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Home visit: family life in one room

Living in the heart of the city can mean trading a bigger home for a smaller one. In this tiny Amsterdam apartment, the 16-square-metre living room is the hub of the home. See how a little creativity can go a long way…

A workspace next to a sofa in a white living room.
A workspace next to a sofa in a white living room.

Cosy nook and home office

As a full-time mum and freelance illustrator, Ringa needed a work/life solution that would squeeze into one living room. “It all started with the sofa. We extended it from a two-seater into an L shape by adding the footstool. Now that I work from home, it’s become part of my foldaway office, with the addition of a drop-leaf table. It’s also a sofabed for when guests stay.”

Ringa relaxing on the sofa in a livingroom.
A child doing arts and crafts at the dining table.

Creative station and dining table

Floorspace is precious in a tiny living area, but you don’t have to go without furniture to save room. “I realised that dining tables are one of the things that take up the most space. We still needed one, so we chose a foldable version of the NORDEN table. It’s big enough for three, yet packs away neatly against the wall,” says Ringa. It also doubles as a creative station, with good-sized drawers that provide built-in storage for the girls’ art and craft materials.

A white foldable IKEA dining table set for a snack.

Grown-up bedroom and kids’ playroom

“Half of our living room is the girl´s playroom by day and my bedroom by night,” says Ringa. The space is zoned off using curtains, which Ringa closes to create a calming sleep space that feels like her own. Small, portable furniture and toy storage make for a smooth transition when it’s time for play. “Anything that supports our everyday routine, in a sort of functional flow, is like a gift.”

Made for sharing

What does your living room mean to you?
“It’s where everything happens – relaxing, playing, eating, working, sleeping and everything in-between.”

When the girls came along, how did you plan the addition of new furniture?
“As a general rule, before I add anything, I use my floorplan religiously (it’s like my Bible!) to measure and draw everything out.”

Do you have any tips for a growing family living in a small space?
“Why have three pieces of furniture if one can do the job, and do it really well? It’s about streamlining with furniture that can be multiple things at the same time, or have different uses at different times of the day.”

A floorplan of Ringa’s living room in Amsterdam.

No space too small

“Our home may be tiny, but we’ve found solutions to make it feel spacious and practical. I know it doesn’t suit everyone, but I actually prefer living in a small space. Everything is so much easier. The bigger the house, the more mess the girls could make! In fact, I’ve even thought about downsizing to somewhere tinier…”

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: Åsa Dyberg
Photographer: Lina Ikse