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6 Beautiful, Simple Swedish Christmas Decorating Ideas from Anna's Home


It's no secret that I love Christmas, it's one of my favourite times of the year. I'm extra excited this week as this Sunday marks the First Day of Advent when I finally feel free to put up some decorations (hence the back-to-back 'jul' themed posts)! However, I understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea - or indeed that everyone celebrates Christmas so I promise to try to keep it balanced over the coming weeks!  

With that said, who's ready for some decorating ideas? Ho ho ho! One of my favourite Swedes to follow at time of the year is Anna Truelsen, her home is always full of beautiful, yet simple decoration ideas - many of which are handmade. Here are five I spotted which would make great crafting ideas: 


1. Homemade pine garland: I love a simple garland made from pine sprigs - they look equally pretty hung in the window as they do draped over the back of a chair (see top picture!). Find out how to make your own here
2. A simple sapling placed in a vase or pot of water: a very popular Scandinavian tradition (especially if you're lucky enough to have Christmas trees growing in your garden - yes, I know....!). Pulling saplings up and placing them in a vase, ceramic pot or other vessel of your choice make for a really pretty 'au natural' decoration. Plus you can replant them after the festive period! 

By the way, how stunning is Anna's table? Almost made me weep! 
3. Dried orange garlands: an annual staple and super easy to make, orange garlands add a lovely touch of colour and fill the home with a wonderful Christmassy scent! 
4. Paper snow flowers: these fine specimens have exploded in popularity in Sweden over the past few years, and they're so simple and fun to make.  There's a step by step guide here (in Swedish - but non-swedes should be fine as there are plenty of pictures!). 

5. Paper chains: got some leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper? Why not make some good old fashioned paper chains? See the know-how here along with DIY bunting and baubles! 

6. A Tree in a basket or pot: It's lovely to bring a tree into the house early, but if you're not careful it'll quickly droop come Christmas Day. And that's where potted trees come into the mix. If watered regularly, they'll stay fresh and healthy - as well as smell divine. And you can replant it once Christmas is over! 

I hope this has given you a few ideas! Hop on over to Anna's instagram to feel inspired! 

Looking for some pretty advent candle inspiration? I love these 5 pretty candle displays you can make in an instant.  

You might also like to take a peek inside the Christmas archive for more ideas. 

Also, do you make an advent calendar for your children / nieces and nephews / grandchildren / pets? One year I made this one for my girls. They loved it. I couldn't resist putting a couple of potatoes in one of the numbers as a joke. I was roaring with laughter. I did have a couple of sweets set to one side though, I'm not that mean! 

Have a hyggelig weekend friends!  

Niki

Photography: Anna Truelsen - shared with kind permission. 

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A Charming Festive Swedish Cottage In Winter Time

When do you start decorating your home for Christmas (if you do)? In Sweden the First Sunday of Advent is traditionally the day many Scandinavians start to add festive touches, although the darkness has prompted many to start early. I therefore felt it was time for my second 'Jul' post of the year and this charming Swedish cottage fits the bill perfectly! The traditional red and white property dates back to 1901 and was formerly the home of a platelayer (also known as a 'trackman' - whose job was to inspect and maintain the nearby railway line). Today, the charming cottage in Västmanland county belongs to Helena Dahl and her family. As you can tell from the furniture and accessories, Helena is a huge fan of vintage and antiques, and even runs a small instagram store selling Swedish vintage pieces. But what really caught my attention was just how pretty her home is at Christmas time, especially with the snow falling silently outside. Ready to feel warm and fuzzy inside? 

Simple boxwood wreaths hang from the door with red ribbon and a pine tree rests against the wall. 
In Sweden windows come alive at Christmas with paper star lanterns* and 'adventsljustake' (advent candlestick holders in an inverted V). 
The imperfections are what makes this little cottage so perfect! I particularly love the wonky walls and doorways which show the age of the cottage.
A tree sapling has been placed in a vase adding a subtle festive touch beside a sweet smelling hyacinth and simple candle. 
The Christmas tree has been festooned with vintage baubles, flags and other decorations, and lights up a dark corner under the stairs. 
A collection of three antique Swedish brass candleholders makes a pretty display on the coffee table. 
Spot the heart-shape snow-flake? But of course! 

Such a pretty home, don't you think? Is there anything that stood out to you? 

The cottage reminds me a lot of Helen's cosy Blekinge home - which I featured last week. When I see pretty country homes like these it makes me wonder if I should leave the city. Do you ever feel like that too? 

For those of you looking for new Scandi-style festive ideas for your home in the coming days, take a peek at: 

The hit DIY decoration of 2020 - a decoration made from cardboard loo rolls! 

Meanwhile, if you're American and heading off to enjoy the holidays - Happy Thanksgiving!! 

