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A stylist’s no-rules holiday living room

Want to give your space a holiday makeover? We asked stylist, Saša Antić, to show us how he would decorate his living room. Check out what we learned about creating a festive atmosphere for guests without stressing about traditions and expectations.
An industrial loft-style living room decorated for the holidays.
A portrait of a man who works as an interior stylist.
Saša’s been working as a freelance interior stylist for 10 years—and he lives both in Stockholm and New York City. For this living room, he envisioned his Big Apple loft because he’ll be spending his first holiday season there. That doesn’t mean he’ll go check out the big tree in Rockefeller Center. “I don’t like traditions,” he says, “but doing this project made me think about what the holiday really means to me.”
So what do the holidays mean to Saša? Spending time with family, friends and loved ones. He would invite them over for a celebration with finger food, cocktails and good music. To make the room feel a little more festive without being over-the-top traditional, he would bring in holiday hints like evergreen branches and lots of candles. A big star in the window creates a cosy contrast to the dark skies and falling snow. “And from the street, my friends can see where the party is like a sign.”
A kitchen cart used as a shelving unit with  record player, work lamp and martini glasses.
Work lamp
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“I’m just like my friends and loved ones. We don’t care about traditional food and decorations; we make our own rules.”
–Saša Antić, Stylist
A big industrial loft window surrounded by softness with rugs, lots of throws and a sofa made from mattresses.
To make the industrial loft—and the party—really welcoming, Saša aims for supreme softness. He would use silky cow hides and woolly sheepskin together with a mix of throws and pillows in neutral colors. He would even create a lounge-worthy chaise sofa by stacking up a bunch of covered mattresses and tying them up with belts. “When the hours start getting late and turning into morning, everyone can grab a mattress and sleep over.”
“Getting together, being with the ones you love, drinking, eating and dancing all night long—isn’t that what the holidays are all about?”
–Saša Antić, Stylist
To serve food, Saša would ditch formality and go for convenience. The table is set buffet-style, so people can serve themselves whenever and eat wherever. Plates are stacked and plenty of different glasses are waiting. Above the table is a classic way to hang Swedish knäckebröd or crispbread. “I would want my American friends to get a sense of something really Swedish, and what is more Swedish than knäckebröd?!” Except those are old jazz records! The crispbread is on a paper towel holder instead.
The dining area of an industrial loft apartment with a bench and table ready for buffet serving.
We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial warranties and your right to return the products will be lost.
Interior Designer: Saša Antić
Digital Designer: Lasse Johansson
Copywriter: Marissa Frayer
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Editor: Linda Harkell