Pretty DIY Christmas Decorating Ideas In A Swedish Country Home

The chilly weather continues across Scandinavia today, and our world its blanketed in snow. It's put us all in the mood for decorating our homes in a cosy way for Christmas! In the far North, Ida Dahlgren has been busy decorating her charming country home, which she shares with her partner, their three children Vilhelm, Nils and Lovisa as well as hens, ducks, cats and passing wildlife! It's full of lovely, simple, DIY ideas, all of which add a cosy, festive vibe. Ready to feel inspired? 

Home is where the heart is - or in this case, hearts plural. A pretty pepparkaka (ginger biscuit) garland hangs in the window, filling the kitchen with the scent of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. 

Look closely and in the corner you can catch a glimpse of an old wooden dough bowl* which has been filled with moss and four candles - for a makeshift advent candle display. 

A pretty adventsljusstake (advent candelabra) lights up the window. Source a similar one here

A simple pine garland hangs under a shelf in the kitchen. 

In Sweden some parents love to put a smile on their children's faces pretending that 'nisse' (an elf) has moved in via an elf door. At the start of December a little elf arrives through a door, and throughout December he leaves small traces of his presence including mischievous happenings around the house (such as a loo seat wrapped in Christmas paper). In ida's home, the elf has made a wonderful cake! I hope an elf like this will move into our house come December! 

Do you have a similar tradition in your country?

There's nothing like the scent of hyacinths at Christmas. Swedes love to wrap the bulb in moss and place them in glasses around the house. 

I love this take on the classic gingerbread house: gingerbread candle holders. 

Ida has decorated her tiled masonry oven with a wreath and garlands. A chest is used for logs. 

The  family's four legged friend looks decidedly cosy beside the tree! 

Spare surfaces are used to bring a little festive cheer all around the house. Here a vase with a mini Christmas tree and a candle brighten up the landing. 

Oh, how I'd love a roaring fire in the bedroom - how about you? A pretty 'snöblomma' hangs in the window (paper stars* are also popular).

Extra blankets add a really cosy touch to the bedroom in winter time. 

When I was little, my sister and I loved to hang paper chains in our bedroom. We never thought of adding a mini tree like this one though. Lovely idea! 

A garland of pine has been draped over the entrance and two mini wreaths hang on the door. A snow covered tree grows beside the porch. 

Ida loves to make islykta (ice lanterns) from balloons. See a tutorial here

Painting your window is a great way to add a Christmassy touch - and children love it! This pretty design in Ida's window mirrors the surrounding forest. 

So beautiful and full of great ideas which are simple to replicate! 

Is there anything in particular that stood out to you? 

See more of Ida's home and get plenty of DIY and up cycling ideas over at @sodra.byvag.

How wonderful is the herd of reindeer? I saw reindeer in the wild while I was skiing in Åre last January. I've since written a guide about my experience in the Winter issue of Simply Scandi magazine

Would you like to see more cosy festive homes today? 

See the entire Scandinavian Christmas and Christmas decorating archives for more inspiration. 



Photography: Ida Dahlgren, shared with kind permission

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15 Small Festive Touches To Cosy Up Your Home, Swedish Style

This weekend we had our first flurry of snow, and it's brightened up our world! Even so, the chill has meant we've really had to baton down the hatches and ramp up the hygge in our homes! And with the First Sunday of Advent just around the corner (traditionally the day Scandinavians start to decorate their homes for Christmas), I've been busy finding pretty yuletide inspiration. It's too early for a tree, at least in my mind, but there's no harm in starting to think about adding small cosy touches, right? Here are a few simple ideas I love from Sweden: 

1. Overhead wreath: don't reserve wreaths just for the door, string them up over the table for a pretty display. Add battery run fairy lights or candles to bring a warm glow to mealtimes. 

2. Oil lamps: brighten up your home and enjoy evenings under the soft glow of an oil lamp - they can burn for ours at a time! 

3. Swap your usual pendant light for a star! Swedes go to great lengths to transform their homes each season. I love this star lamp from Watt & Weke, it adds a lovely festive touch to the room at Christmas!

4. Lay foraged branches on the table: Find whatever you can in your garden, the nearby park or woods and lay it along the centre of your dining table for a pretty yet simple in-season touch. 

