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8 Essential Furnishings Items For a Swedish Studio Apartment

Live in a small space? I've lived in two studios in which the bed was in the corner of the living room: while studying at the University of Edinburgh and then again when I first moved to Malmö, Sweden. And oh, how I wish I'd seen this home then - it's a dream and full of ideas! I hope this Gothenburg home inspires you too - even if you have a bigger space to play with! 

Here are 8 essential elements I spotted that hold the key to creating a beautiful compact home: 

1. Room divider: sometimes the most simple of dividers can be enough to create a visual separation between the place you sleep and the rest of your living space. This rattan screen is great as it can be folded away - and moved around should you decide to re-arrange the room. 

2. Nesting tables: I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of these nesting tables in the coming months and years - and they are absolutely ideal for a smaller space since you can move them around and use them wherever needed - or push them together for a more compact look. I love the Carl Hansen & Søn nesting tables I featured in my cabin last week

3. Pouf: I bought this pouf for our cabin last week (I chose it as it is the perfect height and really comfortable - plus it looks nice too). It felt like the final piece of the jigsaw. A small-ish seat-high pouf is a perfect addition to a compact space since it can be used as a footrest or extra seating and doesn't take up a lot of room. 

4. Blackout blinds: Look closely at the windows in the bedroom area and living room and you'll spot a white blackout blind above the window. It's subtle, yet vitally important for a good night's slumber! 

5. Hook rail: A staple in Scandinavian homes, a simple rail is perfect for extra storage and overnight items. Opt for a smaller one like in this home or fill the entire width of a room. 

6. Curtains: A compact space can quickly feel cluttered. Curtains are great for concealing clobber, help to dampen sound and also add a soft and serene feel to the room. In this apartment, fresh white linen curtains have been used as window dressing, to cover storage and also between the living area and kitchen. 

I spotted these white linen curtains* on Etsy which are made to measure, and you can decide on the amount of blackout too - pretty smart I thought!

7. Round furniture: I know, I kind of wax lyrical about this, but I can't emphasise the importance of rounded edges enough! Plus round tables are way more space efficient than square tables! 

8. Mirrors: reflective surfaces are a great way to visually enlarge a space and bounce the light around. 

Curious to see the layout of this lovely Gothenburg apartment? Here it is: 

Vargadsrum - living room, Kök - Kitchen

I hope this bright and sunny space has given you a few ideas! I love the curtains in particular - something I will be thinking more about in my home. 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

Incidentally, booklovers out there must be wondering where the shelves are. If it were my home, I would probably add some built-in, wall mounted shelves in the corner of the living room which go up and over the door to the kitchen. It's a perfect spot for them, don't you think?

Would you like to see some more studio apartment inspiration today? Check out: 

I hope you have a great start to the week! 


Credits: Stadshem
*affiliate link

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Smart Compact Family Living On a Budget, Swedish Country Style!

Sometimes the best things come in small packages. And this home is a perfect example of this! Located in Uppsala, Sweden, the 43 square metre (463 square feet) apartment is home to digital creator Emma Boman Högmark, her husband and their three children: ten-year-old twins and a four-year-old. 

"The hallway, living room, bedroom and kitchen are all one room," Emma tells me. "Our bed is behind the curtain, behind the sofa. And the kids' bedroom is in a separate room. The closet has been changed into a bedroom for our youngest daughter - so compact living, yeah!"

Looking at the style, which Emma describes as "country design and second hand - full of harmony, ikea hacks and warm colours", you'd be forgiven for thinking this budget friendly pad is in the countryside - but it's actually in a 90's block, right in the heart of the city! 

Ready to feel inspired? Pull up a chair, and take the tour! 

At mealtimes, the table is pulled out from the window to create seating for the entire family. 

One of the beautiful things about this apartment, is that there is storage almost everywhere (look closely and you'll see open shelves and rows of hooks on almost every wall throughout the flat). And yet it still looks uncluttered, cosy and charming. 

Behind the dining table you can glimpse Emma and her husband's bed by the window. 

Sheer curtains are ideal for flexible small space living. During the day, they can be pulled back to flood the sitting room area with light. By night, the curtains can be drawn across to create privacy while still slipping in soft, filtered light to the other half of the room. 

The corner of the sitting room doubles up as a dressing room. 

Wall-to-wall storage made from a group of Ikea IVAR cabinets painted in an earthy green provide storage for clothes, toys and other items. 

Above it, family photos and a selection of art add a personal touch to the room. 

Despite the small space, the apartment is dotted with  beautiful pieces that create a unique and homely vibe.

The twins sleep in an Ikea MYDAL bunkbed which Emma stained brown for an aged look: "I mixed a whole load of wood stains - using everything I had at home, some of which were different colours!"

On the opposite side of the room, more slim ikea ivar cabinets are used for storage, while a wardrobe at the end of the bed provides hanging space and a vintage suitcase* offers a home for smaller items.  

