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Before and After: Our Laundry Room Make-over


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

Do you have a neglected room in your home? Despite living in our house for almost fifteen years (wow, has it been that long?), we've never touched our laundry room (except of course, to do our laundry!). 

It's situated on the middle floor beside the bathroom and bedrooms and is a small, windowless room - even so it's an absolute godsend!

At the beginning of the year, I declared that this would be the year we'd finally organise our home, and so far, we've created a new wardrobe and sorted Allie's bedroom. And now it's time to give our laundry room some tender loving care, with a little help from Elfa, who make super smart storage solutions. 

Here's how we transformed the room from an unloved space to a fresh, beautifully smelling and practical laundry room. 

Before 

'Don't air your dirty laundry in public' - so the saying goes. Thankfully, everything in these pictures is clean. Even so, it doesn't make it any less embarrassing! 

A narrow space, our laundry room has bright blue tiles on the floor, a row of simple hooks along the wall, and a drying rack hanging from the ceiling. The latter was probably our biggest bug bear as it swings around when you try to hang clothes on it, and Per constantly bangs his head on it while ironing his shirts. 

Stowed against the wall, the ironing board (which is desperately in need of a new cover - cringe!) often slides down in the night making an alarming clang.

On the opposite side is the washer and dryer as well as shelves where we keep bedlinen and towels (and the odd rogue item such as er, sunhats!). There's also a handy sink and cupboards which we rarely use as they're quite hard to get to beside the hanging dryer. 

OK, embarrassing moment over. Time for the fun bit: the transformation!

The plan


Wall mounted storage
In a small space like this, wall mounted, flexible storage is key. Elfa helped to design this highly functional formation for us.  The beauty of this system is that it's centred around wall hung tracks to which you can click-in all kinds of units and accessories such as shelves, drawers, hooks etc. You can also add to the arrangement over time. 

The wide section on the left is for two wall mounted clothes dryers and on the right, we'll have space for wall mounted shelves and hooks. 

We actually opted for one central bar in the end - but if you're inspired to do something similar and would like to make your space even more practical, you could opt for two central brackets to make your drying shelves even more adaptable to the space. 

On door storage
I've had my eye on the on door storage ever since my first post about Elfa. Centred around a central bracket, the baskets can be moved up and down. You can also add hooks. It's perfect place for all our laundry soap as well as other accessories. 

Prepping the room



We wanted the space to be more in keeping with the rest of the home. It can be really costly to re-tile, so instead we bought a special V33 tile paint which is especially designed for bathrooms. Per and I applied several layers to the wall (white) and floor (light grey). I've actually never tried a tile paint before and I'm amazed at the results! 

The next step was to lighten the shelves and worktop. To do this, we sanded down the oak before applying a special white oil wood treatment and finish by Osmo

And finally, we painted the rest of the room white before the ELFA units were installed. 

After


Tadaaaa! Can you believe this is the same laundry room? 

To the right of the room is the Elfa storage. We added two drying shelves, a wire shelf, a wire shelf basket, a storage track, storage track hooks and a clothing accessories kit

Collapsible drying shelves


Above you can see how the drying shelves collapse against the wall to make room for other things like sorting clothes and ironing. We can also change the height or remove them entirely. 

Shelves and hooks


The high shelves are ideal for extra storage (the storage boxes are part of a set from the Marie Kondo collection from Studio Elfa in Malmö).  

One of my favourite things is that now we can hang the iron from hooks. Oh, and did you notice I changed that gross ironing board cover to a new gingham one (from IKEA)? 

I also swapped out the old laundry baskets for a pretty rattan one (there's another laundry basket in the cupboard opposite for 'overflow' - we're a family of five, after all!).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room...


The lighter wood, white tiles and light grey floor have really helped to freshen up the space. 

I also changed the door handles (it's all in the details friends!) - these are called Knob Helix, you might recognise them, as I have the same ones in our cabin kitchen.  And I picked up the baskets in town to store our bed linen and towels - so much neater! 

Door storage


Last but not least, the wonderful door storage is made up of a series of wire baskets which click into place. It's made space for all our laundry soap (I love Humdakin), cloths and other items - leaving the area around the sink clear. 


And there you have it, our new laundry room! 

Who would have thought that a room like this could bring so much joy (never thought I'd say something like that)? 

I hope you like the transformation as much as we do! 

Next step... the attic (gaaaah!). 

In the meantime, if you're in need of more storage at home, have a play arounds with the Elfa online 3D planning tool, or seek help from Elfa professionals (available pretty much worldwide) - you'll have your home organised in no time! 

If anyone's looking for me this weekend... I won't be hanging out here in the laundry room, hopefully, but I am thrilled with it! 

Have a great couple of days and see you Monday! 

Niki

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

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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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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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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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