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Parallel universe: a small, budget-friendly apartment designed to be shared

They’ve been living together for the past few months but sharing life together since day one. Here they are: siblings sharing a one-bedroom apartment and making it work. More than work, actually. As they’re both about living their best lives, rather than having the most expensive stuff, they’ve created a home to be enjoyed together and apart. From dance and dinner parties to quiet “me-time” moments, it all happens here.

A hallway in reds and whites with garments on white MULIG clothes bars on the wall above a white MACKAPÄR storage bench.
A man and a woman smile at each other, one seated in a red-and-white KLIPPAN two-seat sofa, the other on the floor beside.

How would you describe your style?

“Practical pop! Lots of storage, lots of fun color and always – always – on a budget. Our hallway is very much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get welcome into our home. There are hooks, rails and cabinets for all the things we need on the fly and even a note board for some little messages. Sure, we have phones, but we like a bit of analogue cuteness too.”

Notes, cards, keys, decorations and accessories arranged on a wall-mounted, white SÖDERGARN magnetic memo board.
A hallway wall with clothes on white hangers, scarves, hats and accessories, all on and around a white MULIG clothes bar.
A black-and-white, blueprint-like representation of an apartment.
A light-grey PIVRING backpack hangs along with various accessories on a row of wall-mounted KLYKET folding hooks.
A pink SLIBB flexible laundry basket holding accessories standing on a white MACKAPÄR bench with storage compartments.

    Adult siblings sharing a one-bedroom apartment. It can be done! Watch and see how they make it work beautifully, enjoying time together and time apart, thanks to the versatility of each space.

    So, a 1-bedroom apartment shared by adult siblings. How’s that going?

    “Growing up, we had our fair share of bunk beds. Not this time! When my brother moved in with me, we agreed that I would hold onto my bedroom and we would make a space for him to sleep and store his stuff in the living area. We’ve made the space as flexible as possible – still great for socializing but also private enough for him to feel totally at home.”

    See the full living room
    A corner of a room with three high, grey IVAR cabinets with mesh doors filled with clothes, and storage boxes on top.
    A woman on an UTÅKER stackable bed reads a book. Behind a room-dividing combo of a plant swath and a curtain sits a man.
    See the full living room
    A section of a grey IVAR cabinet where colorful threads have been used to embroider decorations on the door's metal mesh.
    "
    We love a bit of DIY, so we made these cabinets our own by embroidering bright, geometric patterns onto their mesh doors.
    "

    Where did you find all the extra pieces you needed?

    “I already had an upholstered bed that I use as a sofa, but we were lucky enough to find another at the As Is section at IKEA for a fraction of the original price. In fact, many of our pieces were found there and we were even able to sell some of our older pieces back using the IKEA Buy Back program.”

    Read more about circularity in the home
    A store interior with a woman sitting on a table and a man standing next to it.
    Read more about circularity in the home

    Has sharing come with any surprising advantages?

    “We know each other too well for any big surprises! But when my brother needed a place to stay, I didn't give it a second thought. Of course, it helps to have someone to split the rent with, and we use less energy and water by living together, but in all honesty, it was the home cooked meals that really sold me on the plan. When I lived alone, the kitchen didn't see much action. Now, thanks to his culinary wizardry, there is always some sort of delicious, vegetarian meal or snack in grabbing distance. Unsurprisingly, our friends are also around a lot more often these days!”

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    A kitchen with SEKTION cabinets, a white MELLTORP table, different-color LEIFARNE chairs, and a white NISSAFORS trolley.
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    A white tabletop with a colorful food display in dark-grey LYCKAD oven dishes, surrounded by culinary accessories.
    Chopped-up vegetables and fruits on a chopping board and divided into multiple mixed-color GARNITYREN lidded bowls.

    Which part of the home gets the most action?

    “Before my brother moved in, I would have said my living room, but you know how it goes: more food, more friends, more dinner parties! Rather than replacing my dining table with a bigger one, we sold my brother’s through the IKEA Buy Back program and bought a smaller one from the same range from As Is. We just pushed the two together – and look! A lovely, long, customizable dining table: within our budget and lightweight enough to pick up and move for spontaneous dance parties.”

