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The conscious collective

How can you make the best use of the earth’s resources in an urban collective? Get inspired by interior stylists Therese Ericsson and Kerstin Bohne’s clever use of space in the 2019 IKEA catalogue.

A workroom area filled with tables, swivel chairs, filing cabinets, hooks, baskets and plants.
A workroom area filled with tables, swivel chairs, filing cabinets, hooks, baskets and plants.

Give rooms double functions

Therese and Kerstin imagined this home for a couple with a child and their co-living friend, who works from home as a basket weaver. There is no traditional living room with a TV and a sofa, instead the main room is used for dining and working. “Create the illusion of rooms by placing a divider in the middle of the living room. We created the work table by reusing an old door and adding trestles. It works perfectly as a dining table when you have company as well.”

Grow your own veg

“A long-term goal for this collective is to be completely self-sufficient. In the kitchen window the child has a greenhouse to start off seedlings before transferring them outside where a little urban garden spot is set up.”

Use the height

When four people share a small kitchen, you really need to use every inch. We did this here by using the full height of the walls. A step ladder makes it easy to reach what’s stored higher up.”

This kitchen features anthracite drawer fronts in recycled PET-foil finish coupled with a black mineral effect laminate worktop. “By using different combinations of frames, drawers, doors and organisers, you can find exactly the right solution to suit your home and preferences.”

Go for thrifty food storage

“For the collective we imagine living here, making the most of nature’s bounty is really important. They make use of seasonal produce by conserving fruits and vegetables in glass jars, and buy dry goods in bulk before transferring them to reusable containers. This saves them money, cuts down on unnecessary packaging and keeps food fresher for longer.”

Encourage waste sorting

“We wanted to avoid all of the recycling being stuffed under the sink in the small kitchen, so we created a spacious sorting station in the hall instead.”

Maximise space with multipurpose furniture

As there is no traditional living room in this co-living home, instead we’ve set up the bedroom so it acts as a living room during the day. To save space, we’ve used a bed that doubles as a day-bed.”

Reuse and repair when you can

“Using or updating what they have instead of buying new things is key for this collective. For example, we created hidden storage by concealing a shelving unit behind a curtain, made from old tea towels. Instead of washing clothes after each wear, we gave the co-livers an airing station (this will save them water and electricity as well).”

All the photos were taken from the 2019 IKEA Catalogue