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Bookworm Design: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hi there! It’s Brigitte again. Apparently my last guest post tricked Holly into thinking you’d enjoy another post. :) Today, I’d like to take on a different topic. You see, I may write about design, but I am a bookworm to my core. And, recently I read a book that drove my mind in a thousand directions. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Have you read it? WARNING: It is not for the faint of heart. Seriously. But…in my mind, the payoff is worth it. Intriguing mystery. Interesting characters. And a little (ok, a lot) of social commentary mixed in. And, the “girl” is pretty interesting. She’s anti-social, a bit punk and generally counter-culture. And the book is set in Sweden. The land of put-it-on-an-alter decor. But this girl, she’s not exactly rich. And she wears t-shirts with messages like “I am also an alien.” Much of her decor comes from a dumpster. Of course I immediately set to designing a living room for this intriguing character which I’m gong to show you now.

It’s a little punk. A tad bit edgy. And very industrial. And then I noticed, much of the Swedish decor we so admire is a bit industrial — and even a little hard.

Skona Hem

Elle Interior

Hus & Hem

Collage sources from first image: Hemispheric Disconnect Print, Cross the Tracks Print, Rustic Industrial Typewriter Telephone Table, Work Lamp – Gold, Compass Desk Lamp, Sahara Chair, Hundtand Rug and Ikea Leather Sofa.

I like the idea of actively seeking out the outliers in many of the design styles idealized around the world (French decor also comes to mind). And, as a former punk myself, I loved designing an edgier type of room.

Who else harbors these same counter-culture tendencies? Don’t you think it keeps things fresh and interesting? I’d love your thoughts! – Brigitte.

(images: linked to their sources above)

Posted by decor8 in inspiration on May 18, 2010

Your comments...

  1. Kelly commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 12:14pm

    Ha! I am currently reading the second book in the series. And there is a bit about how the main character (Lisbeth) heads to IKEA to furnish her new apartment. It goes into a lot of detail about what she actually buys!

  2. Jennifer commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 12:26pm

    i recently saw the movie & can’t wait to get my hands on the novel(s)!

  3. Sarah commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 12:57pm

    You must read The Girl Who Played With Fire next. It goes into even more detail about Lisbeth’s interior decorating (or lack of it) in her new flat. This book, like the the former, is also not for the faint of heart.

  4. Bridget commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:15pm

    Love that you found your design inspiration from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (amazing book for those who have not read it). I am a big fan of the modern, industrial look with a little bit of edge. If I ever move, these are the *exact* design tastes that I will use to create my dream home. Love it!

  5. Tricia Rose commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:16pm

    Outliers are always more interesting, often uncomfortable. It’s so hard to untangle the names for styles! I have seen ‘Gadarene Swine’ decor (oooooh, nasty, nasty!) – I Googled ‘Modern Primitive’and found an embroidery book and an article on tattoos. I think I aspire to High Bohemian, though now I am far more spare than that. Urban Primitive? Primitive Rustic? Both pretty trendy now, as is Modern. I can’t keep up!
    .-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..May Rain =-.

  6. Pangaea commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:26pm

    Well, now I want to read the book and live in some of these rooms! I love industrial style. I live in a rural area on the river, but decorate in modern style leaning to industrial. Recently even moved my bedroom into the living room and am treating the whole house like an open loft. Yes, I think edgy is good. Why be normal?
    .-= Pangaea´s last blog ..10 Great Tips to Make Your Small Space Look B-I-G-G-E-R: part 2 =-.

  7. Claudia commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:45pm

    I love it! Lisbeth Salander would definitely be at home there!

  8. Kristan commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:50pm

    Aside about the book: LOVED the two main characters, but thought the plot became unnecessarily depraved. The mystery would have been just as compelling without all the craziness.

    Onto the design: Love it! And love the idea of designing a room for a character, particularly one as compelling as Lisbeth.
    .-= Kristan´s last blog ..Quest =-.

  9. Coco commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:10pm

    Very nice post again Brigitte! I like your moodboard for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The title is very intriguing too. I might buy it if i can get it here (the netherlands). It would be my first novel again since a long long time! I recently tend to buy only decor books or cooking books. Thanks for this post again. Again, i love the moodboard, it could be my living room!

  10. chrisbean commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:17pm

    Love it. Love the book, and the character (a fellow female computer geek!).

    There’s a scene in the sequel (completely non-spoiler-y) where she goes on an Ikea shopping spree, and the book spends pages and pages listing every single item that she purchases: it was really hard for me to resist spending an hour or few on their website re-creating Lisbeth’s apartment!!

    And the third book comes out in the U.S. in just a few days!

  11. Piper commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:21pm

    Brigitte…I LOVED that book!!! I think I read it in one night :) The sequel was great too. Love great thriller/mystery stories! And have you heard about the movie?

    anyways, another great post – love the design you did for this character…spot on!!
    .-= Piper´s last blog ..{australian house + garden} =-.

