Mindful Decorating: Tips and A Tour of a Cosy Swedish Home in Holland

This grey, rainy Tuesday in Malmö calls for a day indoors - preferably in 'mysbyxor' (comfy track pants) and some very chunky knit socks (although these days I swear by my Swedish Shephard slippers!). Slightly further South, founder of Hemma Interiors Matilda Kristoffersson, a Swede living in Amersfoort, The Netherlands is cosying up at home with her Dutch husband Thijs and their three children Luuk (2.5 years) and newborn twins Joep and Lill. Matilda is an interior stylist who prides herself on a 'feeling first' approach. The mindful home has become a hot topic in recent times, especially as we find ourselves spending a copious amount of time indoors. I caught up with Matilda to find out a more about what it means and garner a few tips. 

Can you tell us a little about your house? 
We live in a terraced house measuring 135 square meters, divided over three floors. On the ground floor, we have our kitchen, dining, and living room as one open space with warm oak floors throughout. On the first floor we have our bedroom, family bathroom and our children's bedrooms  (Joep and Lill share a room). On the third floor, we have an attic space with high ceilings which serves as my workspace as well as a guest room for when my family comes over from Sweden. Both the first and second floor has white stained pine wood floors. I am very traditional Swedish in that I love white walls and light wooden floors. The house is situated on a quiet street in a newly built area with a canal just in front which we can see from our large windows in the kitchen and our bedroom. It is a great place for children to grow up and our son often plays with his friends out on the street in front of our house. 

How has being Scandinavian influenced your style and work? 
Being Swedish I think home is something really important. It gets pretty dark and cold during a big part of the year, so we tend to spend a lot of time in our homes, and that of our friends. I am very passionate about helping and inspiring others to create a home that truly makes them feel good and “at home” via my company Hemma Interiors (hemma means "home" in Swedish). I do this via my Instagram, my Online Course in Mindful Interior, and a new Guided Room Meditation that I am about to release. 

That sound really exciting, I'll be keeping a look out for your course! How has your interest in mindfulness and your Swedish background contributed to your home decorating? 
I take a mindful and “feeling first”  approach to how I decorate our home. This means that I think about how I want to feel in a space, and then connect this to design and style choices. So there is quite a mix of styles in our home with a more rustic kitchen, minimalistic bedroom, eclectic and classic look in the living room. But our entire home is still very Scandinavian I would say. In order to have a peaceful flow in the house, each space still has a similar color palette and materials; I’m very traditional Swedish in that I love a white wall and natural wood. We buy most of our furniture second hand as I believe that it is the best for our environment and it gives a very personal feeling to a home. I also buy a lot from IKEA (also second hand often) which I hack and upgrade to make my own. This really gives an outlet for my creativity.


Mindful decorating has become a big topic lately, can you tell us more about it?
When people hear I combine mindfulness and interior, they assume that it must mean minimalism and light colors, kind of like walking into a yoga studio. But in reality, a mindful interior does not necessarily mean that it looks in a certain type of way, but rather it is about the power of really tuning into our own personal style and focusing on how you really want to feel in your home, rather than how it looks from an outside perspective. Something I call “Feeling First” interior.

I think how we feel in our homes have become even more important over the last few months as we spend so much time in them now. Our homes are, and can be, so much more than just a place where we eat, sleep and watch TV. It is truly a space that we can use to relax, spend loving time with family and friends, and fully be ourselves in. 
  

How does mindful decorating differ from the usual way you might approach decorating a home? 
Decorating your home in a mindful way, 'Feeling First' instead of 'Design First', flips around the traditional decorating and interior process. You start off by exploring how you want to feel in your home, and then think about what type of colors, materials, designs and styles fit with this feeling. It is about starting from who you are and realizing your own personal style in your home, rather than trying to recreate that of someone else. And by doing so, empowering yourself to be and show who you really are in your home. Because if we are not able to celebrate our true selves in our own homes, then where else?


Do you have any tips for anyone looking to try a mindful approach to decorating? 
To me, the core of mindfulness is to embrace what is and be grateful for what you have in the now - because at the end of the day that is all we ever have - this moment now. By embracing what our homes are right now we can decorate from a place of gratitude and start to truly connect to how we want to live in them. I believe that we all have something that I call “Interior Intuition”, a sort of powerful guiding gut feeling of how we want our homes to look and feel. The trick is just to learn how to connect to it, and trust it. 


Here are three tips to get your started: 

  1. Dare to listen to, and trust, your own interior intuition
  2. Start with gratitude. Embrace what is already there rather than get caught up in the things you don’t like 
  3. Think about how you want to feel in your space rather than how you want it to look

***

Thank you so much to Matilda for sharing her home tour and mindful interior tips. Oh - and a big congratulations are in order on little Joep and Lill! 

