IKEA - Ideas - Home visit: How to design a happy home

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When Katty and Marky bought their house it was made up of small rooms. “The kitchen was a tiny box of a room, it made you feel separate,” says Katty. Then sons Lucas (4) and Milo (2) came along. “A kitchen extension created a sense of openness.” Placing a table and bench off the end of the island unit gave the family a breakfast bar that doubles as craft station and home office.

Make family time special.

“I had a romantic idea of eating in the dining room with the kids and that’s what we do once a week – we call it a Foxy Dinner Party. The boys set the table, we stick on a record and it’s just nice family time. Lucas is at the age where he’s starting to create memories; I hope this will be one of them.”

Make it easy to change.

“I’ve gone from putting stuff everywhere to grouping it in organised collections,” says Katty of her pared-back approach to creating displays. “I usually keep it nice and clean. Today’s mix is quite eclectic – I wanted to try a mix of magazines and trinkets. Often, I just have magazines or album covers.” Picture ledges are the perfect way to showcase an ever-changing display. No need for nails.

“We used to have a lot of stuff, but I’ve become someone who needs order to feel relaxed. The kids were the catalyst. I’ve had to find the line between ‘good sentimental’ and hoarding, so we only have the things we absolutely love!”

Work together

“Our home has grown with us. We’ve had a few decorating disasters along the way,” says Marky. “We’ve learned the value of a moodboard. You pull all your ideas for the room together in one place, and you can both look and see if there’s anything that doesn’t work,” says Katty.

IKEA - Ideas - Home visit: How to design a happy home

Create cosy nooks.

When space is limited, make it work harder by creating rooms within rooms – spots where you can do your own thing in a shared space. Marky built a window seat for the boys. A bench with baskets underneath would create the same nook. Then use textiles to cosy it up. “I wanted somewhere the boys could cuddle up with a book.

Hide and display

“We don’t want pictures on every wall so we made a gallery in the hallway, which grows organically. Hiding the stuff of everyday life gives the art wall a chance to shine. The hall is a high-traffic space, you want things to be organised and easy for the kids. The TV cabinet we use is great to store shoes – we each have our own box.”

Don’t save it ‘for best’

“We waited a long time to get the living room right. As we sorted out the rest of the house, this room was the one we hid behind closed doors. We finally tackled it last year when I signed up for a four-week Instagram challenge. It was the first time Marky and I worked on a room together properly, that’s why I really love it. I call this our ‘turn off room’, where we switch off and relax.”

“None of our rooms are ‘good rooms’ – there are no restrictions on the boys. I don’t want to be precious about anything. This is a home to live in.”

IKEA - Ideas - Home visit: How to design a happy home
IKEA - Ideas - Home visit: How to design a happy home
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