18th century

As a result of increased commerce, the wealthy bourgeoisie expanded after 1700. They wanted their homes to be pleasant and intimate; comfortable rather than ostentatious.

New pieces of furniture that appeared included the chest of drawers, the writing desk and the grandfather clock.

Contact with China and Japan increased interest in dark polished wood, rattan and lacquerware. Items from China were especially popular. They were known as chinoiserie, and it was trendy to be à la chinoise.

The pastel shades, the beautiful fabrics and the luxury surrounding many 18th-century interiors is nowadays seen as quintessentially feminine. This is a comparatively recent view. In the 18th century, dressing up, amateur dramatics and wearing make-up were popular among men and women alike.  

Men as well as women wore wigs. Of course, we are talking here about members of the upper classes in the social hierarchy. Peasants, labourers and the poor had a completely different standard of living, far removed from velvet and powdered wigs.

In Sweden, manufacturing businesses were founded in the early 18th century. The powers that be wanted to reduce costly imports and instead try to manufacture the goods domestically. Many of these attempts failed while others endured, including the Rörstrand porcelain factory, founded in 1726 and closed in 2007 after 281 years. Another example is Kosta glassworks, opened in 1741 and still in business today.


Nationalmuseum Design
@ Kulturhuset Stadsteatern
Sergels torg, Stockholm 

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