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Home visit: a personal home away from home

How does an IKEA devotee turn an impersonal apartment into an inviting and personal home when there is no local IKEA to visit? With colour, collections and a few treasured possessions…

A dining area decorated in an eclectic style.
A dining area decorated in an eclectic style.

Mia Lundström likes a challenge. When the project to bring IKEA to India began, she decided to leave the comfort of the home she’d created in Sweden and join the IKEA India start-up team, as Creative Leader of Life at Home. “Imagine – an IKEA girl travelling over 6,000km to set up home in a country where there is no IKEA!” says Mia. “All I could bring were things that fit in a suitcase, like lights, pictures and textiles. But lights can give a home its mood, and pictures and textiles its personality.”

Home is a collage of my life, it reminds me who I am. That’s important to come back to, especially when it’s a little tough outside.

Mia Lundström

Tell your story. “You can strive for the perfect design home but it’s nicer to live in a home that matches your dreams,” says Mia. She uses the walls, side tables and bench tops to tell the story of her dreams. Paintings from friends, photos of family, collections gathered over years, and local-market finds that hold a sense of the new place she finds herself are all arranged to bring a sense of Mia to this home.

Put the pieces together. “I may have started with a blank canvas, but I still like green and hot pink and the feeling of living with plants,” says Mia, of the process of creating her new home. “I still like having a big table where my gang of friends can sit together and share a meal I’ve cooked. It’s no coincidence these things were in my old home and now they’re here. Making a home is making a version of yourself.”

Work the space around the way you live. Mia’s home is a sociable one. She has turned the awkward alcove outside her kitchen from ‘dead’ space into an inviting, help-yourself drinks station, by adding a wheeled trolley with drinks and glassware. Accessories that help create an inviting mood – tealights and candlesticks – are also here, displayed as a collection that doubles as easily accessible storage.

Find your work/life balance. “The team often works together here. It’s good to have a space that works for one or many,” says Mia. To make this possible, she has planned her home office with a table that extends, extra seating, and a mix of open and closed storage, so colleagues know where things are. “I made space for some trusty IKEA pieces – IVAR drawers that I customised with handles and legs, and the NORDEN table, which I use as my desk.”

Decorate to please yourself. “Home is where my heart is really,” says Mia. “When I look around, I want to see what I like. That’s the reason behind everything in here. From the funny little IKEA lamp I have by my bedside (people wouldn’t expect me to have it, but I love it) to the MALM drawers that I also have back in my home in Sweden (they have mirrored fronts). In their way, they make my life at home better.”

A home from home. When Mia moved into her first-floor apartment close to Bengaluru’s city centre, her priority was turning it into a welcoming space that reflected her relaxed style. She used colour to create a warm base, painting some of the whitewashed walls grey. With a guest room on permanent standby for visitors, a home office designed for colleagues to work together and walls filled with family photos, collections and friends’ artwork, Mia has the personal home she planned.

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 guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Artwork in living area: Halina Sawicka Ekberg English