Paula’s home truths
I LIVE IN… A 75m2, two-bed apartment in the heart of The Hague.
MY HOUSEMATES ARE… My four children and our cat.
OUR LIFE IS FLEXIBLE… Part of the week all five of us are here, other times it’s three or four.
Flexible living calls for flexible furniture, like Paula’s double L-shaped sofa. ‘It’s great having somewhere we can all snuggle up, but the real beauty of our sofa is that it doubles as beds for two of the kids when five of us are here.’ Picking a sofa with removable and machine-washable covers also helps. Paula’s sofa is vintage IKEA but for similar flexibility, try VALLENTUNA, the new modular sofabed with built-in storage.
‘I look at everything I have and think how else can I use it, what more can it do? It’s constant, creative invention’
Paula, Trend Forecaster, The Netherlands
For Paula, only one colour will do: ‘I need the calming effect of white,’ she says. ‘White is easier to live with than you think. And there are so many shades of white that you can layer them up and mix your textures to bring a really warm feeling into your home. Pick easy to wash materials and have a tin of white paint and a roller handy so marks and scuffs are easily taken care of.’
A help yourself kitchen
‘Our home is designed to make it easy for everyone to do things for themselves. In the kitchen we have open shelves and clear storage jars so it’s easy to see what we have and where it is. I even label the plugs so we know which appliance they match!’
‘I think you get a lot of energy from a comfortable home’
All in order
‘People think it takes energy to be tidy but actually I find a messy home makes me less focused. Finding ways to keep five people’s stuff tidy is often the starting point for the ideas I use at home. It means we don’t waste time looking for things, or tidying away clutter whenever we want to do something fun. Storage systems that make it easy to mix and match pieces that fit my needs and space are great for this.’ For a solution like Paula’s, look out for the new ELVARLI storage system, in IKEA stores from August.
Living beyond our limits
‘Now I live in a smaller space, I realise that this is what really challenges you to be inventive. Finding a way to give all the kids privacy and somewhere to relax when we’re all here meant thinking beyond how many beds I could fit in a room. Small ideas like removing the bedroom door and replacing it with a blind, and adding wheels to furniture so it’s easy to move things around and change how a space is used have made the difference.’
‘Listen to your gut, for me that’s the human part of making a home that works for you. It goes beyond trends’
Flexible family apartment
Photography: Daniel Farmer
Styling: Åsa Dyberg