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Gustavian Furniture Facts

Antique Swedish Gustavian Painted Furniture 1780-1960 

Design classics that never go out of style – antique Gustavian furniture is very sort after and now hard to find.


Antique Gustavian Furniture has become a must have part of modern interior design concepts. It is beautifully made, delicate and stunningly painted with subtle decorative carvings and detailing.

Gustavian Furniture started to be made around 1780 in the reign of the Swedish king Karl Gustav and was based heavily on the French stylings of Louis XVI which were reinterpreted by Swedish craftsmen in a rather more subtle manner than the original french style which has a much more bling feel. Often found in off whites and greys, it fits superbly with many different colour schemes or design styles but you also find some of the higher end pieces in natural wood, gilt or gold leaf finishes or with marquetry inlays.

The design is such a classic that the style of Gustavian furniture has become a template for modern designers to reinterpret in their own collections. Its a favourite of top end interior designers for good reason because it is so flexible in terms of its look – you can completely reinvent a Gustavian piece by choosing a radical fabric or a shocking repaint.


Most Gustavian furniture you find now has been repainted at some point in its history so do beware of claims of ‘original paint’ especially where a dealer has ‘scraped back to the original paint’. This is in effect just a specialist paint refinishing technique/design style (a posher shabby chic if  you will) and looks nothing like the original paint would have looked which would have been a very chalky thick natural pigment paint. If you choose to repaint, then its best to use a very chalky paint which brings out the texture in all the carved detail rather than a satin. They do look great in crazy colours like black or electric pink if thats your vibe.


Most Gustavian furniture used locally available woods like pine and birch for the handmade frame that would be held together with wooden pegs. Screws only started to be used in the early 1900s and is one of the ways to tell if a piece has been rebuilt or repaired. In terms of cabinets and sideboards you see ply backs and sides or panelling appearing from the 1920s and then particle board backs from around 1960.

Gustavian sofas, armchairs and dining chairs were generally fully sprung or webbed with horsehair stuffed seat pads which should be finished to a perfect dome and this makes them very comfortable to sit in. Its not generally necessary to change the springs but fresh and well tightened webbing and extra layers of stuffing will transform a tired seat very quickly.

Our Gustavian Furniture Stock

We have one of Europe’s largest selection of original and 1900s Swedish Gustavian furniture for sale covering every room in the house. So whether you want a Gustavian dining table and chairs with a matching sideboard, Gustavian cabinets and carvers, Gustavian beds and sofas or rare early 1800s Gustavian furniture, you will find it on our site. 

Gustavian Search Service

We offer a specialist search service for Gustavian furniture if you are looking for something rare as we have excellent contacts on the ground in Sweden and most of our pieces come from the homes of the original owners rather than through dealers. That way you can access spectacular pieces that never come to market.


We regularly put together entire Gustavian roomsets for our clients around the world. So do ask us if you would like help in choosing the pieces for your rooms or for us to help you design them. There are far too many reproduction cliche Gustavian style interiors created by the interiors industry so why not get something spectacular imaginative and unique thats just perfect for you. 

Gustavian Dining Tables and Chairs

We love mixing and matching– our mixed sets of Gustavian dining chairs are especially popular as they make a very eye catching tableaux in your dining room surrounding one of our extending Gustavian dining tables. They look amazing and mixing different Gustavian styles breaks up the uniformity of the set making it more interesting to look at. Especially so if you mix up the fabrics too retaining a common theme or colour but creating diversity at the same time.

Finishes + Repainting

We carefully select the antique and 1900s Gustavian pieces we find and they generally come in both painted and natural wood finishes that highlight the elegant decorative motifs and ribbed front decoration of the classic Swedish style. Most pieces feature original paint but we can repaint in any colour you like to match your mood our master upholsterer can reupholster in any fabric or leather you supply.