A light touch on furniture

The stuff of ... Scandinavian elegance. Sally Staples gets hooked on the Gustavian look
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Step into the bright, light interior of Nordic Style and you feel the full impact of what is called the Gustavian effect. For the uninitiated this is a French-inspired Swedish version of neo-classical furniture and design. For example, the shape of the chairs calls to mind those in the Palace of Versailles, but instead of being upholstered in gilt and red plush they are painted white.

Moussie Sayers, who runs the shop, is a Swede whose watchwords are elegance and practicality. And so a set of medallion-shaped dining chairs each wear a decorative linen apron to protect the upholstery from those ruinous wipes of sticky fingers.

"We Swedish are practical," explains Moussie. "We like to protect our furniture with something that looks attractive." The great emphasis on light - both with the furniture and the shop - harks back to the original idea of brightening up the gloomy atmosphere engendered by those long, dark Scandinavian nights.

Displayed in the picture window is a six-seater dining-table (pounds 995), painted and varnished in white, which comes with hand-carved chairs at pounds 398 each (pounds 525 for carvers). Above the table is a pewter candelabra that can double as a splendid vase, to be filled with flowers in summer.

Beds in beech or birch wood are upholstered in traditional Swedish designs, and Nordic Style sells embroidered bedlinen as well as traditional duvet covers. To reinforce the Nordic look you can buy matching bedside tables (pounds 395), a chest of drawers (pounds 995), wall mirrors (pounds 250) and a headboard (pounds 425) in the same style.

The concept of Nordic Style is to create the complete Scandinavian look, and there is a wide range of accessories to complement the furniture, including lampshades, candlestick holders and classic, hand-painted aquavit glasses (a set of six costs pounds l.80).

Moussie also stocks pottery made by Jill Bernadotte, fabrics decorated with historical Swedish patterns, and a selection of chenille rugs (at pounds 58 each) and washable cotton runners to protect staircarpets, sold by the length at pounds 25 per metre. The shop is even a stock of Swedish children's stories (in translation) as well as books that teach Nordic Style.

Swedish antiques are sold here, too, and include some beautifully restored pine furniture. A sideboard has a pounds 2,600 price tag, a bureau bookcase costs pounds 3,800 and antique Swedish floor clocks at pounds l,900 are: "totally reliable if placed on an absolutely flat surface".

Nordic Style is at 109 Lots Road, London SW10 ORN (0171-351 1755), open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am-5.30pm