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Get switched on!

LED, statement design, zoning – clever and beautiful ideas helped Mareike and her family see home in a new light

Get switched on!
LED, statement design, zoning – clever and beautiful ideas helped Mareike and her family see home in a new light

The quick tour

'Three of us live here. Matthis, Emil and me. Here is a small town near Nuremburg, in a little Swedish house that we built last year. We’re not a family that makes plans. Plans don’t always make life better… I was three months pregnant when we got married. We thought it would take a long time to happen so we hadn’t rushed to plan the wedding. Ahh well… We’re happy to just live life.

Tonight, Matthis’ oldest son and twin daughters will cycle over from their home in the next village for the weekend. We’ll talk about what we’ve been up to the last few days then we’ll see what happens, take the weekend as it comes…

That said, we took a year to plan this house. Matthis dreamed of having an old house with history that we could make our own. I dreamed of a charming little house where all the rooms are lived in and every corner is comfortable. We looked but couldn’t find the right house in the right place. So we have this! Imported from Sweden, erected by a great group of builders who listened to salsa as they worked, on a patch of land where Matthis played football as a child.

We are fans of Sweden. It’s where we spent our honeymoon and it’s the style that influences me most. Watches seem to go slower in Sweden and I like being around that relaxed feeling. Change relaxes me. I switch our textiles each season and move our furniture about. It’s good for your awareness. Move a chair to a different corner of a room and you get a totally new perspective when you sit in it.'

‘Lights are one of the best tools you have when decorating your home. They make it so easy to change how a room looks and feels’ Åsa

What’s the bright idea Åsa?

‘There’s no denying we Swedes appreciate what good lighting can do for your home. Our nights are darker for longer so we find real joy in spring’s arrival – seeing nature come to life and enjoying the lighter days. Light can give you a real boost of energy, and bringing that into your home can be powerful.

Mareike lives in Germany but has a Scandinavian sensibility – her style and the way she uses light give me a feeling of home. I want to help the family think even more about lighting as a way to make life at home better, to help find clever and beautiful solutions for every task and occasion. I also want to introduce the family to LED. We know LED is good for the environment, but how is it to live with? I’ve updated all Mareike’s bulbs to LED, and discussed how the family use every corner to find ways to make the space better with lights.’

Spotlight things that matter ‘In the kitchen Mareike has made a display of Emil’s paintings by tacking laundry pegs to the wall. It makes Emil feel good about his art, so I enhanced the gallery feel by adding a spotlight.'

Light your work spaces ‘Having good light makes every task easier and more enjoyable. Mareike loves cooking. I boosted the light she gets from the pendants hanging over each worktop with directional light from some spotlights.’

'What matters to us at home? This has to be a flexible home. Day to day it’s three of us here: me, Matthis and Emil. But often we double our number when Matthis’ eldest son and twin daughters cycle over from the next village. As the kids get older, it becomes important that we can relax together but also have individual space. When we moved in here nine months ago my dream was to create a home where all the rooms are lived in and every corner is comfortable, with plenty of seats that are all used.'

Åsa says… 'The right light in the spot where it is needed is key to making us feel comfortable in every corner of our homes. A simple thing like adding a floor lamp with directional light next to the sofa and easy chairs in the living space means the family can enjoy gathering there in the evening, but if someone wants to read, work or play while the others watch TV, they can.'

‘Think about how you use your space. Where do you want bright light to read, cosy light to relax, dimmable light to control the mood?’ Åsa

'We didn’t expect to see a difference… Just from changing our bulbs to LED! Åsa gave us a total bulb makeover, swapping the ones we have in our old lamps to LED and adding lots of lamps with built-in LED bulbs. When you live in a white house, the difference in the quality of light you get is startling! It’s very clear and makes everything look washed and clean. We especially love our little TISDAG lamp in our bedroom. It gives off a wonderful light in the room.'

‘We have changed all the bulbs in the house to LED. It’s been exciting living with this new technology, testing the quality of its light’

Make a change ‘I talked to Mareike about using lights like textiles – changing them each season to give home a fresh new feel. It’s an idea that really can bring new energy to your place without too much effort.’

'One idea I used before… I like to put a light in the window – I have one in the window by the dining table downstairs. It’s a very Scandinavian thing to do. It’s a simple idea that makes a room feel bigger and softens the darkness from outside.'

'One thing we learned… What suits your house’s style doesn’t always suit you! We’ve always thought about lamps being beautiful and a chance to show off our style. Our house is kind of soft and traditional so we thought we would try the IKEA PS ballet lamp in our bedroom. But we realised it’s too feminine for us! Clear, simple lamps, with more industrial shapes work for Matthis and me because they fit us both!'

'Have fun! Lights do an important job but don’t take them too seriously. They’re on show all day so why not use them to show off the personality of your home’

'Our favourite new idea… We love the lights Åsa added to our BILLY bookshelves, they’re wonderful. It’s a pleasure to sit by them in the evening with the lights on – they make everything I have collected on the shelves look beautiful.'
Lighting ideas at IKEA

Bright new ways to decorate with lights