The feeling of home

When creating beautiful interiors for others is your day job, what influences how you choose to make a home for yourself to love? “Of course I love to live with nice things, but home is about more than a look. I wanted to create a feeling of comfort and belonging, where you come home and feel safe, relax and just be yourself,” says Johanna.

Balancing shared and personal space

”When Lulzim and I moved in 20 years ago the house was cute and small. Most of the living room wasn’t here, we added it later. Our latest addition has been a mini ‘reading room’. Putting an armchair and light in that corner has made it a place to retreat. Our footstool has made the space even more cosy and flexible and comfy – it can be a table, an extra seat or just a place to rest tired feet.”

Signs of life

“We like our kitchen. It’s not the newest but it’s ours,” says Johanna of the room at the heart of her home. Open shelves hold a mix of crockery, glassware and gadgets collected over the years and used daily because they’re on show, not behind doors. And most doors are swapped for linen that pulls across to hide clutter. “You lose something when everything is shiny and new and there’s no history.”

Made to make life easy

In small ways that make a difference, Johanna’s organisation supports daily family life. A bench at the table means guests always find a seat. The toaster by the table is handy in the mornings when everyone wants toast. The table by the window is a great place to sit with a coffee and spot sea birds as they fly in. “Best of all, it’s a nice spot for us to gather in the evening and share our day.”

“The kitchen is our most well-used piece of IKEA – it carries the signs of its long life with us. It’s the place we always meet. We have had many important discussions here, a lot of laughs, tears and hugs. I really love our kitchen.”

A quick lesson in lighting…

“We had really bad lighting in the house before. When you have only wall lamps or floor lamps the light sits at one level. And if all you have is a ceiling light then you just get a funnel of light going down. What’s really nice is to have a mix of light sources. Spotlights, lights with dimmers so you can really control the mood, small lamps in the window to give a welcoming glow, or on the floor and, of course, candlelight. With light, think of more than you can need – then add more!”

IKEA Ideas - This is where we come to switch off

And suit-yourself style

“I’ve bought things from IKEA my whole life. One of the first was a pink bookshelf my parents got for me – my own bookshelf for my room! I loved it so much. What I’ve always loved about IKEA is how easy it is to buy something and make it my own. In my work we’re told this year it’s this, next year it will be that. Of course we’re all influenced by the trends but find a way to make them your own.”

“Putting the heart in a home is important – my own mother is really good at that. She’s always told me to get all the things I love and put them together. Even if the styles are different, it will look beautiful because I love it.”

Boys’ zone

Johanna’s three sons, Elvin (21), Kevin (19) and Nheo (14) each have their own room. “Over the years, our rooms have moved around the house,” says Elvin. “This room downstairs used to be mine, now it’s Nheo’s. I’ve shared with my brother Kevin, now what I want most from my room is a comfortable place to sleep. Mum leaves us to do our rooms the way we want. She just gives inspiration and ideas.”

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