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Home visit: family life in one living room

Let downsizing bring you closer together and create more opportunities to have fun as a family. Up in the eaves of a five-storey building in East Berlin, this family of four uses one hardworking room for all kinds of living.

A child in fancy dress.
A child in fancy dress.

Two rooms in one When you’re squeezing several functions into one living room, choose furniture that allows you to do different things at different times of the day. Sylke’s three children share the two bedrooms in this compact apartment, so the living room transforms into her bedroom every night with a quick unfolding of the sofabed. Sylke uses a lightweight coffee table and armchairs to create a sociable circular layout during the daytime.

From day to night Bedding in similar colours to the living room makes for a subtle switch from family living room to Sylke’s bedroom, and an angled floorlamp becomes her reading light by night. She uses a storage unit as a bedside table for books, an alarm clock and a glass of water. Sylke’s sofabed has a third function at weekends, when she leaves it down during the day as an island for the whole family to gather on. ‘The sofabed is where we relax, watch films, chat and just be together as a family all weekend.’

Shop the bedroom department If your living room needs to fulfil lots of different functions, you might find that bedroom storage works well. Sylke’s chest of drawers hides away anything you wouldn’t expect to see in a living room, and also gives her an extra surface for displays.

Two-in-one furniture Looking around Sylke’s living room, most of her furniture serves more than one of the family’s needs. Her coffee table isn’t just a place to put drinks and snacks – it stores extra blankets and throws for cosying up on the sofa, and a tray on top works as a display for smaller pots and vases. Plus, it’s low enough for the kids to use as a flat surface for games.

Life in a small place has its challenges, but I feel freer and happier than ever

Sylke, Berlin

Create your own feel-good displays Use prints and pictures to express yourself and make your living room a place to feel inspired. For Sylke, printed quotes mean more to her than artwork; she uses mantras to help her focus on the important things in life. ‘I often lose myself in my thoughts, so I use positive words to bring me back up.’

Make room for playtime When Sylke relocated from a large house in the country to this city apartment, she still wanted to give her children plenty of room to play. ‘I love seeing the joy that play brings my kids, so I encourage it as much as possible. We wait to see what the weather is like before making any plans, and we have so many different ways to play at home.’ Dress-up accessories and costumes brighten up a rainy day with fun role-play games, and the large soft rug becomes a play mat.

‘Home is where I feel happiest, and our living room is at the heart of that. I love relaxing here, playing with my kids and recharging my batteries. I’m a real homebody, so a beautiful space means everything to me.’

Life in the living room Sylke’s split-level 72m2 apartment includes a compact kitchen, a bathroom, the two bedrooms shared by the three children, and a living room where the family spends most of their time. White walls throughout Sylke’s home make it feel more spacious. ‘It’s funny to think I had a black-and-red bedroom during my teenage punk years!’

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: Sam Grigg
Photographer: Lina Ikse