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Home visit: Scandi-inspired minimal living

Scandi-style has three central principles – simplicity, functionality and beauty. Inside this Norwich penthouse, a pair of graphic designers have made a bold statement with these three principles in mind. Come and see…

Fiona’s Scandi-style minimal living room with white walls, white furniture and light sofa sectional.
Fiona’s Scandi-style minimal living room with white walls, white furniture and light sofa sectional.
A child playing on top of a modular sofa unit in an open-plan living room with a monochrome coloured scheme.

A home for ‘hygge’

Let your living room be a hub for togetherness, inspired by the Danish art of ‘hygge’. Fiona and Bobby both run their own businesses, and their son Stanley (3) is about to start nursery. “We can be super busy during the daytime, working on projects for our company, Nor-Folk. Our new sofa truly comes into its own in the evenings – it’s a welcoming spot that draws us together and invites us to unwind,” says Fiona. Click here to see more ways the family has switched the layout of their VALLENTUNA sofa.

Embrace old and new

Minimalist decor needn’t be all brand new – combine it with vintage elements too. “Our dining table is actually a 1970s industrial table from the university where Bobby and I studied. It still has relics of old chewing gum underneath! But it means a lot to us to have it in our home,” says Fiona. “It used to be painted white, but we’ve settled on black for now and added a new set of dining chairs.”

Fiona and her son, Stanley, in their all-white open plan kitchen area, including a vintage black dining table.

Make room for less

Think about the kitchen – it’s full of stuff, essentials such as plates, cups, storage jars… “There are all sorts of things that get used every day, but we don’t want them on show. We love ‘less is more’, so hidden storage helps to make sure the kitchen and dining areas don’t look cluttered. That way, we can show off a few beautiful details instead,” says Bobby. “It’s also a good thing that I’m the main cook of the house and happen to be the obsessively tidy one!”

Design a sociable workspace

What’s a home office if it doesn’t make you feel at home? “Over the years, we’ve come to realise that work and life have become one for us, but we’re cool with that,” says Bobby. “We wanted our home office to feel like part of the living room, rather than separate from it. We used to have a single desk, but these desks have given us a much wider work area. They let us sit side by side while we work.”

A collection of picture frames in different sizes placed on two mounted picture ledges at different heights.

A wall for wellbeing

Let family memories and special moments take centre stage. “If we’ve got a stressful day ahead, we enjoy looking at our memory wall on the way downstairs in the morning. I’ve even got my wedding dress hanging up there. It gives the stairwell more meaning, as it’s a space that sometimes gets forgotten about,” says Fiona.

Layers of striped bed textiles on a low bed for two in a minimal bedroom with a wood chest of drawers.

Create a calming sleep zone

Take a minimalist approach to decorating in the bedroom – focus on light textiles during the summer. “For us, comfort isn’t just physical or emotional, it’s visual too. We like to layer up things such as blankets and throws to make it look more comfortable, but we’re careful not to over-complicate anything,” says Fiona.

Space for play

Make it easy for kids to be curious and explore different ways of playing – role play, creativity, construction… “Most of the time, Stanley’s playroom looks like a toy explosion of train tracks and building blocks, but I’m OK with that. Play is important to us,” says Fiona. “When it’s time to tidy up, there’s plenty of storage Stanley can manage himself. He knows how to put things away and which toys go into each box.”

A portrait of Fiona and Bobby, the owners of a minimalist home.

Fiona and Bobby’s tips to see your home like a designer

  1. “Find a happy compromise. When we first moved in together, we didn’t see eye to eye about the look of our home. Scandi-style helped us to meet in the middle. We chose a greyscale colour palette for its calming effect, but our home isn’t all grey, black and white. People, what they wear, unusual-looking plants and, of course, Stanley all bring colour and life into our home.”
  2. “Don’t forget about natural light when designing an open-plan space. See how the light moves around different parts of the room and use that to decide where to put your furniture,” says Fiona. “Place your breakfast table in a spot that gets the morning light, for example.”
  3. “Use black to draw the eye. Now we’ve painted our old dining table black, it balances out the space and provides a focal point in the room, especially in contrast to the sofa. It makes a bold statement.”
  4. “Invest in quality! We never really buy anything unless we’ve given it a lot of thought. As we’re self-employed, we set ourselves goals to work towards and buy something we truly love and appreciate as a reward.”
A floorplan of Fiona and Bobby’s home.

Our factory conversion Known as ‘The Factory’, Fiona and Bobby’s apartment building was once home to a 19th-century engineering firm where some of the initial designs for the Titanic were drawn up. “That creative heritage is important to us,” says Fiona. “Not only has it got great history, our apartment has amazing natural light from the big banks of windows and skylights in here.”

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: Carl Braganza
Photographer: Polly Wreford