  12. Katie | RunawayOctober commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:38pm

    If you read the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, there is actually a few paragraphs or so of exactly how she fills a flat with Ikea furniture. Very very sparse to say the least, but interesting.
    .-= Katie | RunawayOctober´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day! =-.

  13. P Crum commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 2:42pm

    If you liked The Girl w/Dragon Tattoo, you will love the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, I think that’s the name. It’s even better than the first book.

  14. Brigitte commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 3:10pm

    Thank you so much for your nice comments!

    I just finished the Girl Who Played With Fire last night, and I have the third on pre-order. Did anyone else wonder if Ikea paid for a commercial position like they do in TV series (at least they do here in the U.S.)? The shopping list was a bit gratuitous, although I did find it interesting that Lisbeth could indulge for the first time — and an Ikea trip was extravagant compared to her former belongings. But the detail is why I chose not to design a room around the second book. No creative latitude!
    .-= Brigitte´s last blog ..A Riot of Color =-.

  15. Adriana JzV commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 3:19pm

    I just finished the second book of the Millennium Trilogy and your collage made me smile, it goes perfectly with Lisbeth’s character!
    And as birthday present she should get a vintage Fase lamp, not Swedish design but definitely matching the industrial feel of the living room!

  16. Jane commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 5:22pm

    I’ve also read the The Girl with the Dragon tatoo and if I remember right her decorating style in that book was a year’s worth of pizza boxes strewn across her apartment mixed with other garbage!

  17. Vilija commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 5:27pm

    While I completely dig your design for Lisbeth’s flat, I find it inaccurate. The first real glimpse we get into her flat reveals that she is a slob and that her furniture is mismatched and seems scavenged. I understand that you designed an ideal, based on the first novel, but it doesn’t completely fit with her character.

  18. Ana commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 5:55pm

    Now, I’ll really have to read all the trilogy! I was eager to have my holidays and have it in one go, but I just can’t wait for it!
    And congratulations on your post, Brigitte. So good to see our BYW colleagues growing up!
    .-= Ana´s last blog ..Os dias de sol fazem-nos bem / Sunny days make us good =-.

  19. Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 7:30pm

    Very cool concept! I haven’t read the books, although now they are on my list, so it is fun to see how you created rooms based on elements of the character’s own style.
    .-= Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas´s last blog ..Lovely Las Vegas: Happy Syttende Mai! =-.

  20. Jodie commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 8:12pm

    Loved loved loved that book…..I actually was more intrigued by the cabin on the water where I believe the private investigator lived for a while. It felt cozy and relaxing to me while at the same time being dark or really worn. But definitely somewhere that encouraged thinking!

  21. karina commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 10:22pm

    ai am going to start the last of the trilogy next weekend.
    There are lots of ikea mentions in the second one.
    You should check the covers in the Spanish version,they are terrific, I wrote about it here
    .-= karina´s last blog ..New sponsor =-.

  22. Katie Stephenson commented
    May 18th, 2010 at 10:59pm

    Hi Brigitte! I just saw this movie tonight and I think you were spot on with your assortment.
    …Now if I can just get through the night without any terrors.
    .-= Katie Stephenson´s last blog ..tuesday’s top 12: triangles =-.

  23. Sarah commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 12:53am

    Just finished reading the 3rd book! Definitely awesome!

    You forgot to think about a totally kickass computer/office area. A simple table will not do.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..what a cute daddy =-.

  24. suzanne commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 6:18am

    I barely skimmed this post of yours today…..only because I am on page 6 of The Girl W/ The Dragon Tattoo….and I can’t bare to know anymore of the book while I’m reading…. :)
    Such a coincidence!

  25. Claire Chadwick commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 6:36am

    I LOVE that you found design inspiration from a novel :) I must admit I get a little hooked on books & swear I know the characters personally LOL!! I haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but I know my Mum & Sister in law did and they were deeply discussing it at one of our family get togethers :) I think I just may have to read it now….and I’ll keep your design ideas in mind as I read ;o)

  26. Traveling Mama commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 7:36am

    I haven’t read the book, but I will have to check it out! I loved your edgy take on this counter cultural chick. I spent almost the first 30 years of my life trying to be just like everyone else and then we moved to Morocco. It was then that I decided it was time to be myself… of course I am still trying to figure that out… not sure how long that will take!
    .-= Traveling Mama´s last blog ..southern {strutters} =-.

  27. Lisa commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 8:41am

    I’m intrigued! Definitely adding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to my list of books I want to read!

    I like Exhibit B with the monochrome punctuated with yellow. Modern, eclectic, and charming.

  28. Janet commented
    May 19th, 2010 at 7:43pm

    The decor is a bit cold for my taste, which is more ecclectic bohemian. Although I do like the Indusrial elements…

    I am also adding The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo to my reading list. Right after I finish reading Horns by my new favorite author, Joe Hill.
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Stained Glass Suncatcher..Purple Mod Flower =-.

