Personal and playful in the Garden City

This split-level, three-bedroom maisonette blends wallpapers with a variety of floral and animal motifs. A home full of retro charm and a big dose of creativity. Step inside a family home in the Garden City!

Harmonious and crafty

Lisa Nilsson and Kjell Pettersson live with their kids Åke, 8, and Bertil, 3, on what feels like the most child-friendly street in town. The area is charmingly known as the “Garden City”, and it truly feels like a little oasis steeped in harmony and playfulness. Despite being newly built, the houses here all come in slightly different colours and designs.

In this family home the wallpapers aren’t only found on the walls – they are also dotted around in the form of stars and garlands on windows and shelves.

Lisa says that with new builds, buyers have a selection of different materials to choose from, but that the majority are fairly standardised. This meant that the house was completely white when they moved in. A far cry from how it looks today, just three years later.

“I really think people should go for wallpapers with new-builds, as it’s so easy. But it can be hard to choose materials when you only have a floor plan to go by.  We had probably always planned on having wallpapers, but wanted the place to be finished first. A few people said ‘Oh god, are you really about to start wallpapering when you’ve only just moved in?’ But that was what was so fantastic. All of the walls were clean and fresh and we didn’t have to do any preparatory work on them at all. It was very rewarding.”

“It felt so natural for us to have wallpapers”

Lisa has had wallpapers in her previous apartments, and every time her father, an expert wallpaper hanger, has been the one to help her. This meant that she has only just learnt to do it herself.

“When I was growing up, wallpapering was much more complicated. I remember my dad being at it with the long table, glue and everything. But with today’s wallpapers you just sling it on. You can do it without any previous experience, it isn’t particularly hard and it makes such a difference, I find.”

She goes on:

“It felt so natural for us to have wallpapers, they make a place feel so much more personal and cosy. I’ve been asked if we shouldn’t have fewer patterns on the walls to make it calmer, but I disagree. It’s still harmonious. I don’t think people should be afraid of mixing colours and patterns.”

When it came to choosing wallpapers for each room, it started with one of Lisa’s friends recommending the yellow Berså II for the kitchen.

“She said it would be lovely for our kitchen, and that was kind of where our wallpaper journey began,” says Lisa. She goes on:

“After that we wallpapered Åke’s room with the polar bears, called Polarn. So we had those two to work from when making the other choices. I feel that you can harmonise wallpapers by picking up some of the colours from the neighbouring rooms. That way the patterns can vary but still complement one another,” she explains.

In the kitchen we find the yellow Berså II 

Bertil’s room with the wallpaper Molntuss

Åke’s room with the wallpaper Polarn

As Åke proudly shows off his room, we learn that he is a real craft whiz. He has glitter glue, staples, beads and paper. He whips up stars, bookmarks and various drawings that can almost be classed as works of art. Meanwhile little brother Bertil proudly showcases his paper plane, folded from a leftover piece of the Thistle wallpaper. It soars through the living room.

Flora, the wallpaper favourite

The living room was the last room that Lisa and Kjell wallpapered.

“We sat on the sofa and thought: ‘we just can’t have it so white in here’. It was a feeling I had. We had painted the hall and were in the process of painting the living room. But there’s something about wallpaper. And Flora, the one we chose for the living room, has actually become something of a favourite.”

It isn’t so common to find wallpapers in bathrooms, but that’s exactly what we find here – a pleasant surprise.

“Once we had wallpapered the living room ourselves and it had been a breeze, we wanted to do more. We had a small white wall in the bathroom and some wallpaper left over from the bedroom, so it practically put itself up. I’m so pleased with it, it feels so nice,” says Lisa.

One of the family’s favourites is Flora

“Paper and wallpaper make the perfect crafting materials”

Lisa grew up with a creative mother, and believes that her artistic streak may come from her. Lisa has previously worked in graphic design and painted with oils and watercolours.

“I have also done lots of invitations to christenings and weddings for friends. The kids have always had access to paper, beads and crafting materials. It’s just something we’ve always done. Paper and wallpaper make the perfect crafting materials. I’m the sort of person who keeps the wrapping paper and strings from a birthday party – my friends are always laughing at me. But I need an outlet for my creativity,” she explains.

It probably runs in the blood, all of that crafting and creativity. While Åke gets on with his glitter glue, Lisa shows off her next project.

“I’ve started taping the landing. I initially planned to paint it, but now I’m thinking that I probably want wallpaper, something stripy or checked would be great here.”

In the bedroom, the wallpaper Thistle covers the walls

In brief

The home: A two-storey, three-bedroom maisonette in Hestra garden city near Borås.

Who lives here: Lisa Nilsson, 40, Kjell Pettersson, 42, Åke, 8, and Bertil, 3.

Work: Lisa is an eye nurse at Södra Älvsborg Hospital, and Kjell works in IT.

The best thing about wallpaper: That it makes a room so cosy, personal and homely, and is easy to hang.

Next project: The upstairs landing.

Text and styling: Jill Windahl

Photos: Lina Östling

The family’s wallpapers

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