While the youngest family member sleeps in a converted closet. This is how it looked before the make-over: 

To make it more 'liveable' Emma removed the door and painted the interior in cosy two-toned walls and added small details such as a mini shelf, hooks, and a canopy. 

Compact family living at its finest! 

And also, a perfect example of how you don't need to go contemporary just because you live in a modern apartment in the centre of town! 

Truly inspiring, don't you think? 

See more snapshots of Emma's home and follow her latest ikea hacks and other wonderful home DIY projects at @emmahogmark

Intrigued to take a look at some other small spaces today? Head on over to this archive - it's FILLED with amazing Scandi style compact living ideas. 

Har det så fint! 


Photography: @emmahogmark, shared with kind permission. 
*signifies an affiliated link 

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Helen's Cosy Swedish Summer Cottage Living Room

Kindly sponsored by Nordal, thank you for supporting the brands which make features like this possible*

A few weeks ago, I headed off to My Scandinavian Home interior designer Helen Sturesson's 19th century summer cottage in Blekinge on Sweden's east coast. We had such a lovely time! Last week I shared some information about the cottage's fascinating past and some snapshots of the cosy kitchen, including her Mum's incredible apple pie - take a peek here if you missed it! Today, I'm looking forward to showing you a tour of the main living room area and bedroom (the entire cottage is made up of three rooms: a kitchen, sitting room and bedroom. The loo is at the end of the garden and the bathroom is... in the Baltic Sea! A special thanks to Nordal - the Danish brand who made this trip possible - you'll spot many of their lovely pieces throughout the rooms! Ready to take a look?

The cottage is L-shaped, and the sitting room connects the kitchen (to the right) with the bedroom, when the family of four are here, they all share a room. Two windows flood the space with a warm southerly Autumn light. 

The room is made up of many different items collected over time - including a vintage sofa, a big glass cabinet which helps to keep books and games dust free as well as an incredible mirrored coffee table!

When Helen moved in, she peeled back the plaster on the wall to discover beautiful wood panelling. The planks are all numbers which could indicate the house has have been moved here - although this isn't confirmed (I have come across 'house moving' before in Sweden, does this ever happen in your country? 

CEMA pots in medium, large and extra-large, Club lounge chair in teak and paper rope.

Large 'kakelugn' (tiled ovens) stand in the corner of the main living room and bedroom and are amazingly effective at heating up the house.

In this picture you can catch a glimpse of the wood floor which squeaks as you move across it. A traditional Swedish 'trasmatta' (rug woven with rags / scraps of cloth which I wrote about in my Lagom book as they are a big part of the Swedish heritage) helps to keep drafts at bay and if you look very closely you'll notice the walls are wonky, adding to the charm! 

In the bedroom, floral wallpaper and natural wood help to bring the outside in and a candle brightens up the dark autumn day while adding a sense of calm.

I hope you enjoyed this snapshot into Helen's cottage.

If you have any questions about anything, give me a shout in the comment section below and I'll ask Helen for the low down. 

Incidentally, it's not possible to buy the Nordal items directly from their website (they sell wholesale only), however, there are many webshops throughout Europe which stock their things. Find your nearest stockist here

Next week, I'm looking forward to sharing the final post of three: Helen's cottage ready for Christmas - weeeee, so excited about this one! 

Meanwhile, I'm busy packing for a two-day trip to Oslo, Norway (very excited!) where I'll be writing a guide for Simply Scandi magazine UK (my guide to Helsingborg appears in the latest edition and there's also a Christmas edition on sale right now which features a piece I wrote about our Swedish Christmas). The mag is available here in case you're curious! 

Do you think it could be interesting to share a guide to Oslo here on My Scandinavian Home too? 

Wishing you all a REALLY wonderful, relaxing weekend - and look forward to seeing you here again on Monday! 


*Thank you to Nordal for this paid partnership and helping to make My Scandinavian Home possible. All words and photos in this post are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

Make-over: Miami Penthouse Before & After

Don't you love a great before and after? I always find them so inspiring, but I rarely show the 'before' on My Scandinavian Home. So I thought I'd turn over a new leaf. So friends, welcome to a new mini series exploring home make-overs at the hands of some of my favourite interior designers and the likes of you and me! Firstly, a HUGE thanks to Builders Bay for sponsoring the series (check-out their site if you're in the middle of a renovation - it's every builder's little black book!).

I felt we needed something kind of fabulous to kick off the series - and this beaaaautiful home in Miami which has been given an overhaul at the hands of Avenue Design Studio  fits the bill perfectly. The design process was a year and a half in the making (imagine?!) - and involved a  tear-out, renovation and redesign of a two bed, three bath penthouse apartment! Wow! I caught up with my friend Holly Marder (one half of the talented design duo) to find out more.

What was the brief?
"The style direction for this Miami abode was fresh, contemporary and clean with a classic twist. We wanted to breathe new life into the space as a whole, open it up but at the same time ensure our client was left with a liveable, functional interior."

