In Shalony and Niclas’s single bedroom apartment, the usual decorating rules don’t apply. The minimal space is full of collections, the kitchen is a room to live in and open shelves hide the stories of the books they hold. Discover the home rules the couple broke to create their feel-good home.
Everything in our home tells a story. We have a real mix – ‘old goodies’ passed on from family, travel finds, new buys.
We try to make conscious choices when we shop. Natural materials are easier to recycle, and knowing they’re not destined for landfill matters to us.
This apartment is our inspiration base. We haven’t cluttered it with stuff because when we want to start a project, we want to get down to it without having to tidy up.
Rethink the idea of using your walls to add personality by filling them with colour or turning them into gallery walls. Instead, try leaving them blank. ‘We leave our walls bare because we don’t know which pictures to put up yet. The bedroom is where I go to get my energy back so we keep the space calm,’ says Shalony. ‘Nothing on the walls and the little there is to look at it is contained in one display unit so we can relax in here, lying on the bed, looking up at the ceiling, doing nothing.’
In Shalony and Niclas’s apartment, what you see is what you get. Literally. Everything they have in here has been picked for a reason. ‘A home filled with things you don’t use is the worst,’ says Shalony. ‘Having less stuff doesn’t mean we like things less – I’m attached to our things. But in here we get to see everything we have, so we use everything. Nothing sits in a pile unseen and useless.’
When books are less of a passion and more of a pastime, why feel the need to fill your home with their ‘character’? On the open shelves in their living room, Shalony hides the spines of Niclas’s books. ‘They’re so colourful and distracting. I turn the books around. It takes Niclas a little longer to pick a book but the space is calmer.’
‘It’s natural to want more,’ says Shalony, ‘but I would be unhappy surrounded by lots of things with no connection to us. I collect things that have a story. Like our 30-year-old sofa. It’s old IKEA, called MOMENT. My parents had it, then my sister took it to her boyfriend’s. When they split, I got it. Stories like this connect everything in our home.’
Ideas of what a room should do don’t have to dictate how you use your space. Think about what you enjoy doing most and then add what you need to make that possible. ‘So much of our life is about food, we spend hours in the kitchen, cooking, baking, making coffee,’ says Shalony. ‘Then we sit at our little table in the window, relaxing, working and being with friends.’
But why separate the two? ‘Our kitchen is the best,’ says Shalony. ‘There’s character in its design, but it’s also practical. I’m not the most organised, but I can arrange it so that plates and cups are up in the glass cupboards where they look good, and having them on show makes it easy for friends to chip in.’
CLICK TO WATCH Take a tour around Shalony and Niclas’s understated apartment
Shalony and Niclas downsized when they bought their first-floor apartment in Sundsvall, northern Sweden. To make the most of their 71m2, they turned a built-in cupboard off the living room into a study, and created a growing station in the small winter garden room at the front of the apartment to bring nature inside.
We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.
Styling: Åsa Dyberga
Photography: Lina Ikse
Follow Shalony on Instagram at @vandorff