In Sweden, a New Way to Accessorize

General / People / Places / Products / June 3, 2011

Lesley Pennington is a Canadian who’s been living in Sweden for the past 15 years.

Because the Swedes have the enviable habit of taking the entire month of July off for vacation, she joined them and bought a summer house, furnishing it (naturally) with IKEA products.

The only drawback was that she didn’t care for the color of the fabrics.  So she went out and found some she liked.

And in 2004, BEMZ, one of the first companies to provide accessories to IKEA products, was born.

“Every product is custom made,” she said.  “And because customers can use our 3-D model online, they can see it, place their order and have it in their home in three to four weeks.”

The materials are cottons and linens, with designs by the Designers Guild, Marimekko and Stig Lindberg (for Swedes, he’s up there with Charles and Ray Eames).  It’s all mix and match, with a Scandinavian-inspired color palette in 180 different fabrics.

“We want to allow people to express themselves and to find beautiful textiles – to find something that’s personal to them,” she said. “We want them to find their own personal style in our colors.”

As an incentive, BEMZ offers five free textile samples to first-time users, 95 percent of whom – like all her customers – are women.  “They respond emotionally to color,” she said.

And BEMZ offers a wide range of material – from the trendy to the traditional – for just that purpose.

For more on BEMZ, go to

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

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on June 3, 2011

Pure joy~from original idea to execution!

on June 4, 2011

Wow. I’m sold. Now I just have to find a lakehouse…

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