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Parallel universe: a small, budget-friendly apartment designed to be shared

They’ve been living together for the past few months but sharing life together since day one. Here they are: siblings sharing a one-bedroom apartment and making it work. More than work, actually. As they’re both about living their best lives, rather than having the most expensive stuff, they’ve created a home to be enjoyed together and apart. From dance and dinner parties to quiet “me-time” moments, it all happens here.

How would you describe your style?

“Practical pop! Lots of storage, lots of fun colour and always – always – on a budget. Our hallway is very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get welcome into our home. There are hooks, rails and cabinets for all the things we need on the fly and even a note board for some little messages. Sure, we have phones, but we like a bit of analogue cuteness too.”

    Adult siblings sharing a one-bedroom apartment. It can be done! Watch and see how they make it work beautifully, enjoying time together and time apart, thanks to the versatility of each space.

    So, a 1-bedroom apartment shared by adult siblings. How’s that going?

    “Growing up, we had our fair share of bunk beds. Not this time! When my brother moved in with me, we agreed that I would hold onto my bedroom and we would make a space for him to sleep and store his stuff in the living area. We’ve made the space as flexible as possible – still great for socialising but also private enough for him to feel totally at home.”

    See the full living room
    See the full living room
    A section of a grey IVAR cabinet where colourful threads have been used to embroider decorations on the door's metal mesh.
    We love a bit of DIY, so we made these cabinets our own by embroidering bright, geometric patterns onto their mesh doors.

    Where did you find all the extra pieces you needed?

    “I already had an upholstered bed that I use as a sofa, but we were lucky enough to find another at the As Is section at IKEA for a fraction of the original price. In fact, many of our pieces were found there".

    Has sharing come with any surprising advantages?

    “We know each other too well for any big surprises! But when my brother needed a place to stay, I didn't give it a second thought. Of course, it helps to have someone to split the rent with, and we use less energy and water by living together, but in all honesty, it's his culinary wizardry that really sold me on the plan. Our ENHET kitchen offers him all the space he needs to cook up a storm. A huge advantage? The ENHET kitchen series is easy to disassemble – perfect for wherever life takes us next.”

    See all ENHET kitchen combinations
    See all ENHET kitchen combinations

    Which part of the home gets the most action?

    “Before my brother moved in, I would have said my living room, but you know how it goes: more food, more friends, more dinner parties! Rather than replacing my dining table with a bigger one, we sold my brother’s through the IKEA Buy Back program and bought a smaller one from the same range from As Is. We just pushed the two together – and look! A lovely, long, customisable dining table: within our budget and lightweight enough to pick up and move for spontaneous dance parties.”

    See all dining tables
    See all dining tables
    Information about reuse, repair, recycle, reimagine and living more sustainably with IKEA.

    Want some planet and wallet-friendly furnishing tips?

    Interior designer Chiara Effroi Lutteri has some knowledge to share when it comes to creating a more sustainable home, dispelling the myth that living more consciously needs to be costly.

    You’re both working from home. How does that work?

    “When you’re living in a small space, you have to use every bit of available space. Some people aim for a corner office – we've made do with a corridor! We have very different ways of working – my brother preferring things neat and minimal, whereas I flourish when surrounded by colour and inspiration – so storage has helped keep the peace and our spaces as separated as possible.”

    See all table & desk systems
    See all table & desk systems

    Is there anything you miss about living alone?

    “Truth be told, not really. I thought I’d find it tricky having someone around all the time, but my bedroom has really become my selfish, solo spot in the home: filled with my favourite things and space to hang out privately with my pals.”

    See the full bedroom
    See the full bedroom

    Without his own bedroom, how does your brother get some alone time?

    “Our courtyard has become my brother's retreat. After a busy workday, he can often be found out there watering (and chatting) to his plants. Green thumbs certainly aren’t hereditary, but what I lack in skill, I make up in enthusiasm for the delicious meals he makes with so many of his home-grown veggies and herbs.”

    See all pots & plants
    See all pots & plants

    It sounds like it’s been a smooth transition. Any serious adjustments?

    “Hard pressed, I’d say sharing a bathroom again had to be the biggest adjustment. With not much room for storage, we had to be smart. By dotting hooks along the walls, we solved the need for bigger storage pieces. They work in a super versatile way. Need to hang up a towel? There's a hook for that! They work for makeup and toiletry bags – even as space to temporarily hang a mop or place a removable drying rack.”

    See all bathroom accessories
    See all bathroom accessories