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Before and after: Our Attic Make-over


Sponsored by Elfa, all words and photos are my own. I only ever work with brands I love. 

Last January, I announced it was finally time to organise our home - having lived in our house for 15 years, it was well overdue! I'm proud to say, I stuck to my word and 2022 made-over our laundry room, created a new wardrobe in the bedroom and installed wall to wall shelving and a desk in Allie's 'tween' room. But there was one space which needed the biggest overhaul of all: our attic. 

Located off our bedroom at the top of the house, our attic has been a dumping ground for just about anything and everything. Christmas decorations, yoga gear, frames, camera equipment, and all my styling props are part of the jumbled mess. To retrieve something is like a scene from Mission Impossible: climbing over and under things, searching for a needle in a haystack! Here's how it looked before (embarrassingly): 

Despite the mess and low ceiling, there were a couple of things in our favour (every cloud, right?) - good solid walls, and a nice wood floor. So, I turned to the Elfa online planning tool and design team and we got to work planning the space! 

This is one of two storage rooms that we have at home and I was keen to make this feel accessible so that styling props and other items were in easy reach. I sometimes need to work with mood boards and comparing items them side-by-side, so I was also keen to ensure a comfortable open-space in the centre of the room! 

Design 
Having had plenty of experience with Elfa for theist part of a year. I was keen to use the storage system init this space too. If you're not familiar with the Swedish storage system, it's centred around a series of vertical rods to which you can click in an array of units such as shelves, drawers, hooks, mirrors, peg boards and more - making it completely flexible and suitable for any space. 

It made sense to make full use of the width and height of the walls in the attic and I was keen for everything to be on display to make it as easy as possible to find things, so we opted for open shelves and see-through mesh drawers. 

For the wall to the right, the plan included storage for creative items (far right), as well as space for tools, nails and other small objects. 

The ceiling height is really low at the back of the room. We therefore felt it would be an excellent place to install long items such as rugs, a tent, yoga equipment and other large items. 

The wall on the left is reserved for styling props including cushion covers, blankets, vases, clothes, and picture frames. I changed the section to the left to include a clothes rail 

With the plans in place, the next step was to clear out the room and have a really good declutter! There were quite a few trips to the second-hand store and our bedroom looked like this for a few days:

But it was well worth the effort. 

Ready to see the results? 

After - wall to right

Fun is not usually a word I would associate with tidying up, but I can't tell you how much I enjoyed putting everything in its place. 

The open melamine shelf has proven really handy for files and small storage boxes and I've used mesh drawers underneath for ribbons, cards, stationary, photography equipment, cables and Christmas decorations. 


Craft section

One of my favourite areas is the craft / DIY section which includes a storing board with hooks and hoops for tools, small trays for nails and other small items and metal rings (book ends) and a reversible tray to suspend rolls of paper. 



After - end wall 

A wire shelf with valet rods suspended underneath provides space for longer items. I also like that there's floor space underneath for furniture. 



After - wall to the left


The above picture gives you an idea of just how low the ceiling is. Since I'm often kneeling down, I added a rug for comfort! 


This side of the room has open shelving (including melamine shelves and wire shelf baskets) to display all my textiles and books. I also installed a clothes rod, the area underneath of which doubles up as an area to store larger prints and frames.  


We're so thrilled with the results. Rather than scrambling around searching for things, it's actually a joy to retrieve stuff and put it back in its place again afterwards! 

I hope you like our new highly organised attic space as much as we do! Do you think it will stay this tidy? Knowing my family, it could be a battle, but we'll give it a shot! 

In case you're feeling inspired to organise your attic space, I can highly recommend the Elfa planning tool or asking for help from Elfa professionals (available pretty much worldwide). The Elfa storage system offers a solution for just about anything - no matter how big or awkwardly shaped so you'll have your space organised in now time. 

Do you have any rooms or areas in your home you're hoping to organise in 2023? If so, I'd love to hear more about your plans! 

Niki

A special thank you to Christine Dahlman, Storage Expert at Elfa, who has been so helpful and instrumental to the results! 

Photography: Niki Brantmark

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Allie's Bedroom Makeover - From Tween to Teen!


