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01-Feb-2019
Life happens around the clock, but can you create a functional home for a family of five in a small urban apartment? Two IKEA designers took up the challenge.
An adult and child playing on a double bed with underbed storage drawers, with curtains hanging around the bed and artwork on the walls.
A black and white portrait of interior designers Emma Persson Lagerberg and Emilia Ljungberg.

Meet the designers

Interior designers Emma Persson Lagerberg and Emilia Ljungberg were set the challenge of creating a small-space home with character, on a budget, to fit a family of five. ‘We wanted to create a colourful home that felt playful, new and modern, with smart solutions to meet all their needs.’ Using flexible furniture, rooms within a room, and smart storage, here’s how they did it…
‘Storage is crucial, especially when it can double as other things; in the first shared bedroom we used PLATSA to create a reading nook for the youngest child, as well as a “getting ready” space for their mother’
Emma, interior designer
Two desks side by side with one side of the wall painted in lilac and the other in coral.

Shared spaces

The second bedroom is divided into two equal-sized spaces using colour blocking, with tandem desks. ‘It gives the kids the chance to take ownership of their side,’ says Emilia. ‘The SLÄKT bed has a pull-out bed underneath for sleepovers and drawers for extra bedlinen. A reading light is a must for bedtime stories, and as it only lights up the area needed it means no one else is disturbed.’
‘To balance “me time” with “we time”, we gave each person a space of their own, no matter how small or simple, and all the shared areas are flexible. The FLOTTEBO sofabed has storage space inside and also doubles as a guest bed’
Emma, interior designer
A tall cupboard with striped black and white front.

Stylish storage

Graphic patterns and bold colours throughout the apartment add a sense of playfulness. ‘We created a solitaire out of the new YTTERBYN doors for METOD to enhance that graphic expression and create storage at the same time,’ says Emilia. ‘Our aesthetic inspiration came from lots of places,’ adds Emma. ‘From David Hockney, Los Angeles and the ’80s, to cubism and Tetris!’
‘In the kitchen we used KUNGSFORS rails and low shelves for easy access to the things the family use daily. We added a GRUNDTAL trolley so it’s quick and easy to set the table’
Emilia, interior designer
An adult and child in a bathroom with double sinks, a stool and two mirrors.

A better bathroom

Emma and Emilia squeezed lots of functions into one compact family bathroom. ‘It is a small space but it can cater for all five family members if time is running out,’ says Emilia. ‘That’s thanks to the double sink, the extra stool, wall hooks, and enough storage space for everyone’s things,’ says Emma. An extra mirror under the window helps with overcrowding in the mornings.
A laundry space with washing machine, shelves and baskets.

Organised laundry space

The laundry area is a versatile system of compact shelves, racks and baskets. ‘Easy access to laundry baskets encourages the kids to help out and place dirty clothes where they should be,’ says Emilia. ‘There’s an extra space above the washing machine for folding and sorting clothes. All the cleaning products and powders are placed on the top shelf – well out of reach for the children.’
A floorplan of the family apartment.

Design a home to suit you

A busy family has a lot of stuff, but with some carefully planned storage and double-duty furniture, you can create a home that works for everyone. ‘We hope that people will feel inspired not to take creating a home too seriously,’ says Emma. ‘Interior design should be fun!’
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 designers: Emma Persson Lagerberg, Emilia Ljunberg
Photographer: Martin Cederblad