This Is How a Swede Designs a Tiny Brooklyn Apartment
Whether it's a cozy home you crave, a minimalistic one, or a bohemian-style abode, the Scandinavians have nailed every one of them—who doesn't want to style their space like a Swede? To find out how, we went straight to the source. Introducing Livia Moore, Tictail's community manager and a Swedish expat, who kindly let us into her charismatic Brownstone in the coolest borough of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, New York.
Built in 1890, the apartment is brimming with unique architectural moldings and historic detailing characteristic to the hip Brooklyn location. "It has so much character," she told MyDomaine. "The entire building feels lived in, with memories and decades of family history." Moore feels right at home here after moving from Stockholm two years ago. "I love coming home to this apartment, as it is such a huge contrast to the style of apartments in Sweden," she said. "I love the history, the charm, and the grit of this building. To me, it really feels like I'm living in New York City." Ahead, Moore shares her style notes for each room, along with her top tips for brightening a small space.
To break up the midcentury sofa and classic sideboard, Moore injected loads of color to add warmth and personality. "I think this sums up my strategy for interior design," she said. "I scavenge for things and objects from all over the world that make me feel happy. It's that simple. And more than anything else, color and light make me feel happy."
One of the first things you notice about the space is Moore's love of collecting. As an avid traveler, the stylish Swede has picked up various mementos from around the world, and their addition really dials up the interior's personality. "It's such a powerful way of reminding you about a trip or a loved one or an unforgettable memory," she said. "A lot of my pieces are also from emerging brands, where I have personally talked to the designer and learned about the creative process in making the item."
The first things Moore bought for the apartment were some spotty pillows by designer Giannina Capitani. "I didn't even have a couch yet, but I fell in love with them," she said. "I just knew they would be a central focus in our living room."
Moore isn't a fan of what she called "over-the-top matchy pieces." She adds, "They are super boring to the eye. I love when there's an element of surprise in someone's home, an unexpected visual or even patterns that feel slightly off/mismatched at first glance. For the smaller objects (pillows, carpets, and my armchair), I tried to inject colors that all have something loud but also soft about them. And, of course, plants, plants, plants."
Moore's favorite room in the house is actually the bathroom. "I just love the light in there," she said. "And, of course, the old bathtub on paws—is it claw-foot in English? [Laughs.] Also, as you can tell from the space, I am a really crazy plant lady, but you can see here how plants can make even the most boring bathroom come to life."
During her decorating process, Moore noticed a blue theme start to develop in the bedroom, so she just went with it. "I think it's my subconscious," she said. "Blue is a very calming color, and that makes perfect sense for the place in my home where I rest and relax. I want my apartment to make me feel happy from the moment I wake up." We think this room would make anyone feel good.
Ready to add some of Moore's eclectic and colorful style to your home? Below Moore shares her top four tips for brightening up a small space, the Swedish way:
1. Plants, plants, plants: "Have them hanging from the walls, layered on the floor, and scatter them around on pedestals and in ceramic planters."
2. Add statement pieces for visual interest: "Wall hangings, pillows, and throws are all helpful in directing the eye where you want it to focus. Ensure you mismatch patterns for that shock factor."
3. Play with color and pattern: "A uniform room can often feel boring, so spice it up with a pop of color. Even go as far as theming an entire room with one color; then add accents that contradict this theme. Your home should feel happy and fun."
4. Bright light is key: "The natural light is why I love my bathroom so much. Add extra light to darker rooms to fool the eye."