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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The Handmade Home of a Danish Architect and Carpenter

Yesterday I was wondering around a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) store in search of a tool and I found myself mulling over how good Scandinavians tend to be at fixing things around the home - and how this has inspired me over the years. The truth is, a lot of things that require attention are relatively simple to fix - and it can feel really empowering to get out a tool box - saving yourself time and money in the process. 

But architect Mette Kirk (@kirkarkitektur)and her husband Henrik Balle - a carpenter at Silkeborg Byg go design, have taken DIY to a whole new level. The talented pair have renovated their 1935 house in Aarhus entirely by themselves - even creating the kitchen cabinets, bathroom storage and other units from scratch. Ready to feel inspired? 

The entirely unique kitchen cabinets in white and wood were designed by Mette to capitalise on space.

Wall units like this wooden one designed by Mette and built by Henrik have become increasingly popular in Denmark lately. My Copenhagen-based friend Caroline Bahrenscheer recently launched a beautiful version for cups, available here

The dining space is filled with fab Danish design pieces including wishbone chairs, BT001 pendant lamp, and a Formikami table lamp.

A beautiful parquet floor from Hørning Parket has been laid throughout the house. 

This style of built-in cabinetry (made by Henrik) is ideal for small bedrooms as it makes use of every inch.

I love the built-in bedside table nook - such a clever addition! The lamp is the Louis Poulsen Ring Crown.

Henrik also built the wooden bathroom cabinets (look at the detail!) - which add a wonderful warmth to the space as well as gallons of open and closed storage space! The loo is from Ifö and the floor was found at Flisegalleriet

What an inspiring home. 

It would be so useful to be able to whip up incredible cabinets and storage units at whim, don't you think? And of course, Mette's eye for design is simply wonderful too! 

Do you have enough storage in your home, or has Mette and Henrik's house inspired you to add more? 

Perhaps more importantly, how much do DIY do you do? Are you the type to get out a toolbox if something needs fixing or do you prefer to call a handyman? I've learnt to dabble (although Per does the majority!) - but we're on nowhere near the level of building incredible units like the ones in this home!

Would you like to feel inspired by other architect's homes today? Here are some lovely ones: 


Have a great start to the week friends!

Niki

Photography: Mette Kirk, shared with kind permission

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Tiny Home Inspiration: A Beautiful Swedish Studio With A Great Storage Solution

A tiny, one room studio apartment with lots of storage and a beautiful aesthetic? Yes, it IS possible! if you're dealing with 28 square metres / 300 square feet or less and struggling to find a place for all your things, I have a feeling you'll find this beautiful Gothenburg apartment truly inspiring - and I couldn't resist adding a few more ideas to the mix too. Oh, and I added the floor plan at the end a first from my side, but I felt it could be useful (courtesy of Entrance). Don't live in a confined space? Lots of homes have compact spaces such as a box room - so I have a feeling this tour will come in handy for most of us! 

Unless you're a true minimalist, there's no going for the trendy 'no upper cabinets' look that's so hot right now. Instead, it's all about maximising height and wall space - and in my humble opinion, upper cabinets can look just as good! If you have a lot of kitchen utensils, opt for closed cabinets for a less cluttered look.  

This kitchen could have looked a little cold had it not been for the beautiful warm natural textures seen in the stone worktop and wood dining chairs. 


The stylist behind this apartment hasn't utilised under-the-sofa storage here, but if you need the space, opt for sofas and coffee tables with built-in storage. 


Again, not seen here, but if you are a book lover or would love to display personal items, the enclave in the picture above to the right of the wardrobe (where there painting is) would be a perfect spot for narrow vertical shelling that extends the full height. See this beautiful Stockholm family home for some great 'small space' bookshelf inspiration! 

No matter your ceiling height, the vertical space in a small apartment is one of your greatest assets - use to  the full by ensuring wardrobes extend all the way to the ceiling. You can always hang a ladder on the wall to the side for access. 

The space under the bed is another great place for extra storage. For a neater look, add a bed skirt - it will add a soft touch to the bedroom area and cover up whatever is underneath. 

Wall-mounted furniture and accessories: if your walls allow it, hang lights and other furniture on the wall to clear floor space. 


And in case you're curious - here's the 27 square metre floor plan: 

I hope this has been helpful. A special thanks to all of those who have e-mailed me /  requested inspiration for living spaces smaller than 30 square metres! Please do feel free to email me anytime with ideas and requests, it's really helpful! 

Oh, and for another serene smallish space - did you see Sarah's Copenhagen home yesterday? So serene! And of course, there's always the archive too! 

Wishing you all a great day!

Niki

Photography courtesy of Entrance 

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