Mar
01
2010

What I Know About Belgian Design

This weekend I attended a community event where I had been asked to represent my home county Sweden. I dragged my girls with me (dressed up as Pippi Longstocking and Lucia) and decorated my area with lovely things from Sweden. (Think everything from 18th c. chairs and gray linen to salty black licorice and pop music). I got to meet a lot of people and certainly did my share of PR for the country. And then a couple of well dressed ladies walked up and we chatted up a storm about Swedish design until one of them asked what I thought of Belgian interior design. Ehhh…

An oil painting by Belgian artist Nele Cornelis is a focal point in the foyer.

And then from nowhere information started to pour out of me. And I tell you, most of what I know is because of my talented blog friend who is no stranger to so many of my close blog friends. But if you have not yet met her, huddle over and say hello!

Her name is Greet Lefèvre. She lives in Belgium and is behind The Belgian Pearls. She is someone Belgium’s Cultural Ministry should view as a national treasure .

Here are some lovely interiors from her home where she lives with her family. (Yep, I know!!!)

On her blog you will find images like these. (Yes, go ahead and drool!)

Together with her brother she runs a succesful wood carving company – Lefèvre Interiors. Had I lived closer I would not have hesitated for one second to have my next dining table designed by them.

And what did I actually tell the ladies? Well, I told them that there are many similarities between Swedish and Belgian Design. Both styles include simple, uncomplicated pieces. They both cherish organic, natural materials, textures and colors. We use a lot of gray and white in Sweden and I believe that the further south you go in Europe – the warmer colors. So, I see more of a warmer beige used in the Belgian interiors or rather “Greige” – a mix between gray and beige. Belgian style might also be a tad more relaxed in my opinion and the furniture seems more grand in size. And I think that both styles are against too much color and clutter! Both represent peaceful and serene rooms.

Now, some people in the industry will claim that Belgian style is the “new Swedish”.  Of course I will not agree with that! But the style is very attractive indeed. And I am convinced that we are just going to see more and more of it. 

There are also a number of blogs outside of Belgium who I follow and who include Belgian style in their reportings. I highly recommend Cote De TexasWillow Decor, Trouvais and Velvet & Linen. They are all lovely! (And I am sure there are other great ones both in and out of Belgium waiting for me to discover).

A new week, friends! Let it be a good one!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |

25 Comments

  • WillowDecor says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out. Belgian Pearls is a wonderful source of inspiration for Belgian design. But the other blogs you listed are also wonderful resources for mixing it up with other styles. A beautiful room, imho, doesn’t need a label. Swedish, Belgian, French, New England…all provide such wonderful inspiration to me. Comparing Belgian and Swedish is so interesting to me. I agree that less color and pattern and more texture are the similarities, but Swedish furniture seems to have just a little more curves than the straighter lines of Belgian furniture. I really loved this post!!
    xx-Gina

  • It sounds like you were a great ambassador to your country! I also like your interpretation of swedish vs. Belgium style. And Greet’s home…..oh my drool!

  • What beautiful pictures in this post! My overall impression is of light, ease, graciousness, simplicity but luxurious simplicity, where every piece and finish is selected with care.

  • Courtney says:

    That foyer is sheer perfection! I love its elegant simplicity, and the slightly rustic feel. So beautiful. This was a very interesting and informative post. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Greet says:

    Monika,
    I feel so honoured!
    Indeed, I agree there are some similarities between the Swedish and the Belgian style!
    The furniture pieces are indeed bigger in size and we colour them another way I think.
    But the Swedish style to me is more elegant through the more elegant sizes and the more or less white and grey tones of paint!
    I adore Swedish interiors!
    Monika, thank you so much for mentioning me in this post!
    A big hug!!!
    xxxx
    Greet

  • Trish says:

    Hi Monika. Thanks for the mention, great overview, and inspiration. Your post comes at the perfect time…was wrestling between Swedish and Belgian finishes on some wood built in cabinets. Love both the gray and greige. Thanks for the start, I’ll let you know where I end up. Merci! Trish

  • MMW says:

    Ohhhh I LOVE Greet’s blog Belgian Pearls. She is such a gracious lady – and always posts great content. Thank you for this feature on Splendid Willow.

    ~MMW

  • Yes, you are right I see similaties between belgian and swedish styles. Both are chic, cosy and much more

  • Charlotta says:

    I completely agree with you my dearest! Not only that Greet’s blog is addictive and overflowing with inspiration. I love her take on style and not to mention her amazing home.. A full box of tissues didn’t help stop the drooling when I read the recent post..