5. Mini, undecorated trees: I know I said this wouldn't include Christmas trees, but who can resist a mini tree in a vase? Left undecorated, it doesn't become overly festive which means you can get away with it as early as you like. It's a great way to bring nature indoors. 

6. Ramp up the candleholders: Group together candleholders in all shapes and sizes to bring light and warmth to the table. 

7. Light up your windows: This Sunday, every window in Sweden will be lit by an adventsljusstaker (advent candle - this one is called Tilpi and available here*) like the one seen above or a star lantern. It really helps to brighten ups the darkness, and feels so welcoming to arrive home to! 

8. Bouquets of Christmas flowers: In-season blooms are a great way to add a touch of colour. Swedes love amaryllis and hyacinths in particular! 

9. Garlands of dried oranges: Dry orange slices and thread them into a garland to make a pretty display in the window. 

10. Window wreath: wreaths don't need to be ostentatious affairs, especially early on in the festive period. A dainty green wreath adds a cosy touch to a window.

11. Gingersnap garland: Thread together pepparkaka for a garland that's good enough to eat! It will fill your home with the sweet smell of cinnamon too! 

12. Paper stars and snowflowers: Swedes love to hang paper stars in the windows, cabinet doors or just about anywhere else in their homes. Add light so they glow up at night!  

13. Wall or window hung candles*: So much prettier than a sconce - a wall hung candle will brighten up the darkest corner of your home. 

14. Don't forget the bathroom: Swedes love to place candles* just about anywhere in the home - including the bathroom! And when it's cold outside, a candlelit bath or shower does wonders for the soul! 

15. Add subtle touches to your entranceway or deck: put a smile on others faces - and your own when you arrive home by placing simple festive touches outside your door. It's amazing what a simple lantern, wreath or bare tree can do to brighten up cold winters days! 

I hope this has put you in the mood for adding a few, subtle yet cosy winter touches to your home! 

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, when do you usually start decorating? And when does your tree go up? 

Would you like to see some more Christmas decorating ideas? Here are a few posts I hope you'll find inspiring: 

Have a great start to the week friends, stay warm! 


*Exercise extreme caution when using candles - always keep them away from flammable items, never leave naked flames unattended and enquire a fire extinguisher is nearby. 

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15 of my Favourite Local Malmö Hangouts

Paid partnership with Malmö Town, all words and pictures are my own

When you visit a new city for a couple of days it's very exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming, especially when you don't know anyone who lives there and you're relying on tourist guides. The good news is, in Malmö you know me! And I'd REALLY like to make sure that if you ever visit, you have the best time! In the past I've posted winter and summer guides, but today I'd like to share 15 of my favourite local hangouts. 

The cafes, bars, restaurant and even a small theatre in this list, are places I regularly go to and more often than not, know the owners on a first name basis. They are just a small selection of the independent, small businesses that make Sweden's third largest city such a special, unique and relaxed place - a city I am proud to call home! I hope you'll visit some of these on your next trip to Malmö, I promise it'll make your time here even more enjoyable! 

Let's start with some of my favourite morning hangouts. 

1. Leve bakery

We often stop by at this wonderful plant-based bakery for Leve's version of  Swedish sweet treats such as 'dammsugare', cinnamon buns and chocolate balls - and on this occasion 'pepparkaka' (gingerbread biscuits). Ask for the day's speciality (they are always experimenting with exciting new recipes). And don't miss Fredagsmunk (the Friday doughnuts), they are an institution in Malmö! 

2. Patisseriedavid

Nestled in the corner of Malmö's historical St Gertrud quarter in the heart of Malmö, you'll find Patisseriedavid, a French patisserie run by well-known pastry chef David Fernandes. If you're feeling a bit 'cinnamon bunned' out, head here for absolutely delicious French pastries that look almost too good to eat!

3. Solde

This discreet cafe is easy to miss unless you know about it! Selling arguably the best coffee in town, enjoy your cup at the Solde bar and chat to the friendly barista or take a seat on the bench beside other Malmoeites. Oh, and don't leave without buying a bag of coffee beans from the Solde in-house roastery!