You can find out more about Matilda's online courses here.

I hope you found this topic as interesting as I did - do share your thoughts below, I'd love to hear them! 

Niki

Photography: Matilda Kristofferson 

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Johanne & Lukas' Beautiful Copenhagen Townhouse from 1927

Tjena! How was your weekend? The sun was shining here in the Öresund region which is just what we all needed to keep our spirits up! I say 'Öresund' because that also includes Copenhagen, which is just over the water from where I live - and the subject of today's home tour! Yay! You might recall the feature I wrote about Johanne & Lukas's apartment last year (in case you missed it, take a peek here - it's packed with fab small space ideas!). And now the pair, who are expecting a baby girl in the summer, have moved to a wonderful townhouse. Built in 1927, the property was in major need of renovation and I can't think of a better pair for the job than Johanne and Lukas. Snapshots on their instagram @femte.til.venstre reveal it's starting to take shape beautifully! Here's a sneak peek: 

I love doors with windows that open separately - they're perfect for springtime!

The wall looks very much like my new kitchen wall - I used chalk paint from the small Icelandic company Kalklitir who pretty much worldwide and do some beautiful shades! Plus, they are the nicest people ever! 



I'm such a big fan of this IKEA Gjöra bed - the high bar can be used for clothes, fabric and general customising (no doubt Allie would use it as a gymnastics bar given the chance too!).  It looks really pretty in this bedroom, don't you think? 


Oh, so beautiful - just as expected!

I love all the earthy touches and all the wood in particular, it's so calming. 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

Excited to hear the baby news this summer, I'll be keeping an eye on their instagram like a hawk! If you're not already following Johanne and Lukas, you can find them at @femte.til.venstre.

How about a little more Danish inspiration this morning?

A cosy Danish loft full of plants and vintage finds
Books, art and golden tones in a Copenhagen apartment
A Copenhagen home full of Scandinavian design treasures

Have a great start to the week!

Niki

Photography: Johanne & Lukas / @femte.til.venstre

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Step Inside Anita's Earthy Family home In Switzerland (Wait Till You See The View!)


Men, tjena! How was your weekend? I hope you had a great one. Ours was a little uneventful but I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the cinema to see 1917 - what an incredible film! So moving! Well worth seeing. Anyhooo, I know you're here to get a little interior inspiration and I promise we're all in for a major treat today. This serene home in Gelterkinden, a town in the countryside near Basel, Switzerland belongs to Anita, her husband, three children, two cats and 7 tortoises (I was desperately looking out for a reptile in the pictures but sadly didn't spot any!). The house was built in 1949 and Anita and her husband have spent three years renovating it ("it's still an ongoing / never ending project!" - don't I know that feeling!). Just like the lovely family concept store Wundernest, which Anita runs with her friend Claudia, the family home is full of earthy, natural and ethically made items giving the entire space an element of calm and a lovely warm feel.

It's quite unusual to see light wood kitchen cabinets - and I absolutely love them, especially when combined with white walls and a concrete floor. 

A gallery behind the sofa is made up of a subtle yet eclectic array of items including shelving, a print and skateboard (from Indiana Skateboards & SUP). 

This set-up reminds me very much of my own vintage mid-century trolley (these pictures of it were taken 8 years ago - I can't tell you how much has changed since then!) - pick up a similar one here*. I love the way Anita has used it to display books, plants and a Marshall speaker*



Imagine how nice it would it be to throw open the shutters to this view of the Swiss countryside every morning? Talk about taking that first coffee to another level! 


Monday mornings tend to be a little fraught (don't you think?) but this lovely home makes me feel instantly calm and like I can achieve anything! It's simply beautiful! 

I love the earthy tones. And the view over the Swiss countryside from the bedroom is wonderful! How nice would it be to throw open the shutters to that every morning?

You can see more of Anita's home over on her instagram @wundernest. In two week's time, Wundernest will open its doors in Liestal - if you're in the area,  do stop by!  

Looking back through the archives I found this to be my first ever feature of a Swiss home - hopefully the first of many! But if you're looking for more 'earthy' inspiration I love Danila's Finnish home in a rental, the fabulous Sydney home of an interior stylist and a Gothenburg home full of treasures

Have a great start to the week! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Anita / @wundernest
*This post contains a few affiliate links marked with an asterisk

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Danila's Lovely, Earthy Home In A Finnish Rental

Quite often, the homes I show are blessed with dramatically high ceilings, beautiful stucco, original parquet flooring and other drool worthy period features. All very well if you are lucky enough to have these in your home, but what about the rest of us mere mortals? If you fall into the latter camp, you'll be as excited as I was to hear the owner of this Finnish apartment state in her instagram bio: "making the most of a not so glam 73m2 rental." Sound familiar? Read on for some beautiful inspiration from Danila Yonsini's lovely home!  

