Skip to main content

Home visit: a playground for all the family

Home is your playground – embrace a mix of fun and function, just like this family. ‘We’ve designed our home so that if anyone has an impulse, big or small, we just go with it!’

A living room with grey modular sofa and colourful cushions.
A living room with grey modular sofa and colourful cushions.

At the Håkonsen family’s place, there’s no time like the present for play. A modular sofa makes it easy to be spontaneous and transform the living room into something new: a cinema, theatre stage, taco restaurant… ‘There are so many possibilities to do different things – creating corners, changing the armrests… I love it,’ says Pia. ‘The storage underneath means that toys and games are never far from reach.’

The white walls on the ground floor act as a base for Pia’s playful use of colour. ‘Colour gives me energy. I love using it, but I like it to be balanced. That’s why lots of the walls are white – when I feel like adding colour, I use textiles, hang a picture or add something decorative,’ says Pia.

The way children see the world when they draw is fascinating – they’re not held back by “the right way” to do things. We try to create that in our home

Pia, Kristiansand

‘During the week, the dining table next to the kitchen is used for doing homework and eating evening meals. This open-plan layout works for the way we live – you don’t have to be stuck in one room cooking dinner while hearing laughter or the kids reading in another room,’ says Pia.

Make it easy to share the kitchen with the children – a few small additions will create a safe space where they can feel confident and involved. ‘Elle is fond of helping me in the kitchen, and Liam wakes up early to pack his lunch for school and make breakfast. He really enjoys it, this small hour in the kitchen to himself.’

When it came to decorating the playroom, the whole family played their part. ‘It’s important that each of us is reflected in here,’ says Pia. ‘Yngvar’s old football jerseys hang above the sofa, right next to the rainbow of pastel pink and yellow that I painted. So much for the “man cave” he wished for!’

‘If you can’t find us in the living room, you’ll hear us upstairs in the playroom! This is another of our spaces for coming together, which becomes more special as the kids get older and more independent,’ says Pia. The family planned the space around a second modular sofa, with footstools arranged along the end of the seats to make them extra deep. It’s the perfect spot for the whole family to stretch out together.

Even the most utilitarian parts of Pia’s home, like the washroom and bathrooms, have been given a playful touch. ‘We had our wooden IVAR cabinets (and even our bath!) custom spray-painted by a local graffiti artist,’ says Pia.

‘I prefer to feel what a space needs over time. Painting the walls dark was one of the first changes I made in the bedroom. Grey makes the bedroom feel cosy and cave-like, but we added yellow features later to make the room sparkle.’

Pia’s tips for creating a more playful home

1. ‘Change your flooring. We fell in love with the rubber flooring you can see throughout our home as it reminded us of an indoor playroom. You don’t have to be afraid about it getting wet or messy because it’s so easy to clean.’ When a change of flooring isn’t an option, add a colourful rug or runner to lift the space.

2. ‘Use the wall for a hall of fame. Kids love to see their drawings on the wall and it can be inspiring for you, too. Displaying Yngvar’s framed football shirts is also something personal to us,’ says Pia.

3. ‘Find ways to embrace new technology. Yes, it’s changing the way we play, but as long as there’s a balance between screen time and being outdoors, then it can be positive. The kids dress up and film their own movies on the iPad, and we all play computer games together on the big TV screen in the playroom.’

The Håkonsens’ home in Norway is a new-build ‘funkis’ design – an architectural style known for its functional characteristics. This includes a flat roof, which leaves no space wasted by sloped ceilings. ‘Some of our neighbours have their living area on the second storey, but we love having ours on the ground floor. The best part is opening the veranda doors on either side in spring,’ says Pia.

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: Carl Braganza
Photographer: Dan Duchars
Mural in utility room: @mrlauvis
Follow Pia on Instagram: @bypiapei