Home tips: Ikea designer Maria Vinka

Expert home design tips: Ikea designer Maria Vinka

Ikea designer Maria Vinka lives in a four-bedroom house in Gothenburg, Sweden with her photographer husband Clive Tompsett and their three children.

How would you describe your home?

My style is a mishmash of everything. It’s little bits of Ikea, a lot of second hand furniture and paintings, quite a lot of patterns. I like colours; even though not all the walls are painted with strong colours, a couple of them have quite graphic wallpapers. For example in the kitchen we’ve used one roll of pink and one roll of white wallpaper to make a bright, block stripe.

What’s your favourite room?

Probably the living room. It has a big sofa - we have three kids so we need a big sofa for everyone to cuddle up on - there’s a TV, a big bookshelf and a low coffee table. I do spent a lot of time at home but I also have a studio where I work. I like to stay at home and I like to invite friends round. Our style is flexible; I like to collect a little bit of this and that.

What are your must-haves for the living room?

Cushions, because I find it’s very hard to sit straight up in a sofa for long! You need cushions to make your own cave. And blankets, that’s a must. I also like quite a lot of fabrics and textiles. I don’t like bad acoustics and textiles help with that. For example we have hard floors so rugs help with that.
My top tip is to buy a couple of metres of fabric and put it up on the wall. Instead of thinking, ‘What colour should I pick?’ choose something simple and plain like cream or white and pick a fabric you like with bold patterns. You can easily take it off when you move or when you’re fed up with it. It helps make a nice atmosphere. Mood lighting is important too. Don’t just have one lamp in the middle of the ceiling. Creating a lot of moods around the room makes a living room really cosy. My living room is cosy, it’s not a show home. I like to just relax there so for that reason lights are very important.

What is your key trend of the moment?

Lately I’ve been designing a lot of fabrics with a lot of patterns and also porcelain and glass. And there’s been a lot of natural fibres like rattan, which can be used for lots of things from baskets to lamps. I’m not into fads too much. Many people say that the minimalistic time is gone and we like clutter again. We’re showing more of our personality again. Rustic things should be old and worn and not be painted. And industrial and raw wood are in. It’s being more real, showing your personality; whether you’re a goth or a minimalist, I think your home should reflect that. And now there is so much choice; the opportunity is there to decorate your house in so many ways.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I like the bed linen I did for Ikea’s PS range. They’re a natural colour linen with different coloured dots on. I liked that because it has the mix of natural and bright colours. And I like dots! It’s perhaps not the most extravagant pattern I’ve done but I liked it.  I’m also quite proud of the Gullholmen, which is a rocking chair which is still in the range even though I did the drawing for it 12 years ago now. It’s a signature chair. Chairs have always been so big. People who are fond of interior design have always been fond of chairs. 

Who or what are the ‘ones to watch’ in the design world?

It’s tricky to say. I don’t make good stuff all the time! Designers have peaks and lows. But one designer who is constantly challenging is Patricia Urquiola and I also like Jaime Hayon, he makes fun stuff. 

Garden Deer wallpaper £107, pictured, From The Wilde

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