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ANY STYLE AS LONG AS IT’S YOURS

Matlan Thihlum is a student, mother, wife and interior design enthusiast living in a Danish city that’s close to our heart. Read about how Matlan (@matlanthihlum) mixes new designs with upcycled one-offs to style her cozy period apartment.

Woman

Tell us about your gorgeous home

We live in a cozy 80m2 apartment with three bedrooms. It is in an old building that was renovated in 2018. When we first saw the apartment, I immediately fell in love. We were caught by how bright it was in every room and how the sloping walls and period features made it so cozy. I loved the way the rooms were decorated. The only thing I’m not so thrilled about is the small bathroom, but we can live with that.

You live in the same city where BoConcept was founded and is still based to this day. Tell us about your background and current life in Herning.

I am originally from Myanmar in Southeast Asia but moved to Denmark with my family in 2006. I’m married and have a beautiful son who is one and a half years old. My little family and I have lived in Herning since 2018.

Describe your style.

I would probably describe our home as Scandinavian. For me, décor is all about creating the right mood. Our home should be a bright and comfortable place, and I try to create a look that balances coziness and exclusivity. I stick to a palette of calm colors combined with natural materials, which gives our home a warm, bright and calm expression. In addition, I love collecting ceramics and vases, which I think fit well into my decor and provide fine details.

I love designer furniture, but since both my husband and I are students, investing wisely is very important. So, sitting beside our new furniture are many pieces that we have upcycled. I love giving new life to old gems, like the sofa table that we made from offcuts of wood and the white pouf for which I sewed a new cover. Projects like these are both sustainable and good for your wallet. We are also really happy with our homemade wall paneling, which provides just the right amount of added detail to the space.

What does "home" mean to you?

It’s interesting—just two years ago my answer would have been very different. Back then, I was traveling a lot and saw home purely as shelter, a place to rest when not out spending time with friends, partying, working or exercising at the gym. I had finally moved into my newly renovated apartment when about two months later the pandemic hit. Now home encapsulates everything I do. I cook here, and I don't really go to restaurants as often. It’s my office. I also prefer to entertain here instead of partying. So, home is like a playground for life [laughs]. I have tried to create fluid areas for different activities, like my favorite corner for coffee, a daybed for reading books, and a corner desk as my home office.

Describe your style.

I love mid-century style. It just evokes good feelings for me. I think I should have been living back then [laughs]. It was heaven for architects and designers. I’ve tried to go for a blend of both mid-century and contemporary. I love the clean, minimal and monochromatic look, but I also like the cozy expression that comes from mid-century style.

Yes, we’ve watched you refurbishing furniture on Instagram. How did you discover your talent?

I grew up with my aunt, who was a seamstress with her own sewing room. I sometimes helped her and slowly learned the craft. Those early days evolved into the dream of being self-employed in the fashion industry. I eventually trained to become a Garment Technician, and I am now completing my second education in Pattern Design. My new hobby is definitely interior design. So, my DIY upholstery projects are a wonderful marriage of my two passions.

Where do you find inspiration?

There are so many inspiring interior profiles on Instagram, where I find a lot of inspiration. But I often use Pinterest as well, especially for my DIY projects.

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How do you approach refreshing a room?

I start by moving objects and furniture around, which is often enough to create renewal and a new atmosphere in the home. When we believe the space is calling for a new designer piece, we often sell our old upcycled projects. For example, we have sold several old chairs that we have reupholstered. It all helps us invest in delicious new pieces.

Your home is built around a warm tone-in-tone palette. Any tips for pulling off the look without creating a bland space?

I think adding subtle accents with colorful accessories can help, for example posters, pillows and rugs. Also, painting a wall in a darker tone that’s still in your tone-in-tone palette will act as a nice contrast to light furniture. And if it doesn’t work, you can always try another color. My best advice is to use your imagination and have fun. As my friend says, “you will always get smarter.”

 

Family playing cards at dining table

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