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Home visit: a calming, compact home in the city

Transform your home into a relaxing escape from busy city life. Step into this high-rise apartment to see how a compact urban home can still feel calm and connected to nature.

A grey sofa with cushions against a blue wall.
A grey sofa with cushions against a blue wall.

Combine natural colours and textures The living room was designed for relaxation by Yiqing, who shares this one-bedroom apartment with her husband Derrick and their cat. “We painted a calming blue over the dull wallpaper that the developer had used,” says Yiqing. “We chose natural materials like wicker to give the room a nature-inspired look.”

Bring the outside in Yiqing uses plants to bring the apartment to life. “I think you can create connections with nature in any space. Plants are the best kind of decorations – they improve wellbeing, reduce stress, and there’s something so optimistic about being surrounded by life.”

Extend your space If you love hosting, choose an extendable table that can grow whenever you have guests. “Day to day, it’s perfect for us two, but it can be extended to fit as many as six friends for dinner. We like inviting friends round to try different cuisines, whether it’s traditional Chinese food, homemade pasta or burgers on the menu.”

Decorate with details When you can’t make big changes, find ways to make small ones with impact. The kitchen was chosen by the developer of the apartment block, so Yiqing and Derrick have personalised it by using the worktop and walls as open storage, adding natural materials to the monochrome scheme.

Create a happy sleep space Layers of textiles in different colours and textures help make Yiqing and Derrick’s bedroom feel warm and inviting. “A cosy room can definitely increase my happiness,” says Yiqing.

Clutter-free home office Yiqing works from home most of the time and has her workspace set up in the bedroom. She’s organised this space with closed storage to keep clutter out of sight and the bedroom feeling calm.

Maximise outdoor space Yiqing and Derrick use their balcony as an extension of their living room as soon as the weather warms up. With the foldaway table and chairs and hanging plant pots, they don’t lose lots of floorspace and still get a green view. “Our balcony gives us a direct connection to the outdoors.”

How do you connect to nature in an urban environment? “By filling our apartment with plants and natural materials, particularly in the summer, when we decorate every room with plants and flowers.”

What’s the best thing about growing your own plants and herbs? “It keeps us tuned in to the seasons. And they taste so much better than the ones in the supermarket.”

How does your balcony make you feel? “It gives us a sense of calm – being able to see over the city, but also being surrounded by greenery and new life.”

Compact city living Yiqing, Derrick and their cat have lived in their 90-square-metre high-rise home for three years. The balcony runs the length of the living room and bedrooms. Being able to access it from their bedroom means the couple can step outside as soon as they wake up, and guests can spill out on to the balcony from the living room too.

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
Interior stylist: Aiko Ito
Photographer: Philippe LeBerre