Sweden is known for sustainability and good design. And a quick peek in most Swedes' living rooms makes this abundantly clear. Clean lines, just the right blending of colour, and often filled with furniture and accessories produced in environmentally friendly ways.
And as anyone who's spent time in Sweden can tell you, the Swedes also have an uncanny ability to stay on top of (not to mention set) the latest trends. If more than a few months pass between visits, don't be surprised to find a Swede's home boasting a whole new look.
What's the secret? Read on to learn a few tips for how you too can reinvent your living room the sustainable, Swedish way.
1. Thou shalt not waste
One Swede's trash is another Sw…well, actually, we'll stop right there. After all, Swedes love recycling, so most trash is just one thing on the way to becoming something else – either energy or other products.
Having said that, though, the most sustainable approach is to simply not throw as much away. And when it comes to furniture…why throw out an entire sofa, when really it's just the cover that needs to go?
Coffee stains, cat claws, miscolouring, or just a not-thought-through pattern…These are all problems with a simple solution. So don't throw away perfectly good furniture, just get a new cover!
2. Do it your way
That's where Bemz comes in. Yes, you could go to Ikea to get a perfectly nice cover for your sofa, one which you will then see in all of your friends' homes as well.
Or you could rebel and do something – gasp -- original. You could be unique – and help the environment while you're at it.
Not only does Bemz offer personalised covers for Ikea furniture in over 250 different colours and prints, they're all made-to-order – meaning there's no excess. You can call the customer service team in Stockholm to help you figure out exactly what fit and design you need, and then the seamstresses in the Baltics will make your new sofa cover and ship it almost anywhere in the world.
And anyone lucky enough to live in or visit Stockholm can visit the Bemz boutique in person, where you can touch, see, and feel the products in one place. Or you can sit in the comfort of home, order a set of free samples first, and then shop online to your heart's content.
3. Go au naturel
Speaking of helping the environment, sustainability is a big deal to Bemz.
That's why almost every single fabric is made of 100 percent natural materials. So whether you opt for pure cotton, natural linen or a cotton/linen blend, you can sit on your new-looking sofa with a clear conscience.
4. Viva la velvet!
Customers demanded velvet and Bemz listened, so there is now a selection of limited-edition fabric available! And of course, Bemz wasn't about to compromise on durability, washability, and quality - which is why they only use Zaragoza Vintage Velvet by Designers Guild.
It's decadent. It's divine. It's deeply-coloured and deliciously lustrous. And, just like the rest of Bemz fabrics, it's manufactured in Europe so you know that it's produced according to EU environmental and labour standards.
5. Live it up in linen
We already mentioned the linen. But have you seen the linen? It's lovely! And just the thing for spring. Cover that old Ektorp sofa in Rosendal pure washed unbleached linen and no one will ever guess it's the same one you've had since your university days. Or why not leafy green, aubergine, or a summery nautical stripe pattern?
You won't find high-quality natural linen covers at Ikea…as a budget furnisher that's just not what they do. But if you feel like moving up the food chain, Bemz has got you (and your sofa) covered.
6. Let loose
When redecorating it's important to have an open mind – and most of all, to have fun! With Bemz the possibilities are endless.
You see, you don't have to just choose a new fabric for your faded old Klippan. You can give it a whole new look by letting its minimalist demeanour relax a notch with a completely different type of fit.
The Loose Fit Urban is elegant and modern, while the Loose Fit Country is perfect for vintage lovers who dig that Shabby Chic look (hello there Ektorp!).
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, sustainable as it can be…
Alright, so we changed a few words. But we're pretty sure Aretha Franklin would have loved this line.
Minimizing waste is a big deal at Bemz. Yeah, we already talked about the sustainable business model…but this takes it to a whole new level.
Respect is the Bemz line of sofa covers made of 100% recycled materials. Yeah, that's right. Whenever a cotton t-shirt or summer dress is made, scraps are left over. What happens to those scraps?
Well, they're gathered, sorted by colour, ground back down to cotton fibres, spun into yarn, and woven into a beautiful new textile. The entire process doesn't use a single drop of water or dye. Now that's dedication! And the end result is beautiful…and oh, so sustainably Swedish!
8. No limits!
So-far we've focused on sofas…get it?
But with Bemz the possibilities truly are endless. When you've given your old couch new life, you can tackle your armchairs...your kitchen chairs...your mattress, your cushions, your headboard, your partner's headboard. Bemz even makes beanbag covers and curtains.
If you live in a one-room studio apartment – as many Swedes do – you can have a cohesive theme throughout. If you live in a sprawling villa, you can have a heyday giving each room distinct flair.
So don't stop at making your living room sustainable. Go forth and transform your world!
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Bemz.