Danila has painted her walls in soothing earthy tones with a warm hint and added plenty of texture to break up the 'boxy' feel of the architecture.

IKEA rattan cupboard, Portrait H* is similar, Mantis table lamp*

Every time I see a Samsung The Frame TV it takes me straight back to that greenhouse make-over I did with Emily Henderson.  I love the one in my sitting room too - I always choose pictures like the one Daniela's chosen but my kids love to change it to more shall we say 'statement' art - just to wind me up!  


We're so used to seeing iconic String shelving in the sitting room, but I absolutely love it in the kitchen too (as seen here!!).  

Is it just our family, or is your hallway floor knee deep in shoes too? If you have the wall space for it, this storage from IKEA is really nifty! 


I spy a piece that has gone bananas on instagram lately: the round, white ceramic vase from HM Home (I couldn't find this in the online store so it might require a store visit if you're interested) . They're everywhere! 

I love the little sculpture next to the bed. Sadly, I don't know where this particular one is from, but I got sent a similar one recently by a Swedish artist and it's one of my favourite pieces! You can see a glimpse of it in my sitting room here and they're available here

I hope Danila's home has given you some inspiration for your own home! You can see more pictures here

Fancy delving into a few more Finnish homes today?

In case you missed it, I shared a stunning Finnish family home in a former schoolhouse yesterday (so dreamy!) and I also love the happy, vibrant home of a Finnish designer and Maiju's delightful home. Check out the entire archive here

Niki

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10 ways To Transform Your Home Into a Sanctuary Like a Dane!

Yesterday I talked about one of the hot (or should I say cool?) colour trends of the year. And today I wanted to share another key trend that's been popping up - which centres around well-being. In my Lagom book I wrote about how, in an age where we're connected 24/7 and constantly feeling a little overwhelmed, it's become important to create a living space where you can find balance, switch off and relax. In essence the home has become our sanctuary. Not quite there with that spa-like feel yet? Don't worry, it's easier than you might thing! I was excited to discover the Danish home of Simone Østergaard which is a great example of how a family living space can be transformed into a calming oasis in 10 simple steps. Ready to dive in? 

1. Declutter: There's a big difference between having a minimalist home and one that is devoid of clutter. The essential aspect of creating a calming home is surrounding yourself with things you love and believe to be useful. Even if you have many! Everything else must go - they'll only make you feel disorganised and stressed. 

2. Texture: Keeping things clean doesn't mean boring. Simone has applied Kalkitir paint in powder form to her walls for a beautiful textured look. 

3. Plants and flowers: maybe a cliché but nature is like balm for the soul. Surrounding yourself with fresh or dried flowers and lots of greenery is an instant mood lifter! 

4. Sheer curtains: Sheer window dressings slip in soft, diffused light for instant calm. Source similar made-to-measure curtains here*

5. Candles: Where would a Scandinavian home be without candles?! Don't wait until night fall though - a naked flame in daylight hours is perfect for adding a spa-like feel! Add a beautiful scent to really get the senses going.

6. Natural textures: wood, rattan, sheepskin and other natural materials will instantly make a room feel cosier.

7. Calm bedroom: a bit of an obvious one, but for the best type of beauty sleep, your bedroom should be decluttered, calm and fairly cool. Since living in Scandinavia I've also become a real advocate for single duvets too - being able to choose your own down thickness and sticking a limb out in whichever direction you please are tantamount to a great night sleep! 

8. Cocoon: Children love to be cosy and feel safe. Creating a cocoon over their bed in the form of a canopy will sure to send them into a blissful slumber. 

N.B. make sure anything items you choose to place around a cot are child-safe! 

9. Fluffy towels and dressing gowns: Towels rolled up in a vintage wooden dough bowl* and a soft robe give the bathroom instant spa appeal! 

10. Contain your stuff! It's impossible not to have lots of bits and pieces in the bathroom (if you ask me!). Using trays and pretty containers for hair clips, cotton wool, moisturisers and other bits and bobs will help to create a calmer, more organised space and it'll look prettier too! Hay sells a similar marble tray*

I'm feeling more relaxed just looking at these pictures, how about you? 

Is there anything that stood out to you in particular - or anything you might implement in your home? 

The first thing I'd like to do is organise our bathroom so there are more containers for all our stuff! It's out of control right now - and I'd sooooo love it to look like Simone's. I have a feeling that if I rolled up towels like that in our bathroom my 11-year-old daughter would use them all in one afternoon though! Guh! 

You can see more calming snapshots of Simone's home on her blog and instagram

Other serene homes to feel inspired by: 


Have a relaxing day friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Simone Østergaard with thanks

This post contains affiliate links which means I might make a tiny amount of money if you click through and buy an item from one of the links marked with *

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