A Design Lover's Guide to Stockholm

Stockholm design always inspires | © Wikipedia Commons
Stockholm design always inspires | © Wikipedia Commons
Photo of Judi Lembke
9 March 2017

Stockholm is known for its clean, modern style that extends into every corner of life. This is a city that loves design in all its forms and there is no neighbourhood more stylish than Östermalm, where stylish, often moneyed younger folks rub shoulders with the more sophisticated older set.


This boulevard was was built to coincide with the Stockholm World’s Fair in 1897 and it has remained one of the most prestigious addresses in the city ever since. The towering architecture alone is enough to leave you swooning but there is plenty of inspiration at street level as well.

Strandvägen's stunning architecture is designed to inspire | ©Bengt Nyman / Flickr

Svenskt Tenn

Svenskt Tenn might be called an interior design shop but it is so much more. This is where you’ll find exclusive designs by the legendary Josef Frank, who created swirling, colourful patterns that are used for wallpaper, carpeting, furniture textiles and much more. Each year two designs are retired for a generation, while two more that haven’t been seen in many years are reintroduced.

Royal Dramatic Theatre

The Royal Dramatic Theatre, Dramaten in Swedish, is simply gorgeous inside and out. The theatre was founded in 1788, with eight stages exhibiting various levels of plush gilt. The main stage is an interior dream, with details that you could absorb for days. Tours are available or go see a show in order to really drink in the inspiration.

Inside Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theater / Photo | ©Roger Stenberg / Courtesy of Dramaten


Carl Malmsten was born more than 100 years ago but while he is no longer with us, his aesthetic continues to influence. The design here blends traditional and modern with a strong commitment to craftsmanship, natural materials, colours from nature, durability, and functionality. In short, Malmstenbutiken is a perfect reflection of Sweden.


Svampen, the Mushroom, is the beating heart of Stureplan; it’s one of the most popular meetings spots in the city and from here you’re just steps away from gorgeous boutiques and interiors that will take your breath away.

The Mushroom at Stureplan | ©Jon Åslund / Flickr


It may be billed as a fish restaurant but Sturehof is also where you’ll discover a series of rooms, each carrying their own design aesthetic. The front bar feels like New York in the 80s while the main dining room is all white linen and clean Scandi design. Head towards the back rooms and it’s tiny rough-hewn tables bolted to the floor and from there you enter a whimsical room with skirt-wearing lamps in riotous colors. And these are just the most obvious bits.


This street is lined with high-end shops, restaurant and bars but it’s the street itself where you might find the most inspiration, particularly in winter. As the holidays approach a red carpet is rolled out the length of the street while overhead so many lights are hung it almost scares away the winter darkness. It’s magical and always surprises the eye.

Biblioteksgatan | ©Michael Caven / Flickr

Hallwylska Museet

One of the truly great Stockholm museums, Hallwylska is a peek into the past. The museum is the former home of one of Stockholm’s leading families, who were early adopters of just about everything, including indoor plumbing and lighting. The house is much as it was 100 years ago, when the family deeded it to the city. And the courtyard, which is a restaurant in the summer months, is a true thing of beauty.

Hallwylska Museet / Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons



Östermalms Saluhall is an ode to another age, when markets were where most city dwellers gathered their food and where the countryside brought their wares to the city. The building is very much as it was when built in 1888 and recent updates are going further to bring back the historic architecture and fixtures. A bonus is that the food is absolutely fantastic.

Östermalms Saluhall | ©m.prinke / Flickr

Hedvig Eleonora Kyrka

Consecrated in 1737, Hedvig Eleonora Church is a wonder of two different types of architecture nearly seamlessly marrying. Plans for the main church building were drawn up several decades prior to consecration, while the dome was added in the mid 1800s. Although opulent, the church also reflects the Scandinavian aesthetic, which relies on clean lines and structure.

Organ at Hedvig Eleonora Kyrka | ©Helen Simonsson/Flickr

Nordiska Galleriet

If you want the latest in high-end Scandinavian design look no further than Nordiska, where the most cutting-edge designers — both domestic and international — flog their wares.


Arguably the best auction house in Sweden, Bukowskis is known for ferreting out items that you thought you’d never see in public again. Dealing in everything from art to furniture to fashion, with auctions held regularly, Bukowskis is a feast of design and inspiration from across the ages.

Bukowski Auction House offers classic Scandi design / Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons


It’s all in the name: Modernity is all about modern design and pushing the envelope to see where design can take us. They like to introduce designers to Stockholm and discover the best designs before anyone else.

Discover inspiration in Stockholm’s Östermalm district using this handy map:

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