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How do you create a home to thrive in? Elin Lervik and Katarina Matsson are both prominent profiles in interior design and the duo behind Sweden’s most popular interior podcast. They recently released the book The Loving Home – How to Make a Home the Scandinavian Way in which they identify seven building blocks for a personal and vibrant home. Here they share their best tips on how you can create a cosy and inviting atmosphere.

Tell us a bit about how you started podcasting and writing about interior design together?

Kattis woke up one morning two years ago to a DM from Elin: "Hey! How are you doing? It would be fun to get that coffee. What if we were to do a project together! For example, a podcast?". We didn't know each other at the time, other than having met in our jobs as journalists and PR managers, but we both instinctively felt that Elin's idea was phenomenal! Then we just had to go for it, our first meeting developed into our first podcast recording. And then when we got the opportunity to make a book, our first episode evolved into a book. You know what they say – if it's right, it's easy. The Loving Home – How to Make a Home the Scandinavian Way was published by Bonnier Fakta last autumn.

What are the key factors for a cosy home?

We have identified seven building blocks that we think are needed to create a cosy home. Preferably together, but also individually. Ingredients, you could say, that make you feel comfortable, safe and want to stay in a place: plants, lighting, art, books, textiles, vintage items and pets (but we promise you can have a cosy home even if you're allergic!).

What to do if you want to create a more homely atmosphere at home but don't really know where to start?

Dig where you stand! Our own homes are always changing, a bit like the dollhouse when we were kids. In addition to the building blocks, we have a few tricks we use when things go wrong (because yes, we like a little bit of a mess, but in the right way...). Some keywords we often return to are: Less but worse, more of the same, group more and think three. We have also introduced something we call "altars", which are not (necessarily) related to religion, but are a still life that changes with the seasons and mood. Find a shelf, table, windowsill or similar where you can create without being too practical. That way, we always have something beautiful to rest our eyes on when the rest of the home is in chaos!

How do you approach trends, with the sustainable perspective in mind?

Since interior design is a creative game - a kind of anti-depressant - for us, we often redecorate and "shop" in our own stashes. We don't mind trends, it's fascinating how inspiration and expression come and go over time, but we incorporate them into our respective styles. Even if we both suddenly have a craving for the same thing, we interpret it differently.

You are strong advocates of buying second-hand – do you have any second-hand tips to share?

Yes, we love the second-hand market! Both for the hunt, because things have traces of life, and as a shortcut to personal style. But because we are good at bargaining, we have learnt to hold back, even if it's difficult. Have a list of what you're looking for, and when you come across one of those unpredictable finds, have a mood board ready on your phone so you can make sure it fits your vision. (Otherwise, text a friend, it's almost as satisfying to shop for others.)

And there are a few lessons we can share: Kattis will never again buy a sofa or a piano without trying them out first, and Elin pays extra attention to measurements when buying furniture at an online auction after accidentally buying a doll-sized table.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A lot from Instagram, actually. But also magazines, books, films, friends, travel, museums... Elin's recent trip to England was a true inspiration, which also spilled over to Kattis through social media.

Photo: Fanny Rådvik

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