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Home visit: open-plan design for connected living

See how converting a traditional interior into a light-filled, open-plan home, where the kitchen, dining and living areas are combined, has created a space that truly brings family together.

A white kitchen with black details and greenery.
A white kitchen with black details and greenery.

Life in the kitchen revolves around the island… Sofie and her husband Jimmy have lived in their home for four years – and changed their kitchen twice. The first change was a big update, taking out the original small, dark 1960s kitchen, where cooking was a solitary affair. “Having this island in the middle means you can have the whole family together when you cook,” says Sofie. “I wanted lots of storage, so I made the island huge. We used to have cupboards, but I recently updated it with drawers – it’s much easier to put things in drawers. We’ve got recycling on one side, crockery and cooking accessories on the other, and food in the tall cupboards.”

Our kitchen was metallic, but once we had kids we spent a lot of time cleaning finger marks. So we changed the fronts to white – it was easy, and we sold the old ones rather than bin them!

Sofie, Fagersta

Make space to enjoy eating together… Shared mealtimes are a valued way for this family to connect. But with different work patterns (Sofie works shifts) and the busy nature of family life, they planned different spots to eat – quick and slow. “We sit at the big table when we have parties, with a buffet on the kitchen island so guests can help themselves,” says Sofie. “In the morning, when time is short, we sit at a small round table by the kitchen, but on the weekend we like breakfast to stretch over a long time, so we sit at the big table or the island,” says Jimmy.

A small child leaning on a grey sofa in a monochrome open-plan living space.

The sofa is our favourite place to get together before bedtime… The family’s new sofa is actually vintage IKEA. “It’s a KRAMFORS. It disappeared from the IKEA range a while back, but I found this on a second-hand website,” says Sofie. “It’s almost 10 years old, but its quality means it still looks great and is super comfortable. I was lucky to find the chaise. It’s become a favourite spot for Lo and Jimmy – they often curl up on it together, reading or playing on the tablet.”

With this space, we think of rooms within the room. An open-plan space gives you a feeling of light, and lets you be together, eating, cooking or watching TV in one place.

Sofie

It’s easier to fall asleep in a room with dark walls… A bedroom update that broke away from traditional white walls brought unexpected benefits. “I’d seen lots of dark rooms on Pinterest and Instagram, and I wanted to change things,” says Sofie. “When you’re trying to fall asleep and you have dark walls, it’s much easier. And it doesn’t get too dark because I lighten the base with wood, white furniture and light textiles.”

Look at a home through the eyes of a child… “When it came to Lo’s room, I started by planning the colours and the basic pieces of furniture he would need, then sketched a floorplan,” says Sofie. “But it helps to imagine how the room works for Lo. He likes trains and cars and to build things and demolish them, so he needs lots of floorspace. Initially, I had all the STUVA storage up high, out of his reach, but it was pointless. Once we put some of it down at his height, he started playing more. And he can put things back by himself. It really makes it his room.”

A portrait of Sofie and her family.

A home we can change gives us energy and makes us happy You’ve done a lot in a short space of time… “We moved in October 2014. The house was built in 1961 and it felt like it was stuck there. It had lots of small rooms, it was dark and there was colour everywhere – orange, blue, yellow. But we saw potential and the chance to make it ours. That felt exciting. I love to change things, make things, plan and renovate.”

From a house full of colour you’ve gone to just two… “I’m not afraid of colour but I love black and white. It’s the perfect base. If you love changing things around a lot – and I do – those colours make it easy to move things without creating a clash. I mix in light woods and plants to add life and warmth.”

Has your idea of home changed? “I was in hospital with our daughter Freja for 14 weeks. You have no control over your space in hospital, but now we are home, we’re making small changes and I feel we are becoming more comfortable. Time away makes you realise that a home you enjoy being in – where you can talk, relax and just take it easy – is an extra plus.”

To feel comfortable and relaxed at home is important to us. We’ve tried to create a place where each of us can be ourselves and where we can enjoy being together.

Sofie

A floorplan of Sofie’s home.

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: Pernilla Warnhammar
Photographer: Lina Ikse
Artwork in the ninth image: thebirthposter.com