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    A dining area in white shades with two white MELLTORP tables, white MELODI pendants and different-color LEIFARNE chairs.
    A white SOCKER greenhouse with multiple small plants inside, placed on a windowsill.
    A white tabletop with a RISATORP basket and a color-bursting mix of vegetables, fruits and juices in clear-glass carafes.
    A white, sunlit NISSAFORS trolley loaded with food and accessories standing by a kitchen worktop and next to a glass door.
    A white tabletop dotted with pomegranates, pomegranate seeds, persimmons, and carambolas in a white OFTAST serving bowl.
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    Information about reuse, repair, recycle, reimagine and living more sustainably with IKEA.

    Want some planet and wallet-friendly furnishing tips?

    Interior designer Chiara Effroi Lutteri has some knowledge to share when it comes to creating a more sustainable home, dispelling the myth that living more consciously needs to be costly.

    Live more sustainably on a budget

    You’re both working from home. How does that work?

    “When you’re living in a small space, you have to use every bit of available space. Some people aim for a corner office – we've made do with a corridor! We have very different ways of working – my brother preferring things neat and minimal, whereas I flourish when surrounded by color and inspiration – so storage has helped keep the peace and our spaces as separated as possible.”

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    A colorfully decorated workspace with a white LAGKAPTEN tabletop, white SKÅDIS pegboards and a pink LÅNGFJÄLL swivel chair.
    A white SKÅDIS pegboard filled with colorful accessories, over a white LAGKAPTEN tabletop and pink LÅNGFJÄLL swivel chair.
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    A desk placed into a corner, with decorative objects placed on dark-grey MALMBÄCK display shelves on the wall above.
    By a desk with a white LAGKAPTEN tabletop lit by a FORSÅ work lamp, stands a high, black-brown VITTSJÖ shelving unit.

    Is there anything you miss about living alone?

    “Truth be told, not really. I thought I’d find it tricky having someone around all the time, but my bedroom has really become my selfish, solo spot in the home: filled with my favorite things and space to hang out privately with my pals.”

    See the full bedroom
    A bedroom with colorful decorations and a light-grey SLATTUM bed made with blue-and-white TRÄDKRASSULA bed linen.
    See the full bedroom

    Without his own bedroom, how does your brother get some alone time?

    “Our courtyard has become my brother's retreat. After a busy workday, he can often be found out there watering (and chatting) to his plants. Green thumbs certainly aren’t hereditary, but what I lack in skill, I make up in enthusiasm for the delicious meals he makes with so many of his home-grown veggies and herbs.”

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    A plant arrangement including a white CHILISTRÅN hang planter and an off-white SESAMFRÖN plant pot by a white brick wall.
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    By a white brick wall stand side-by-side HYLLIS shelving units filled with plant pots, plants and planting accessories.
    A patio dotted with plants, a white SKARPÖ armchair, an UTTER children's stool, and a black UTSUND LED lighting chain.

    It sounds like it’s been a smooth transition. Any serious adjustments?

    “Hard pressed, I’d say sharing a bathroom again had to be the biggest adjustment. With not much room for storage, we had to be smart. By dotting hooks along the walls, we solved the need for bigger storage pieces. They work in a super versatile way. Need to hang up a towel? There's a hook for that! They work for makeup and toiletry bags – even as space to temporarily hang a mop or place a removable drying rack.”

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    A red-and-white-tiled bathroom with white LILLÅNGEN cabinets and a red NISSAFORS trolley with accessories.
    A dark-matte, stoneware GANSJÖN three-piece bathroom set on the side of a white washbasin, next to a red-tiled wall.
    A bathroom corner with hanging towels and a dark-grey VINNFAR bathroom mat on the tiled floor.
    In the corner of a red-and-white-tiled bathroom stands a red NISSAFORS trolley holding accessories.
    A red-tiled wall with a white VÅGSJÖN bath towel and other bathroom accessories hang from black SKOGSVIKEN hooks.
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