of our times. Traditional Nordic handicrafts are re-imagined using new techniques and colour.
 
These ideas are realised in three other trends: Nordic Essence, Nordic Motion and Nordic Folk. Here are a few examples of each future fashion.
 
Nordic Neat
 
Nordic Neat is the desire to create order and clarity, to sort, to study and to celebrate the ordinary in new and exciting ways. Contrasting colours are common, with welcoming red and turquoise paired with cream, beige and brown.
 
Linda Brattlöf of design house Garden Glory for example has taken a household item – a water hose – and made it clean, fresh and chic.
 
Colour choices range from 'white snake' to 'gold digger', with 'Caribbean Kiss' the new turquoise shade for 2015. Linda Brattlöff is a rebel who has refused to accept ugly as an option and turned an eyesore into the talk of any garden party. When asked about her designs she proudly states: “Yes I'm reinventing the wheel. And don't we need it!”
 
Also on show at Formex 2015 are her chic mailboxes that look like Chanel clutches.
 

Photo: Anastasia Vetoshnikova
 
Nordic Essence

Nordic Essence is about designers doing new things with new building materials –  dealing with waste from other industries, reworking them and creating something new.

Patrick lu, a product and interaction designer and Mattias Chrisander, a product designer and furniture maker, have teamed their collective education and experience to launch Mùk.

“Mùk is Cantonese for wood”, explains lu, who has Chinese heritage but was born and raised in Sweden. Mùk takes the waste of building materials and moulds them into various shapes, in the fashion of paper mache.

“We're always thinking of fun ways to use materials”, says lu.

At Formex, the Mùk team is showcasing 'Fiber', a multifunctional lamp made of either fiberglass waste or discarded sawdust, with an adhesive used in the muolding process. Using either a notch or leather strap, Fiber can be hung or attached to shelving. It can be laid on its side, set upright from the shade or used as a flashlight.

“But our favorite thing about Fiber is the simple, clean design,” states Chrisander.


Photo: Anastasia Vetoshnikova

Nordic Motion

Nordic Motion is about creativity and humour. Inspired by Sweden's sporty lifestyle, it looks at clever solutions for newer materials with sharp accents and bright, bright, bright colours. 

With over 100 years of design experience, the Eva Solo Company knows a few things about kitchen design. Launched in Denmark in 2014, the appropriately named 'Citrus Press', looks at a design challenge that has been attempted by many. Eva Solo believes that they have perfected it. In the shape of a lemon, the exterior is silicone for a firm grip and the interior nylon for easy cleaning.

The design ensures that Citrus Press always sits upright. The pips are retained by a rim, which allows the juice to flow through small grooves.

“It's about making life easier in the kitchen,” explains spokesperson Ulrika Ulrika Görefält.


Photo: Anastasia Vetoshnikova

Nordic Folk

Sweden is steeped in tradition and there is barely a Nordic design show without handicraft-inspired work on offer. The trend this year is traditional meets super modern. Designers borrow from the past to create exciting new designs full of colour and creativity. 

One example is the work of Swedish graphic designer My Floryd Welin, who launched My Floryd Welin in 2012. Welin borrows some of her graphics from traditional hand painted Dalarna horses and from Swedish traditions like Midsommar, blueberries and lingonberries, painting them on kitchen stools, serving trays, coasters, napkins and ceramic coffee and tea sets.

Her work has a prominent 1950s vibe and Welin says she's also deeply inspired by “fika”, the Swedish coffee break ritual.


Photo: Anastasia Vetoshnikova

PROPERTY

These are our readers’ top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Buying an apartment or house in Sweden can be a daunting process, but with rentals so hard to get, many foreigners end up taking the plunge. Here are the top tips from readers who have done it.

These are our readers' top tips for buying a property in Sweden

Get prepared! 

Most of the respondents to our survey stressed the importance of preparation. 

“Spend time on defining your requirements properly, including visits to different locations to narrow down your search,” advised Julian, a Brit living in Malmö. 

As well as working out your requirements, other participants argued, you should also get to grips with the way the bidding system works in Sweden, with one British woman recommending buyers “speak to professionals about the buying procedure”. One respondent went so far as to recommend hiring a buyers’ agent, something international employers sometimes provide for senior executives moving to Sweden. 

Elizabeth, a 26-year-old charity worker from South America, recommended that all buyers “learn to read a bostadsrättsförening årsredovisning”, the finance report for a cooperative housing block. (You can find The Local’s guide here.) 

Get to know the market 

Maja, an anthropologist from Hungary, said it was important to take time to get a feel for the market, suggesting buyers visit different areas to find the one that they like. 

“It will take 6-12 months easily,” she predicts. “Don’t rush. Visit the neighborhoods where you are thinking of buying.”
 
Others recommended spending time surfing Sweden’s two main housing websites, Hemnet and Booli, to get a better feel for how much different types of housing in different areas typically sell for, before starting to look seriously yourself, with one even recommending going to viewings before you have any intention of buying.  
 