    Belgian vs Swedish.. yes you’re right. It is a tad more relaxex. The famous Swedish (ex) reporter (now Royal expert and writer of wonderful book about the Bernadottes!!), Herman Lindkvist once said that everything changes south of Bruxelles. So I guess that Belgian style is a wondeful mix of the more sober Swedish, and the more rustic French country. I see more texture and a rusticity in their design. Swedish style maintains a little sleeker and softer.

    Lovely post cherie.

    xxCharlotta

  • nkp says:

    A wonderful post, although the pictures are so beautiful it almost hurt. I’ve visited that lovely blog before, but not recently. Thanks for the reminder. Her home and their work is truly spectacular.

  • What a lovely post, Monika!

    I am a huge fan of Greet as a person, her style, and her work. I also like how you differentiate the different styles — this is important to me, as I feel far too many people mistake and label decor as “French” when I’m certain that the French would be appalled. I love Belgian style and these photos — another fabulous post! I just adore your blog :)

    Hope your week is off to a lovely start, xo

  • Julie at BV says:

    Monica,

    I love your post and all the gorgeous pictures. Great way of describing the differences in both styles. You are right they are not the same although with some similarities.

  • It’s so eclectic. And it’s great inspiration.

  • kiki alvord says:

    Heja, heja, heja, Monika stå på dig om vår vackra svenska stil. Din blogg är en fröjd och en fin representant för Sverige och Svenskarna.
    Då jag bodde i Bryssel i börja på 80 talet såg jag då inte mycket utav denna ljusa beiga eller grå stilen, utan en mer tung mörk kontinental stil. I alla de antikbutiker som vi då sprang till var det mer Louis Phillippe som gällde. Stora tunga ekmöbler och skåp, vackra visserligen, men inte såg det ut som det gör i dag.
    Det beror på, tror jag, att man har sneglat på den vackra ljusa lätta stilen från norr, då de unga var nog trötta på sin egen tunga stil och i de smala rum som alla husen mereller mindre har.Dock börjar den tyngre barocken komma tillbaka här i Europa igen!!!
    Kram KIKI

    Splendid Willow Reply:

    Hello Kiki! Lovely hearing from you! Hope Sweden treats you royally! I am looking forward to hearing more about your next Swedish design business! ox Mon

  • Mia says:

    Vilka härliga bilder och vilket fantastiskt hem. Jag blev också inspirerad av konstnären som målat hästen. Ha en bra vecka! Kram Mia

  • Therese Long says:

    Wow, absolutely gorgeous!! I must go over and check out Belgian Pearls asap!! You were right… I did drool.
    I wish I could have seen you and your daughters all dressed up for your presentation… you must share a photo with us :)
    Great post Monnika!!
    ~xo always

  • Julie says:

    Hi Monika
    Great post.. Greet is wonderful blogger always friendly and modest in spite of her incredible talent.. It is always a delight to visit her blog.. I would say the same about Brooke also.. unfortunately don’t know the others..

    Thanks for coming over my way… Currently I don’t sell my artwork.. although have been asked recently to do so.. it’s hard to make that leap from just mucking around to selling.. time will tell.. I’d love to see the Pippi photos sometime.. sounds like you had fun.. Catch you again soon.. x Julie

  • Di Overton says:

    I feel sorry for the Belgians they seem to be constantly overlooked. Their flea markets are to die for and I love their Moules Frites :)

  • I love SO much this style, Monika! your pictures are simply gorgeous. I’m so glad that you liked our leaf earrings! you can find a few more here:

    http://www.patagoniagifts.com/Gold-Real-Leaf-Earrings-Handmade-Jewelry-orderby0-p-1-c-248.html

    have a beautiful day! xo

  • Thank you for sharing all these beautiful interiors, love the laid back glamour of Belgian interiors. Only wish you would have included a photo of your little one as Pippy Longstocking also :)
    xo

  • veronique says:

    Indeed,
    Greet knows us so well!
    The way she puts belgium on the map of interior design is well chosen and perfect.

    Super … also nice post!

    greetings
    veronique

  • one terrific post. images were stunning. I enjoyed that very much!

  • Purple Area says:

    Oh, I just found my coffeetable, the image after your comment.. go ahead and drool. Its perfect, exactly what I’ve been looking for.

  • Mon.. it has been so long since I have looked at your delicious blog and it is nectar to my soul. Such good taste, wonderful ideas, so inspirational and I actually need your advise on something from a decoration standpoint..separate note to follow. Again – THANK YOU. With love.

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