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Ask a designer: sharing with housemates in style

“I’m sharing an apartment with friends but we’re struggling to combine our aesthetics. How do we make our space beautiful while still expressing each of our interests?” There are many wonderful advantages to living with others, but combining households can come with some décor challenges. Luckily, IKEA interior designer Hans Blomquist has some brilliant tips and tricks to share when it comes to making a beautiful, cohesive space by mixing, matching and finding common ground.

Fresh flowers in an assortment of clear glass KORKEN bottles with stoppers.
A man sitting next to a vase of flowers in front of a gallery wall with BILD posters and SILVERHÖJDEN and RAMSBORG frames.

Hej Hans! Can you tell us a bit about your vision for this home?

Hans: With this home, I wanted to show that you can combine furniture and accessories in different styles and make it one world. The difficulty people face is mixing old and new, but I encourage you to break all the rules, and recreate them for yourself.

A lit SÖDÅKRA pendant lamp in the corner of a room, with ornamental bowls, a box and a branch atop a surface below.
A naturally-lit windowsill with potted plants above and framed art including a black stained EDSBRUK frame on the wall below.
A mood board including pattered ENTUSIASM side plates, pink tiles, wood, textiles, pink flowers and leaves.
Mixing many different influences can come together to make something that is uniquely you. Just don’t be afraid of colour – it’s your friend.

Hans BlomquistInterior designer

What would you say is a quick and easy way to breathe life into a space?

Hans: There is nothing that makes a home more inviting than a vase full of flowers. Everything from cut flowers, to branches and blooms gathered in nature, to dried sculptural pieces. Of course, cut flowers can be quite costly but from spring to late autumn nature is full of free finds to bring home.

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Four dandelions in a clear glass, patterned KONSTFULL vase, placed on two mats on a white surface.
Fresh flowers and green leaves in a clear glass BEGÄRLIG vase placed on a cabinet with a dark curtain to the side.
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A man in  blue denim jacket arranging fresh flowers in a clear glass KONSTFULL vase on a table with a chair in front of it.
Few things make a room as inviting as cut flowers, so when you can, bring some into your home.

Hans BlomquistInterior designer

There are so many great textiles in here. How did you pair them all?

Hans: As this is a home of three different people, there will always be a mix and match of different styles, colours and textures. I wanted to show how to work with the differences rather than against them. The mix of patterned and plain curtains, bed linen, cushions and rugs creates a look that is layered and soft but with a lot of attitude and personality.

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A light grey/brown VALLASÅN bath towel with others and a light yellow VINARN bath towel in a pile on the corner of a bathtub.
A pile of three scatter cushions, one with a JÄTTEVALLMO pillowcase, on the corner of a bed with a NÄSSELKLOCKA duvet cover.
Four scatter cushions, one with a STORTIMJAN cover, on top of one another on the corner of a beige sofa with a throw.
A pile of cushions made up of a LEIKNY cushion cover, a NÄSSELKLOCKA cushion cover, and two SANELA cushion covers.
Fresh pink and purple flowers in a green-brown KONSTFULL vase in front of a curtain of NÄSSELKLOCKA fabric.
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You’ve used rather unconventional placements for some of the artworks

Hans: Absolutely. In fact, I’d encourage everyone to use places they wouldn’t normally when creating an art installation at home: above doors, below windows – anywhere can be transformed into a gallery! Mixing different frames in colour, width, texture and size will create a wall that will be very personal. The key is to play.

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Art framed in black FISKBO frames and SILVERHÖJDEN frames in silver and gold above and next to an open door.
A clear glass BEGÄRLIG vase filled with flowers on a LOMMARP desk, with brightly coloured framed prints on the wall behind.
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A brown REGISSÖR glass-door cabinet in a dining area with one door ajar housing a collection of crockery and glassware.
When you find yourself living with others, work out what interests you share and celebrate them in the way you choose to decorate.

Hans BlomquistInterior designer

How did you resolve the storage needs in this shared apartment?

Hans: This is an open home – one to be shared with their friends, but also with one another. Open storage is a wonderful way to bring that feeling to life. I chose to display their beautiful collections rather than hide them, so many things - from their combined glassware to their own individual clothing collections - are visible.

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A white HAUGA open wardrobe with 3 drawers with clothes hanging from the rail and flowers in a vase on a desk to the right.
A FABRIKÖR glass-door cabinet filled with glassware, with vases of fresh flowers on top and a framed print above.
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