“Start visiting houses and monitoring bids. That will give you a sense of the process,” recommends Shubham, 31, a software engineer from India.
 

 
Think about your expectations
 
While house prices have soared in Sweden’s cities over the past decade, the same is not the case in all rural areas, something some respondents thought buyers should take advantage of. “To buy a house at a lesser price, look at areas as far from urban areas as is possible for you and your family,” wrote Simon, a 61-year-old living in rural Sweden. 
 
Julian warned bidders against areas and types of homes that “will attract tens of ‘barnfamiljer’ (families with children), meaning “bidding wars will result”, pushing up the price. 
 
On the other hand, one respondent warned people to “avoid buying apartments in vulnerable areas, even though prices will be lower there”. 
 
An Italian buyer recommended looking at newly built apartments coming up for sale. 
 
 
Get a mortgage offer before your first serious viewing 
 
Getting a lånelöfte, literally “loan promise”, can be tricky for foreigners in Sweden, as our recent survey of banks’ policies showed. 
 
Shubham warned against applying for a loan promise from multiple banks, arguing that this can affect your credit rating if your finances are not otherwise good. He suggested using an umbrella site like Ordna Bolån and Lånekoll, although he warned that the payment they take from the ultimate mortgage provider might ultimately be taken from borrowers.  
 
READ ALSO: 
 
Get to know the estate agents, but don’t necessarily trust them 
 
Gaurav, a sales manager based in Stockholm, recommended getting to know local estate agents in the area where you are planning to buy, as they might be able to direct you towards owners who are in a hurry to sell. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties,” he argued. 
 
Maja, from Hungary, warned, however, against believing that the estate agent is on the buyer’s side. 
 
“You cannot really make friends with them, they work for commission and they will also try to raise the selling price,” she said. “It’s how they present you to the seller that matters. Seem like a serious buyer.” 

 
Should you try to make an offer before bidding starts? 
 
Morgan, a 33-year-old marketing manager from France, said it was worth studying the kommande (coming soon) section on Hemnet and Booli to spot houses and flats before they are formally put on the market. “Be alert. Book an appointment asap and get a private visit to reduce competition. If the apartment is what you’re looking for, make a reasonable offer with a condition to sign the contract in the next 24 hours,” he recommends. “You will cut the bidding frenzy and save money.”
 
Gaurav also recommended getting a private viewing and making an offer while the property was still off the market, as did Julian. 
 
“If you are lucky, you might find owners who are in a hurry to sell,” Julian said. “Those can be the best deals as you have greater chances to avoid bidding on such properties.” 
 
But other foreigners warned against bidding before a property is publicly put up for sale on housing websites, arguing that estate agents used this as a way of getting higher prices than they would expect to get at auction.  
 
“You are essentially negotiating directly with the owner, without finding out the actual market price via bidding,” argued a 31-year-old Indian business analyst. “Usually this will work only for an apartment not in top condition.” 
 
What to watch out for in the bidding process 
 
Morgan advised buyers to take what estate agents say about rival bidders with a pinch of salt. 
 
“Estate agents will play the competition card. Don’t fall for their trick and keep a cool head. Ask yourself if it really worth it before increasing a bid,” he wrote. 
 
In Sweden, it is possible to make a hidden bid, which is not disclosed to other bidders. One Indian software developer warned that estate agents would often claim that there was such a bid to pressure you. 
 
“The hidden bids are really confusing as you don’t know the bid placed,” he said. “It’s a trap to get higher bids. “
 
A 21-year-old Romanian agreed it was important to watch out for estate agents who try to rush or panic you. 
 
“[Look out for] those that try to rush you into it by saying stuff like ‘this will be gone by Monday, the owner wants to sell fast’, or if they don’t want to include a two-week period to have the property inspected as a clause in the contract,” she said. 
 
Maja recommended choosing an estate agency that required all bidders to supply their personal number, with all bids made public, “because other agencies might cheat that price rise”. 
 
“Don’t be the first bidder,” she added. “Keep your cool, and if the agent calls or messages, just hold on. There is no official end to the bidding. Only when you sign the contract. So the best game is to seem very serious but not stupid. You have a budget, and try to sign the contract the same day or the next if you are the highest bidder.” 
 
Is now a good time to buy? 
 
The respondents were, predictably, divided. 
 
“It’s risky for both sellers and buyers,” said Carl, a Swede who recently returned home from China. “The market seems to correlate pretty well with central banks raising interest rates. If that’s the case, then it’s still a sellers’ market since central bank [Riksbank] will continue to increase interest rates until 2024.” 
 
“It’s difficult to predict anything at the moment,” agreed Gaurav. “Prices should fall a bit but that’s not happening in all the areas. Avoid buying or selling if you can for a few months.” 
 
“I see there is no difference in buying in total cost. You can get a property at a lower price but end up paying more in interest and the price is the same in five to ten years,” said one Indian software engineer. “Buying is still better than renting.”

SHOW COMMENTS