Open-plan dining and living area

What did you have planned for the dining / living area?

"As you can see we had mostly cosmetic changes to make, but I also felt that we needed to open up the spaces even further to allow for more light and a general flow. The living and dining area was large and spacious but the kitchen was small and the ceiling was low. We pulled out a wall or two, raised the ceilings in various places and then got started selecting all the finishes that would lay the groundwork for the renovated space, and overall the results are much fresher and lighter."


Can you tell us more about THAT fab storage unit?!

"To tackle our clients’ request for plenty of storage, we designed a wall to wall built-in cabinet flanking the dining table to house her dinnerware and glassware, linens as well as provide an interesting backdrop to her dining space. The goal with this design was to integrate it with the wall, as opposed to being a separate entity of its own and be ‘busy’ in the space. We wanted it to be streamlined and as flush as possible, and therefore opted to paint the whole unit the same colour as the walls (Origami White by Sherwin Williams) which turned out whiter than expected due to the finish applied to it. That said, it is fresh and clean and allows the accessories, and beautiful oak pulls from our friends at Design Studio NU, to pop off it while the large wooden table and sculptural Lambert et Fils pendant can stand out against a calm yet interesting backdrop."

Such a perfect dining area, don't you think? I especially like how the open shelves allow for displaying items you love and then you can shove less pretty / more practical things in the cupboards and drawers (also keeping them free from dust). Perfect!

Living room

What was your thought process behind the living room area? 
"We wanted the living area to be a central part of the room, without being ‘heavy’ . The goal here aesthetically was calm, inviting, organic. We brought in many different materials including walnut and other woods, marble, wool and leather to provide interest and contrast. While we used many beautiful pieces that are noteworthy in the living room, the splurge piece of furniture was the walnut sideboard by German furniture label Zeitraum."


Loving this! I've so got my eye on that coffee table - and the side cabinet (can totally understand the splurge, can you?! 


What did you have in mind for the kitchen? 

"For our function savvy client we designed an all-American kitchen, featuring custom cabinetry, tons of storage, a breakfast bar and lots of light and flow. I worked with Aukje Schukken on the designs and sketches here in the studio, and after selecting the materials in person in Miami and ironing out the details, Dan’s Carpentry expertly carried out the designs locally."

The design

What were your goals for the kitchen?

"For the countertops our client wanted practical but didn’t want to skip out on looks. And why should she? We hand selected a beautiful piece of Macuava Calacutta quartzite that has the most gorgeous soft green-blue vein through it, much the way calcutta marble would. We looked at whiter marbles but couldn’t get past how pretty this one was in person so after our arduous and thorough search inside the stone supplier in 38 degree Miami heat, it was a done deal. The colour we used on the cabinetry is City Loft by Sherwin-Williams. We removed the wall adjacent to the front door and created a breakfast bar there.  We also raised the ceilings throughout the entry, kitchen, halls and bathrooms."

Oh yassss! I think they nailed it, do you? Plus I could totally see myself with a morning coffee and a magazine at that breakfast bar, how about you?!

Tell us about the master bathroom re-design? 

 "The master bathroom was one of 3 bathrooms we designed, though due to time constraints we only shot the one. It was all cosmetic changes for the master suite as the existing layout worked well. As you can see from the below before shots it was a bit of a circus in there, or a zoo to be more specific. The previous owners had some fun with the walls and while we think a lot of creativity went into the monkey forest scene, we couldn’t wait to clean the space up and give it a fresh injection using quality materials, custom cabinetry and warm wood tones."

What were your plans?

"We continued the wood tile that we used throughout since it was so practical but still added such warmth to the space (which has no natural light). Seeing it in the bathroom I am still so pleased with the choice of wood tile we made. It was a tough task because most of them look manufactured but the movement, grain and colour of this one is so natural and in the bathroom is looks fabulous. We used a large polished stone tile on the walls around the bath tub, shower walls and baseboard, plus a beautiful striped matte tile on the wall between the bath tub and shower (that doesn’t show up as nicely in the image as it does in person – the texture is so beautiful in the space), polished quartz cararra  counter top, custom walnut door and drawer pulls, and custom cabinetry painted in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove in the same ‘contemporary shaker’ style as the kitchen cabinetry featuring a walnut divider with integrated back and front storage."

And the result...

Oj oj oj (as they say in Sweden!), what a transformation! It just goes to show that it's amazing what you can do with a little vision (and the help of Avenue Design Studio!).

That's one lucky client, wouldn't you say?! Plus they have Miami on their doorstep too.... want to swap?!

Have a lovely day!

PS  Do you have a make-over you'd like to share in this mini-series? If so drop me a mail!

Photography & Design: Avenue Design Studio

Thank you so much to Builders Bay for sponsoring this make-over series (if you're in the process of renovating or carrying out any DIY work, I can wholeheartedly recommend this site!). 

* All words are my own, and I only ever work with brands and services I feel are of interest to my readers. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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