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Home visit: a converted apartment in an old school

Creating distinct zones within an open-plan space can make one room feel like many. When IKEA FAMILY Magazine’s creative director, Jules, moved into her London flat, she redesigned the space to create a split-level, one-room home.

A living room and dining area with white walls in a converted apartment, in an old school.
A living room and dining area with white walls in a converted apartment, in an old school.

Use seating instead of walls

Use seating to create a living-room corner within an open-plan space. Jules brought a small two-seater sofa from her previous home and added two IKEA armchairs and a rug to create a sociable layout around the coffee table.

Streamline your kitchen

Choose a kitchen layout that suits the way you cook. Jules wanted a one-wall kitchen to maintain a sense of openness, so she moved it from another area to the longest wall in the flat. Tap below to see how she organises her kitchen.

See how Jules organises her kitchen.

An improvised island

A carefully positioned table can do the same job as a kitchen island. Jules’ dining table is somewhere for friends to gather while she’s in the kitchen area, and she also uses it as a food and drinks station, where everyone can help themselves.

Relax your way

Make room for your favourite way to relax. On the mezzanine level of Jules’ home, the snug is where she spends most of her time. The living room downstairs is for socialising, but up here is for curling up with a TV box set, snacks and candles.

Separate your space

Define different parts of an open-plan home so it can still feel cosy. Jules’ bedroom is technically part of the snug area, but lighting, a mirror and a bedside table make it feel like a separate room. Having a view over the dining area maintains a sense of space.

A home workspace with two chairs and white desk.

A workspace on the wall

A home office doesn’t have to be in a separate room. Jules has pushed an IKEA PS table up against a wall to use as a desk. She tacks her artwork on the walls and support beams around her workspace.

A home that’s grown

“I changed everything when I moved in – I redesigned the whole flat,” says Jules. “But since then my home has changed in a more gradual, organic way. It’s become less and less minimal as I’ve added more plants, more artwork, and more personal displays on the walls.”

A floorplan of Jules’ home, upper and lower levels.

An open home

Jules’ apartment is in an up-and-coming area of east London, in a converted school. She did a complete architectural redesign as soon as she moved in to create her open-plan space, then decorated it to define different zones while holding on to the feeling of openness.

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: Katie Phillips
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Artwork on mezzanine: Polly Wreford and Mary Norden, uspublishing.co.uk
Artwork on floor in last image: Pernilla Warnhammar