Paid partnership with Elfa, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

The thing about children is that one minute they're tiny babies, the next they're whizzing off on adventures with friends! Take my daughter, Allie. She's turning twelve this October! Where has the time gone? Always a ray of sunshine, she can't go two steps without a cartwheel and loves to ski, play football (that's soccer to all my American friends!) and lately, has become passionate about fashion and interiors (hmmm, I wonder who she gets that from?). 

Needless to say, she grew out of her bedroom a long time ago - and a makeover was well overdue. Since I promised 2022 would be the years we'd organise our home (with my new wardrobe checked off the list last month), one of the key factors would be to ensure it had plenty of storage! It would also need to cater for Allie's needs - and of course, reflect her personal style and wish list. 

Before

I told you our house is messy / disorganised! I'm surprised there wasn't a pair of pants (UK version) on the floor! Chaos aside, this side of the room was dominated by low storage which was crammed with books, toys, cuddly bears and a load of other bits and bobs. 

I've noticed that the toys have slowly started to collect dust and her room has become a place to hang out with friends, do homework and experiment with fashion, hair and make-up - in between making TikToks and doing backflips on her bed - not always in that order!

I asked Allie what she felt was missing and we narrowed it down to:

- A desk area with drawers 
- A pinboard for small pictures, notes and general inspiration 
- Book shelves - with book ends! 
- A dressing table 
- Good lighting 

Oh, and the look and feel should have a hint of boho with lots of greenery, natural material and plants! 

Planning 



Above is the original design, which was created using the Elfa drag and drop online planning tool. Once the items arrived, we rejigged them a little to make use of the natural light (that's one of the beauties of Elfa - it's a flexible system so you can constantly adapt it according to your needs as well as add items over time). 

After 


Just like the wardrobe system in my bedroom, this shelving system is centred around a series of vertical rods, to which you can click-in a whole tray of items such as shelves, drawers, clipboards, mirrors, hooks and more. For a children's bedroom it's an absolute dream! Here's a breakdown of the items we added: 

The desk area


Above the desk we added a Storing Board with attachable hooks and boxes for small items like pens, paperclips and scissors (Per always marvels at how many 'tiny' items the girls amass, all of which are apparently crucial!). 

I particularly love that the desk height can be raised as she grows!


mesh basket under the desk is used to store cables (her room is officially neater than my office!). 

And we also added a series of deep wire drawers with Décor fronts for all her notepads, paint etc. 

The shelves 


To create the shelving, we used a series of melamine shelves mounted on click-in brackets. Lesser used items are / old photos etc which Allie would like to save for the future have been stored away on higher shelves (we might buy a small footstool which could double-up as the dressing table stool) and the things she uses daily are within reach on the lower shelves. 

One of the niftiest items we discovered is the reversible shelf / tray which can be used as a shelf for plants etc or a tray for paper, prints etc with a ridge so they don't slide off.  


We also used a series of book supports and wallbands to stop tomes and other items from falling off the shelves (you haven't seen the chaos when Allie does gymnastics!). 

Sidenote: have you read 'The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse'? It's the sweetest book and a Brantmark family favourite! 

The pinboard 


I made the pinboard using a cork board covered with stretched linen.  


Slim hooks that click into place created a place for hairbands, necklaces, sunglasses... you name it! 

The dressing table 


A dressing table was highest on Allie's wish list! She's actually not allowed to wear make-up outside of the house yet, but she loves to experiment and have fun with it at home!

To create the dressing table area, we added a Decor Mirror - which is the same as the one I have in my new wardrobe. We also put a reversible shelf underneath it for nail varnish, brushes etc and a series of clear boxes (from the Elfa Studio in town) for make-up, jewellery etc. A simple lamp above lights up the area after dark. 

The drawer underneath has been fitted with a Decor accessory tray so that Allie has a place for her bits and bobs like earrings, hairbands, purses etc. 


And finally, we hung a Bracket hook rack on the side for her bags. 

Oh, how I'd have loved to have had this setup when I was a kid! 

The best thing of all, is that it's created so much space in the rest of her room, perfect for phase two of the make-over - rumour has it, Allie's planned a gallery wall with Per's old LPs, a garland of trailing ivy and there was a mention of a lava lamp! I'm looking forward to seeing the boho look unfold!