  29. Jane @ The Borrowed Abode commented
    May 20th, 2010 at 8:42am

    I loved that book! And the movie. The last room pictured is my favorite. . . with that tambour door cabinet. Sigh.
    .-= Jane @ The Borrowed Abode´s last blog ..New Abode, Part 3: Master Bath =-.

  30. Tammy Moore: Mama Bear Stamps commented
    May 20th, 2010 at 8:45am

    I hadn’t heard of the book but now it seems I need to go find it! I am IN LOVE with the houndstooth rug! I think I need one of those too! ;) Thanks for the eye candy!
    .-= Tammy Moore: Mama Bear Stamps´s last blog ..Goodbye and HELLO!! =-.

  31. Kaho commented
    May 20th, 2010 at 4:40pm

    I like both Exhibit A and B. I like A for the melange of white and gray. I’ve gotten into white decor recently. Would love to have a living area like the Exhibit A. I like the gray curtains in it as well. I like B for the use of yellow with black-brown and white. It gives a bit of spice to the design. I’m quite indecisive when it comes to picking my style and tend to be a bit of a schizo. I need to find some time to read books. I wish I could be a bookworm. That sounds so intelligent!
    .-= Kaho´s last blog ..One Less Item, More Space =-.

  32. knut commented
    May 20th, 2010 at 5:02pm

    well, the pictured ikea sofa looks indeed ace. but dont buy it just for the looks. its artificial leather and really not comfortable to sit on.

  33. Karyn commented
    May 20th, 2010 at 10:30pm


    Thanks for the inspiring photos. Read all 3 books and saw the movie. Was scared to watch some of the violent scenes, but thought I’d know when they come and close my eyes. Forgot that I don’t speak Swedish and didn’t know when it was safe to OPEN my eyes!! sigh.

  34. Kate commented
    May 21st, 2010 at 12:49am

    I’m a few pages from the end of the third book! It was released in Australia a while ago, and if you like the first, you’ll love the second and DEVOUR the third! I don’t think IKEA paid for a mention, but there is a lot of detail. I think it’s just the writer’s style, he mentions a lot of detail about things – names of newspapers, streets in Stockholm, etc, to add realism I think. If you’ve been to Stockholm or Sweden you get a giggle from remembering a lot of everyday Swedish stuff!

    I agree with someone above, I don’t think Lisbeth is really that interested in decor but they’re great rooms nonetheless! Love Scandanavian style :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Where The Heart Is =-.

  35. Jackie commented
    May 21st, 2010 at 1:29am

    I love this post, I’m waiting for the 3rd book to come out next week! There’s something about the “girl” and the whole book that is positively Swedish, no other style would work if you translated it. So I love the hard, industrial Swedish design you’ve got here. Very cool.
    .-= Jackie´s last blog ..Not Your Grandma’s Quilting Bee: May Bricks =-.

  36. Minnie commented
    May 21st, 2010 at 6:31pm

    hey, i’m a little late to the party but thought i’d jump in and say how much i appreciate your mood board for a literary character. i love the concept! i’ve not yet read any of these books but they are on my must-read list. soon, i hope!

    had to laugh that someone said your mood board wasn’t true to character because the character was actually a slob. i find it funny because, as a reader, i construct scenes and images based on the descriptions i read but of course i bring my own experiences with me. what i mean to say is that my image will likely differ from other readers of the same book. anyway, i appreciate the concept. maybe we’ll see more of this on your own blog!

    p.s. interesting that you’re a former punk. i used to love hanging out with punks, fancied myself a “morbid,” basically someone who only wore black (black lipstick, etc) and a little white, and adored bands like siouxsie and the banshees and nina hagen. i like to think it was great training for when my kids grow older and want a mohawk.
    .-= Minnie´s last blog ..Handmade party treat bags for kids =-.

  37. Jennifer commented
    May 22nd, 2010 at 10:30pm

    I love the idea of decorating for a book character as a creative exercise.

  38. Jacklyn commented
    May 24th, 2010 at 3:14pm

    Wow. I love this. I loved the book and can’t wait for the last one to come out tomorrow. What a fun thing to do…create for a character.
    .-= Jacklyn´s last blog ..Each Year is More Fulfilling Than the Last =-.

  39. Brooke H commented
    May 24th, 2010 at 5:06pm

    Such a great book! The last one in the series comes out in the states tomorrow. I can’t wait to read it because the 2nd one just completely left you hanging.

    And you totally nailed Lisbeths design esthetic! Such a great post!
    .-= Brooke H´s last blog ..Inside the Sketchbook: Renaldo Barnette =-.

  40. isla commented
    May 31st, 2010 at 5:02pm

    I just started the third one! I so clearly had my own image of her and what her old apartment was like vs her new in the second book. It was interesting to read everyone’s comments, and see what you put together. Also interesting to see how different it was in the movie, vs what i had imagined. So much creativity and interpretation out there! Thanks for sharing…

  41. Ren commented
    August 23rd, 2010 at 3:42pm

    I read the book and just finished watching the film.
    I am so suprised that the book (and film) were as dark as they were- I had no idea going into it. Now of course I am hooked.

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