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Our home away from home: a stylish shared apartment

It started with an ad online: “Two young professionals seeking a third flatmate to share their delightful two-bedroom apartment.” And here they are now: three women from different corners of the globe, exploring a big, new city with their eclectic, colourful one-too-few bedroomed apartment as their much-loved home base.

A grey BACKSÄLEN sofa with four scatter cushions in front of a dining table and chairs with framed art on the wall.
A grey BACKSÄLEN sofa with four scatter cushions in front of a dining table and chairs with framed art on the wall.

Meet the friends

While they only met just over a year ago, you’d never say so. Thick as thieves, they share many things, from their clothes, to their love of colour, flowers and art. Their living room has become an ode to their friendship: lively and layered with the things that bring them together.

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A KONSTFULL vase of flowers and a lit table lamp on a LISTERBY console table in the corner of a room, with curtains behind.
    Three friends, holding beverages, laughing on a sofa in a living area, with floral curtains behind them.
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      And then there were three

      Whoever said a bedroom needed to be a room at all! Certainly not their third flatmate. Once just a bay window, together they transformed the recess in their living room into a cosy sleeping nook. With her books above and storage below, all she needs is to pull her textile curtains across and the space truly becomes her little queendom.

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      A HOLMVI throw in light grey-green atop a pink quilt.
      A KOPPANG chest of drawers, with a lit SNÖBYAR table lamp, against a wall with a LOMMARYD mirror.
      A lit GRÖNPLYM wall lamp on a wall with a shelf below. On the shelf is one vase, a framed photograph and a potted plant.
      A corner of a room, with partially closed blinds over two windows. Above the windows is a wraparound shelf of books.
      A MARYD tray table next to a bed with a NÄSSELKLOCKA quilt cover in a windowed recess with plants on the windowsill.
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        What’s mine is mine

        Some well-founded advice for less tension in a small, shared space: use separate solutions for everyday storage. Things get messy when more personal items get mixed up, but with a bit of planning, designated shelves and hooks can be the peacekeepers you need.

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        A lit SOLKLINT pendant lamp in brass/grey clear glass with another lamp behind.
        A lit SOLKLINT wall lamp with a brass KÄMPIG 3-arm swivel hook on the wall below, with clothes hanging to the right.
        A SVANSELE mirror on a wall, to the right of a door, with fresh flowers and part of a window in its reflection.
        A HEMNES bench with shoe storage housing a shoe collection, with a basket of fresh flowers to the right.
        A grey HAUGA wardrobe partially open revealing the arm of a coat. The open rails show a collection of clothing.
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          A BJÖRKBERGET swivel chair and a LOMMARP desk with a vase of flowers and notebooks on top against a wall of framed art.

            Living together beautifully

            Combining households? IKEA interior designer Hans Blomquist has some tips to share when it comes to making an attractive, cohesive shared space by mixing, matching and finding common ground.

            Read more about sharing with housemates

            Deal me in

            The dining table is their stage, where they lay out delicious meals, deal another round of cards and regale one another with adventure tales. Really, there’s nothing they love more than piling in through the front door after a long day at the office and flopping down here for a giggle together.

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            A dining area with an EKEDALEN extendable table surrounded by a mix of chairs, one of them a SAKARIAS chair with armrests.
              A collection of ENTUSIASM side plates on a wooden table, with cutlery, drinking glasses and SÄLLSKAPLIG wine glasses.
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                The melting pot

                They eat simply for the most part, but when they need a little home-cooked comfort, they have all the traditional spices and staples on hand to whip up a meal that takes them back to somewhere familiar, while letting the others discover something new.

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                A blue tiled kitchen wall with HULTARP rails and brass hooks carrying jugs, a chopping board and scissors.
                  A bamboo GRÖNSAKER serving bowl, INTRESSANT spice mill and open cookbook on a wooden worktop.
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                    Hello work-life balance!

                    The dream job comes with long hours, so this is a space where she can enjoy the other parts of herself. She’s dressed her bedroom in soft pink, dark grey and calming blue – a welcome contrast to the inevitably busy workday.

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                    An ALMARÖD mirror leaning against a wall with a HAUGA open wardrobe next to it. The wardrobe rail is filled with clothes.
                      A woman reading a magazine while sitting under the covers in a light pink IDANÄS upholstered storage bed.
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                        All you need is love and a strong WiFi connection

                        While some may think she drew the short straw, the smaller bedroom is exactly what she wanted: space for a single loft bed and a small sofa, but most importantly, room for her superfast CPU and screens.

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                        A bedroom with a VITVAL loft bed with a sofa and BURVIK side table below, clothing rails and hanging clothes to the side.
                          A lit SÖDÅKRA pendant lamp against a caramel-coloured wall, by a window, with branches of a plant between them.
                          A woman with a beverage sitting on a window seat next to an ALEX desk and MULLFJÄLLET conference chair.
                          A VITVAL loft bed with a black and white floral cover, with a black wall lamp illuminating the space.
                          An ENEBY portable Bluetooth speaker on the corner of an ALEX drawer unit next to a wooden bowl holding a roll of brown paper.
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                          A moment for me

                          It’s an unwritten rule that they all respect: the need for a little alone time and space is real, and the bathroom is where it’s all yours. So, close the creaky door, draw yourself a deep, hot bath and let that face mask work its magic.

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                          A bamboo SALUDING laundry basket against a pink chevron-tiled wall, with part of a RÅSKOG trolley in the background.
                            A corner of a bathroom with pink tiled walls, showing a bath, a wash-stand, a high cabinet and a mirror cabinet.
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