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the keyboard, there's space for it on the long desk but she might also use a stand instead. 

I hope you like the results as much as Allie does! Please do give me a shout if you have any questions - or if you have a children's room to plan, you can find out more about this system over at Elfa

I hope you have a relaxing, fun weekend planned. I'm heading off to Stavanger, Norway this evening to write a city guide for an English magazine - very exciting, Norway is my favourite country in the world! I hope I can squeeze in a trip to the fjords and a hike on the Saturday. If you'd like to follow along, I'll be sharing my trip on Instagram stories. 

Trevlig helg! Have a great weekend! 

Niki

Photography Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home

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Makeover: Creating My Dream Wardrobe From Start to Finish!


Paid partnership with Elfa, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love. 

Remember I said this was going to the year I finally organise my home? I've moved one step closer - my new wardrobe is finished! 

Allow me to paint the scene. My previous wardrobe was sandwiched between the girls' bedrooms on the floor below, it was really small and cramped and I had to tip-toe through their rooms at night. I could never find anything; it simply wasn't practical in any shape or form and honestly, a total mess!

The far side of our bedroom on the top floor seemed like the obvious choice for a new one. In the past, this corner a reading corner, yoga studio and even once graced the cover of a book as my home office! But I've never really felt it's been put to great use - until now! 

The problem was, it's a slightly awkward spot: sandwiched between the stairs and a large radiator - plus it has a sloped ceiling. 

Here's how I transformed it with the help of international Swedish brand Elfa

The brief
I had an entire jumble of items that needed a home - from maxi dresses, jumpsuits, sweaters, jeans and gym kit, to hats, tights, jewellery and lingerie! Since we share a bathroom between five of us (two of which are teenagers) I was also keen to incorporate a little spot to do my hair and make-up. A girl can dream!

The obstacles


Radiator
This mighty radiator was in the way. To be honest, we hadn't used it all winter since I like to keep the area cool for my beloved lemon tree (AKA my fourth child!) while it winters indoors. Removing it was a no-brainer, so we called the plumber in. It left a gaping hole which we plugged and painted over.  

Bannisters
The bannisters to the left of the space were also an obstacle. In the end we decided to build a short floor-to-ceiling wall to frame the side of the wardrobe. 

Angled ceiling
Probably one of the most common problems when building a wardrobe is an awkward sloped ceiling. We hired a builder to insert a made-to-measure triangular shaped wood piece above the open-topped wardrobe. It was painted the same colour for a seamless look. The best thing about this is that we can use the full height of the room for storage. 

The design
The beauty of Elfa is that the system is fully flexible and can be adapted to fit your space and your needs. Plus, they offer a great online planning tool which enables you to easily design and plan your wardrobe to the exact measurements of your room - love that!  

The system is centred around a series of vertical rods from which you 'click-in' your choice of shelves, sliding shoe racks, trouser rails, tie racks, rods, drawers, mirrors, hooks etc. 

Since it's in our bedroom, I wanted to go for a slightly smarter option, choosing a few items from the Décor assortment which combines function and flexibility with the style and luxury of wood. I combined open and closed solutions together with extra features such as a gliding shoe and trouser rack and somewhere to hang shorter and longer clothes. 

Door selection

I chose Forma doors in melamine satin white - a three door sliding solution. There are countless others to choose from (for those of you who live in Sweden, Norway, Denmark or Finland) - or you could go wild and opt for an open solution (I'm WAY too messy for that!).

The results

Once the vertical rods had been installed, everything else could just be clicked into place. Most of my wardrobe is made up of wire shelves with Décor fascia for a sleek, smart finish. 


I don't know how good you are at folding, but I think Marie Kondo would describe mine as distinctly sub-par! If you're the same, let me tell you, these click-in wire shelf dividers are a game changer. Not only do they condense the width of your folded sweaters making them appear more neat - they also allow you to double up on each shelf so you have room for more clothes. 


A long closet rod means I have place for longer and shorter clothes. And I placed some of my smarter sweaters in boxes from the Elfa studio - love that they can be dust free but still visible. 


I particularly love the Décor gliding pant rack and gliding shoe mesh shelf. How smart and practical are they? Only the best for my gold sparkly boots! 


