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Ask a designer: a studio apartment fit for a family

“My family and I have just moved into a loft apartment, and we just don’t know where to begin! How do we turn this open space into a home?” Internal walls do a lot of work for us, but even without them, we can create a wonderful home. According to interior designer Annette Ydholm, it all comes down to zones for different activities, smart storage ideas and creating privacy where and when we need it.

A living area with a white BILLY bookcase holding books and a speaker, against a wall with framed prints and photographs.
    A smiling woman sitting on a white PLATSA storage bench with scatter cushions in front of a white BILLY bookcase.

      Hej Annette! Can you tell us about your vision for this home?

      Annette: Hello! With this home, I wanted to show a more unconventional living space, so designed an open plan loft for a family of two teens and their parents. It’s a super lively and practical space, but with some clever design tricks, they still have space for themselves.

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      A yellow-green ÖRFJÄLL swivel chair and a desk with a laptop on it below a dark grey TUFFING loft bed.
      A drawn floor plan of an open plan apartment.
      Patterned and plain scatter cushions atop a white PLATSA storage bench, below a window.
      A home office space with a white HELMER drawer unit on castors under a LAGKAPTEN/ADILS desk with an ÖRFJÄLL swivel chair.
      A tall fiddle leaf fig in a living area with a VIRRMO floor/reading lamp and two beige/brown SÖDERHAMN 3-seat sofas.
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        How did you create privacy in an open plan space? Walls will do the work!

        Annette: The first thing we did was look at the floor plan and make sure we expanded the physical proximity as much as possible. We kept the communal spaces at the heart of the home, with the bedrooms on opposite ends from one another, so the parents and teenagers each have a space that’s completely their own.

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        A bedside table and lamp next to a light grey GLADSTAD upholstered bed, covered in a white black/check VITKLÖVER duvet cover.
          Two dark grey TUFFING loft bed frames separated by a green fabric curtain, with recreational space below each bed.
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            A woman closing a room-dividing fabric curtain, separating a home office with LACK wall shelves from another area.
              Without doors and walls, we used textile curtains to create a soft yet definite divide between zones for extra privacy.

              Annette YdholmInterior designer

              Besides personal space, how else have you created privacy?

              Annette: While it’s important that everyone has their own space, it’s just as important that they have space for all their things. There is a lot of shared storage, but each person also has their own section of a wardrobe as well as smaller storage boxes and shelves that suit their personal preferences.

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              A white PLATSA open shelving unit with analogue cameras on the top shelf and hats, notebooks and a bag on the shelves below.
                A white PLATSA wardrobe, with folded knitwear on the open shelves to the left and storage boxes above.
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                  How did you create a shared space for both adults and teens to enjoy?

                  Annette: We didn’t want one person to dominate the shared space, so we consciously chose flexible surfaces that work for many different activities. In here, the dining area works just as well for games nights or an extra workstation. The modular sofas are easy to move around for book clubs, chilling out, or movie nights.

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                  A black GLADOM tray table covered in snacks next to a white DOCKSTA table with two LISABO chairs in black and ash.
                    A living area with a white PLATSA storage bench and two SÖDERHAMN 3-seat sofas around a birch veneer BORGEBY coffee table.
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                      A folded up white/light grey KALLHÄLL gateleg table with storage against a wall, next to an anthracite ODGER chair.
                        Look for furniture that works for many different activities and if you’re short on space, pieces that can be packed or stacked away too.

                        Annette YdholmInterior designer

                        How did you fit in all this storage without taking up too much floor space?

                        Annette: If you live in a small space, make vertical space your friend. Use the full length and height of the walls and the spaces we normally forget about – like above and behind the doors. Really, there are many surprising spots just begging to be taken advantage of, so think outside the box!

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                        An open plan white METOD kitchen with a beige stone effect/laminate SÄLJAN worktop and a white MATTRADITION forced air oven.
                          A folded black BEKVÄM stepladder with 3 steps against a wall, next to a black NISSAFORS trolley holding pots, pans and bowls.
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                            A woman sitting on a white PLATSA storage bench with scatter cushions in front of a white BILLY bookcase.
                              When shopping around, look for storage pieces you can add on to and make your own. You’ll end up with a much more personal space and a lot more room.

                              Annette YdholmInterior designer