4. Noir Vin & Kaffekultur

Located just off picturesque Lilla Torg, 'Noir Wine and Cafe Culture' is a great meeting place. I love to go in the morning on my way to work (nothing beats a simple coffee and croissant on the street side terrace, watching the people of Malmö go past) - or at the weekends with my girls. It's also a great place for a glass of ecological wine at the end of a long day! 

5. Miloii

Just up the street, you'll find Miloii, one of my favourite clothing and interior boutiques. Although busy, Lena is always friendly and helpful - and when time and the weather permits, we'll grab a quick coffee on the bench outside. 

6. Ruths

Formerly named Bastard, Ruths serves one of the best brunches in town. It's also great for a fika (coffee and cake), lunch and supper. There's always the option of picking up some great locally produced supplies in the deli section on your way out too! 

7. Bise

Relatively new on the block, Bise prides itself on being 'intimate, familiar and international'. It's packed with locals at lunchtime who come here to tuck into the day's special - and transforms into a popular wine and cocktail bar by night.  

8. Nostra 

Opposite Triangeln shopping centre you'll find Nostra, owned by mother and daughter team  Gaalas and Soma. The interior has a relaxed, minimalist, Scandinavian vibe. Enjoy great sandwiches and a soup of the week or visit at the weekend for the all-day brunch. Order a cappuccino made from their own exclusively roasted beans, it's delicious! 

9. Marvin

A new kid on the block, Marvin on Davidshallstorg is where I go for my English pie fix - with other British friends (after all, you can take a girl out of England, but you can't take England out of the girl!). Experienced British chef Matthew Young creates the most delicious and beautifully presented pies (think chicken and leek, steak and ale  mushroom and Parmesan etc) and other English classics such as scotch eggs in a small, cosy and minimalistic setting. Needless to say, it quickly fills up at lunchtime so get there early.  

10. AB Småland

I simply wouldn't allow anyone to visit Malmö without a wander in the green lifestyle store AB Småland. It has everything: beautiful second hand and vintage interior items, a cafe and restaurant and lots of events (hence why it's made my hangout list!). 

11. Pivo

Nestled on a corner near Stor Torget, Pivo serves Czech food (tuck into their gulasch soup!) and beer in a cosy bar, which overflows onto the street in warmer weather. 

12. Victoria Teatern

Victoria Theater is a favourite among locals and touring bands - and not a month or two go by without Per and I booking a ticket for a gig.  Keep an eye on the events calendar to see which bands will be in town and make sure you book a small table so you can bring your own picnic. The atmosphere is cosy, understated and relaxed. 

13. Julie

If I'm meeting a friend, I'll often head to the relaxed, yet award winning Julie -a small wine bar in the old town for a catch up over a glass or three of wine and their delicious oven baked mont d'or cheese - made for dipping! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! 

14. Aster 

Tucked away in an industrial area not far from the central station, Aster is one of my go-to restaurants for a celebration or bigger gatherings. The in-season dishes are delicious, the service is great and there's always a lively crowd. Book in advance, and don't miss their cocktails!  

15. L'énoteca

And finally, Per and my favourite wine bar - L'énoteca. The friendly cosy, candlelit bar, just off pretty Lilla Torg offers an assortment of over 300 different types of wine which have been carefully selected from small, independent winemakers who work sustainably, ecologically and with great care for the environment. Tell the friendly staff the type of aroma and taste you like, and they will guide you through a mini tasting until you find just the wine for you! 

Bonus hangout: something you shouldn't miss if you are in Malmö: a falafel! Everyone has their go-to place and mine is 'Super Falafel' (I always opt for 'everything' with mixed sauce, sometimes a little feta cheese too!). You'll find places serving falafel all over town, it's a great and inexpensive way to refuel! 

I hope this list of my favourite local hangouts proves useful on your next visit to Malmö! I always think it's nice to have some insider tips so you can find the places you might not discover otherwise. 

You might also like to see some of my other Malmö guides including: 

Would you like to peek inside a few Malmö homes too? Here are some I've featured recently: 

Malin's atmospheric family home (we're actually meeting for lunch today - her home is even more beautiful in real life!)

Right friends, that's it from me this week. I think I might just head to one of the above places tonight. I hope you've got some fun plans too!

See you Monday!


A big thank you to my partner in crime Sarah Wilson. daughter Allie and Per for helping me capture my favourite local haunts! 

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