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A stylist’s living room: Susanne’s cosy, minimalist retreat

We asked one of our favourite interior designers, Susanne Swegen, for inspiration and tips to help recreate a living room with her calm, cool, signature style.

Woods, creamy white, and glass create a relaxing and organic feeling living room.
Woods, creamy white, and glass create a relaxing and organic feeling living room.
Susanne, interior designer.

Warm minimalism. That’s how we’d best describe Susanne’s unique interiors. “I love the mix of Japanese and Finnish aesthetics. Both have an organic feel, with lots of woods and whites.” It’s that love for muted tones and tranquility that became Susanne’s main inspiration for this living room.

These walls may be neutral, but they’re far from bland. Create a sense of symmetry by using two paint colours instead of one. “It’s such a simple way to give the space a unique feel,” says Susanne. Adding mirrors to play with light and reflection is also a favourite way to give a room some extra depth (if yours stands on the floor, make sure to fasten it to the wall like we did).

Finding your own style isn’t about the magazines or shows. Sit in your space and think about how you want your life there to be. How will you use it? Reflect upon your feelings and go from there.

Susanne Swegen, interior designer

Balance the symmetrical lines with the softness of textiles. Here Susanne has used curtains in two ways. In the window, she has hung two layers, one sheer and one heavy, to help control the natural light. On the opposite wall she’s opted to use curtains in a much less traditional way: simply hung against a bare wall to add texture.

Counter the many straight lines and offer a refreshing alternative to the traditional rectangular coffee table with a couple round ones. “I love the combination of glass, wood, and white. These three tables together give you lots of space and they can be easily moved to create small islands if someone needs one closer to their spot on the sofa.”

For those like Susanne, working much of the time from home, a comfortable place to focus is important to incorporate into the ideal living room. In this work area there’s ample room to spread out sketches, a laptop, books, and even enough room for another person to work here, as well.

As for all of those work supplies and magazines? “Just remember that every single thing has a shape and a colour. Everything adds to the space and can make it feel cluttered or chaotic.” Which is why lots of storage space is needed. We even custom painted these cabinets the same colour (NCS 0500-N) as the wall to help them blend in.

Textiles are one of the easiest ways to give your room new life. They add so much texture and make such an impact, but they’re incredibly affordable.

Susanne Swegen, interior designer

“Here in Scandinavia, so much of the year is dark. It’s really important for us to have balanced lighting in our homes. Make sure you have practical lighting that suits all of your needs.” A desk lamp for working, a floor lamp behind your favourite reading spot, and a decorative lamp and candles for ambiance.

Hand drawn floor plan for a 29 setre square living room.

Here’s the floor plan of Susanne’s living room. It’s only 29 square metres but Susanne made the most of the available space and created a calm oasis in harmonious hues. There’s room for both relaxing and working.

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 designer: Susanne Swegen
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Writer: Vanessa Algotsson