I'll be back tomorrow with a final post for the week, which will hopefully fill you with ideas for the weekend! 

Have a cosy day friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Helena Dahl with thanks. 

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My Studio Make-over (And How One Sofa Helped Transform the Space!)


Paid partnership with Bemz - thank you for supporting the Nordic brands which make My Scandinavian Home possible

When I first started my business I worked from home. I'd have the washing machine whirring in the background and other working-from-home neighbours stopping by for a cuppa (I'm sure many of you can relate these days)! For a while I loved it, but over the years I started to miss the companionship that comes with being around others and two years ago I moved into a beautiful studio space in town.  It's run by upholsterer extraordinaire Carina Grefmar and we also share the space with Helena who works for a Swedish furniture business called Maze. Needless to say a whole load of coffee goes down on a daily basis!

The only thing is, the room I share with Helena was still pretty much unfurnished save for one Söderhamn sofa and a whole load of boxes! It had becoming increasingly embarrassing, not least because we both work in the world of interiors! And then Bemz launched a Minimalist Fit design cover for IKEA sofas and everything was about to change! 


This side of the room had become a bit of a dumping ground for samples, props and other items. The problem is, once you start with one item, everything else seems to quickly gather - do you find this too?  


I sat down with My Scandinavian Home interior stylist Helen Sturesson (above with her trusty ruler!) and we hatched a plan. 

What we did

You are likely familiar with Bemz as I have partnered with the Swedish brand for many years. I simply love the entire concept. I mean, beautiful designer covers for IKEA armchairs and sofas in a choice of different high quality fabrics, what's not to love? It's the perfect way to give an old piece a whole new lease of life. 

The new Minimalist fit cover differs from their loose and regular fit covers as it doesn't require you to take apart the sofa, you simply pull it on over the top. And it comes with or without arms - in this case I decided to add arms to my sofa for a smarter look (cue a morning at IKEA!). 


I love the Pebble tone, the soft linen texture, the seams - everything! Isn't it pretty? I also picked out some cushion covers in Brera Lino Cocoa with French Seams

To finalise the look I also added quite a few pieces made by local Southern Sweden designers as well as friends from further afield. Here's a quick round-up in case you're curious:

'Landscape', vinyl paint on linen by local artist Simon VendinDesign of Edge coffee table, Sculpture from the SANT series by Malmö based Karolina Brobeck & Mini Karami, branches from my friend Sarah's garden (she left secateurs on the doorstep!). 

And from further afield: Tense Lamp by New Works (thank you to local store Svenssons for sourcing this!) and the Palus rug from Armadillo


Our desk space in the window is made from several large planks from a local DIY store. I love looking out over the majestic buildings in central Malmö - there's always something interesting to see.

Finally a space we can be proud of! Wohooo! 

I'm so looking forward to plenty of fikas (swedish coffee with cake) - if you're in the area, please do drop by, there's always a coffee pot on the go!

Curious about getting a Bemz design cover for your sofa or armchair? Keep an eye out for the Black Friday sale over at Bemz this week. Here are some of my favourite covers in action


I can't wait to show you the rest of the room once it's finished - this girl is on a mission now! 

Have a cosy day! 

Niki

Photography: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home
Styling: Helen Sturesson 

This post is brought to you in paid collaboration with Bemz and contains affiliate links. However, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I absolutely love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the Nordic businesses that help bring fresh content to your mail box and make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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Clever Small Space Solutions in a Cool Stockholm Apartment

This incredible apartment is for anyone living in small space, scratching their heads trying to figure out how on earthy they're going to fit everything in AND still achieve a minimalist aesthetic! Occupying a 19th century building overlooking Riddarfjärden, the easternmost bay of Lake Mälaren in central Stockholm, this 36 metre square (387 feet square) industrial style apartment is cool, funky, unique - and above all else practical. Trust the swedes! Scroll on down to get some ideas! 

In small living spaces using the full height of the room is key! These bespoke, built-in units make plenty of room for storage, and help to keep other areas free of clutter. 
Doubling up on space by adding a raised bed with storage underneath makes optimum use of every inch! At night, blackout blinds roll down from the ceiling creating a cosy zone and ensuring total darkness! 

Under-bed railing provides a perfect place for hanging clothes. 
To ensure a more minimalist look, group items and leaving plenty of 'blank space' around the display. 

Bespoke floor-to-ceiling pine shelving in the hallway paves the way for storage space and laundry, while a large mirror helps to visually enlarge the apartment and bounce light around. 

An internal window allows light to flow through to the windowless bathroom and let off some steam! 

I thought it would be interesting to share the floorplan too (courtesy of Historiska Hem) so you can clearly understand the footprint. It's in Swedish - säng = bed, kök = kitchen, rum = room, bad = bathroom.  
What do you think? Have you ever seen a space like this before? 

