‘I once painted my house all white. Afterwards, I was so depressed, I put all the colour straight back!’
Stephanie, the Netherlands
Details can make a big impact
Whether it’s a striking rug or an artwork made by a family member, a simple detail can give a room a strong focal point, as here in Monica’s living room in Norway. ‘I painted IKEA frames with blackboard paint and hung them over the sofa. The black-and-white rug brings everything together!’
Create a functional window seat
Ineke in the Netherlands uses her window seat to great effect. ‘It’s the perfect place to keep the kids’ toys – there are boxes filled with stuff behind that blanket!’ Creating a special hiding place for children to keep their toys and games where they most want to be – with you – makes for lots more fun family time.
Use hideaway storage
When we visited Isabel in Spain, her living room had to be fun but functional. ‘It’s important that everything is easy and practical so there’s space for the children to play.’ A large footstool provides a flexible solution: it’s great for kids to play on or an adult to put their feet up, but it also has plenty of storage where books or toys can be tidied away.
Make the most of empty space
Graça in Portugal repurposed a wooden record case from her father’s old record shop to provide useful storage under the stairs. ‘I like thinking of new ways to use tiny corners.’ Using garden chairs indoors is also a good idea to make the most of a small space. They can easily be stacked or moved away when not needed.
Mix it up with relaxed seating and colour
We loved Laura’s colourful home in the Netherlands, which combined fun and function for the whole family to enjoy. ‘Our home is for the kids as much as for us so I want it to show all of our personalities, with comfy seating and space for our collections. I want to create a space where we can be individuals but where we can come together as a family too.’
Create a children’s snug
Daniella in Sweden used an upstairs hallway to give her children a second living area where they can watch movies. ‘It doubles as a play space for them and their friends. The sofa has washable covers so the boys can climb on it and pretend it’s a ship. Plus the armchair has castors so they can easily push it out of the way if they want to.’
Give yourself a special place to relax
For Melanie in Austria, it’s important to have a space to unwind and ‘just be’. She makes the most of a corner of her living room with a chaise longue, cushions and throws to create a cosy chillout area, which makes a soft safe place for her daughters to relax too.
Keep it simple so kids can play safely
Sanna in Finland wanted to create a living room where all the family can do what they like – and that includes her twins! ‘One day a rug is a tent, the next it’s somewhere to stretch out and watch TV!’ A storage unit along the wall makes a neat and tidy way to keep electronics out of the way safely.
Double up for small-space comfort
Valentina in Italy has managed to lay out a dining area within her living room for her family of three. ‘I enjoyed the challenge of creating the function and feel of a large open-plan home within our small apartment. Using white and soft colours with clever storage solutions helped me to achieve that.’