Over to the opposite side of my wardrobe and guess what? 


Tadaaa! I have a special place to do my hair and make-up!


This is thanks to a click-in Décor mirror and accessory shelf for all my brushes, make-up, perfume etc. I also picked up a jewellery box from the Elfa studio in Malmö

So much more relaxing to get ready without someone else on the loo behind me (not kidding!). 


Underneath, two different sized mesh drawers with Décor drawer fronts provide storage for everything from scarves, sunglasses and purses to lingerie and nightwear. I chose the knob with leather pull.

I added a soft drawer accessories tray to the upper drawers and then simple mesh metal dividers to the lower drawers - all of which help to keep the drawers neat and organised! 


Don't mind me while I hang out around my new dream wardrobe picking out jungle-style clothes and generally admiring ow neat it is! I've got no excuses now not to use a wardrobe instead of a chair at night (gaaah!) and up my style game. Oh, the pressure! 

I hope you found this wardrobe build interesting / inspiring - especially if you are looking to organise a room in your home. If so, check out Elfa and find your nearest store here - they ship pretty much worldwide. 

Next step: Allie's bedroom. Back to the planning tool! 

I look forward to sharing the results with you in early June!

Niki

Photography: Niki Brantmark

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The Secret to Creating a Calm & Organised Home, Scandi Style

Paid partnership with Elfa, all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love. 

Minimalist, practical, calm, organised. These are just some of the words that people frequently use to describe a Scandinavian home. And they'd be right! Having lived in Sweden for over 18 years I am constantly amazed at just how neat and tidy people's homes are (with the rare exception, of course!). Life is messy, children are messy, so, just how do they do it? Simply acquiring less stuff - or having a good old declutter certainly helps. But there is something more at play. 

I put a lot down to excellent storage. 

Simply put - I've been told that by creating a perfect home for everything - no matter how big or small, keeping your home tidy, neat and organised will be way easier. 

The problem 
Now, I'm going to fess up. The Brantmark family home is messy. It's shamefully messy. Organisation is neither Per nor my strong point. Someone is always tearing around the house looking for something they've lost (is it just me or are children particularly bad at finding things?). And it's embarrassing. Is there anyone out there who feels the same? 

The solution
This year everything's going to change! Why? Because I approached global Swedish storage experts Elfa - who happen to be based locally here in Malmö - and asked them to help me organise my home, room by room! And I hope, by sharing the knowledge and various solutions with you - you'll also pick up some great tips and tricks too. Unless of course, you've already got a wonderfully organised home - in which case, please do share your tips along the way! 


Who is Elfa? 
If you've been following My Scandinavian Home for a while, you'll most likely be familiar with Elfa already. Their fab storage systems pop up in homes I feature time and time again (take this, this, this and this!).  The Swedish company was founded in 1948 and prides itself on providing a sustainable, functional and high-quality storage system and doors for just about anything and anywhere in your home including the bedroom, children's room, living room, kitchen, garage, attic, hobby rooms, home office and laundry space. Think flexible shelving, drawers, hooks, baskets, dividers and more which will give even the tiniest and most awkward items a home. 

And they also offer planning help and great online tools. 

Most importantly, I love the Elfa ethos: it's not only about providing a perfect place for everything in your home, but also about creating more space for you, and making your home a better place to be. 

That's me sold! But where to start? 


Home Edit
The best way to get started, I learned,is to take stock of existing storage and 'problem areas' in the house. Have you noticed; some parts of the home feel way easier to keep tidy than others? It might be a load of small items collecting on a side table in the hallway, heaps of clothes in a corner or a cupboard stuffed to the brim with clobber.  

I pinpointed four areas in my home: my wardrobe (still in one of my girls rooms), Allie's bedroom (going from tween to teen!),  the laundry room (enter at your own peril), and the attic (don't get me started!). I'm looking forward to sharing my room by room plans, and all the details (including before and afters - no matter how embarrassing!) over the coming months. 

Do you have any specific places in your home? If so, I hope you'll enjoy the forthcoming series. 

Right, time to get planning, I've got a house to organise! Watch this space! 

Wishing you all a lovely weekend, 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Elfa

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