Deep green walls and William Morris papers bring a botanical feel to this Swedish home
‘WE PAINTED THE LIVING ROOM GREEN – IT’S MY FAVOURITE COLOUR – BUT CHOSE A DARK GREY-GREEN SHADE SO THAT IT DOESN’T POP TOO MUCH. IT WORKS WITH EVERYTHING’
This 1920s apartment in Gothenburg is a perfect example of how high-street designs can conjure up a luxurious look. Its owner Cajsa Berndtsdotter and her partner Torbjörn Olsson both work for the Swedish giant, Ikea – she as a visual merchandiser, he as a product quality specialist – so they know a thing or two about making its designs look good. But it’s their combination of the brand’s affordable furniture with unexpected colours and patterns that transforms their home from simple to stunning.
The couple, who share the two-bedroom home with their two cats, Juni and August, were attracted to the apartment because it needed renovation. They kept the original floorboards, simply whitewashing them, and knocked down a wall between the kitchen and living room to create an open-plan space. Cajsa had fallen in love with two William Morris wallpapers – ‘Chrysanthemum’ and ‘Pimpernel’ – in delicate green shades, but she knew they would be too dominant in the main living area. She used them in the hallway and the couple’s bedroom instead, and they have inspired the rest of the décor. ‘That’s why we painted the living room green,’ she explains. ‘ We picked a very dark grey-green shade so it doesn’t pop too much – it has a dull tone that works with everything.’
Cajsa employed two clever tricks to prevent the dark colour from feeling claustrophobic. The first is to have different zones. ‘The green living room is one and the dining room is another. For the latter we used an almost pure white paint on the walls,’ she says. The same white on the ceilings helps to open up the space. The second trick is to use furniture in neutral shades. Cajsa avoided adding extra colours, creating warmth and texture with wood instead. Tan leather seating and brass details complete the picture, uniting nature-inspired beauty with modern, minimal style.
Cajsa found further inspiration using Pinterest, and before creating the art wall in the living room, she tested out ideas on her floor. ‘That’s a really good tip – it means you can decide everything before you start making holes in the wall.’
‘If we’re meeting up with friends, it’s common to be in someone’s home rather than going out,’ says Cajsa. ‘That’s why we like to have a stylish, well-organised, social space.’ Somehow, we expect gatherings here are always popular. Follow Cajsa Berndsdotter on Instagram at @c.berndtsdotter
Living room Tan leather, warm woods and splashes of white bring the dark grey-green walls to life. The sofas are both from Ikea but Cajsa (right) has customised them with new legs from Pretty Pegs. The slanted shelves on the ‘String’ wire storage system (available in the UK at Nest) display favourite images and ornaments