I absolutely love it! And would be half tempted to move in myself (it's for sale via Historiska Hem), not least for the views! How about you? 

More small space inspiration in this archive (if this pops up first, just scroll on past!). 

Have a great start to the week! 

Niki

PS come here looking for Scandinavian Christmas inspiration? Click here! Plus, I'm planning to share some beautiful ideas with you later on in the week! 

Photography courtesy of Historika Hem with thanks.

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Beautiful Danish Christmas Decorations in a Cosy Swedish Cottage

 
These images were taken as part of a paid Christmas campaign for Pernille Bülow*

As I walked home early evening yesterday, the night sky was bathed in a warm light from the glow of fairy lights and candles shining brightly from windows and I felt a sense that Jul (Christmas) is just around the corner. In Blekinge, Sweden, interior designer Helen Sturesson's decorations will be slightly different this year thanks to a stunning handmade Christmas collection by Pernille Bülow - a glass atelier on the Danish island of Bornholm. It's safe to say the Pernille Bülow elves have been burning the midnight oil to create the most beautiful mouth blown baubles you'll find this year (some of which are made from recycled glass) - as well as candleholders, oil lamps, vases and dinnerware. I chatted to Helen to find about her family Christmas traditions up at the cottage, and to take some photos of the collection. 

When does the Christmas period begin for you? 
It starts on the first Sunday of advent when I put up star lanterns and line the windowsills with candles and oil lamps. Around St Lucia (13th December), we put up a Christmas tree and dot more Christmas decorations around the house. 

How do you like to decorate your home for Christmas? 
As well as the star lanterns and candles, I also love to find a little Christmas tree in the garden which I bring indoors and decorate with a few pretty baubles. And I make a wreath or two, also using whatever is available outside. Since it's so small, our cottage doesn't need more than that to feel festive and cosy.



Your cottage makes the perfect backdrop for Pernille Bülow Christmas decorations - what are your thoughts on the collection? 
I love that the ReUse items (bowls, glasses and decorations) are made from recycled glass and also that everything in the entire collection is handmade or mouth blown on the Danish island of Bornholm. Every piece feels really unique and good quality. You get so much more value from items that come directly from a designer / atelier and are not mass produced.  


When do you head to your cottage for the holidays?
We usually go there one or two days before Christmas. 


What do you love most about being at the cottage at Christmas time?
It's more cosy here than at our apartment in the city. I love to light the fire in the Kakelugn (tiled oven). It's very peaceful here and I really like to be near my parents and brothers who live nearby. 

Where do you spend Christmas Eve and what does your day look like (the day Christmas is celebrated in Sweden)?
On Christmas Eve we drive over to my parents which is around 15 minutes away. The entire family gathers so we're usually about 12 people in total. We all bring dishes for the 'Julbord' (the Christmas spread) and rally around in the kitchen to finalise the meal before it goes on the table. 

After lunch there's always someone who wants to sit down and watch 'Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas' - a bizarre Swedish Christmas tradition - while others chill and chat! In the evening Tomten (Father Christmas) arrives bearing gifts and we drink glögg (mulled wine). 



What type of dishes does your Julbord include? 
We have a fairly traditional one with ham, pickled herring, Jansson's Temptation (a potato dish with anchovies), meatballs, salmon etc washed down with 'Julmust' (a form of Christmas cola) a little beer and schnapps. In the evening we drink glögg (spiced mulled wine) with gingerbread and tuck into Rice á la Malta or Christmas porridge. 


What do you do on Christmas Day (the day after the festivities)? 
It's a very relaxed day. We meet up with my parents again and go for a long walk together in the countryside before eating leftovers from the Julbord. Sometimes we head back to the city to meet up with Kristoffer's family. 


When do you take down your decorations? 
I don't really stick to a specific date - it's basically when the tree starts to look awful! The stars are the last things I take down. It feels so dark without them. My son always gets sad and cries when we take the star down in his bedroom - he loves the cosy, warm light it emits. 


Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas with us Helen, it sounds so lovely!

And thank you to Pernille Bülow for entrusting Helen and I with all the beautiful glassware! 

Follow any of the links in this post to treat yourself or friends (everything they sell makes a perfect present, but especially the clear mouthblown baubles which come in a lovely box!) - or head over to the Pernille Bülow online shop (they ship almost worldwide and it's free if you buy for a certain amount). I have a suspicion their elves will be working overtime in the coming weeks as the Christmas decorations are the prettiest I've seen this year.

Is there anything that stood out to you about the decorations or Helen's mysig family Christmas at the cottage? 

Stay cosy friends!

Niki

Photography; Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home (except for first and last cottage image by Helen)
Styling: Helen Sturesson 

*This post is a paid partnership with Pernille Bülow. All words and images are my own and I only ever work with brands I absolutely love and think you will too! Thank you for supporting the small Nordic businesses and ateliers that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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