Meet the creative homeware designer and founder of Kikki.K

Stationary and homeware designer Kristina Karlsson isn't into design snobbery, but the simple pleasures of home: tea, comfy chairs and lists

Unable to find stylish stationary and desk accessories for her home office, Kristina persuaded her partner Paul to remortgage their home so she could set up a business designing her own. Now 15 years later on, her brand Kikki.K has 80 stores worldwide and a successful website. She lives in Falkenberg, Sweden, with Paul and her two children.

women with white table and chairs with flower pot

(Image credit: TBC)

Where is home?

Home is more than a building. We made the decision to move back to Sweden because I want my kids to have a similar upbringing to me. I lived in Sweden until I was 22, when I fell in love with Paul, who's Australian. We met at a ski resort in Austria and I followed him to Melbourne. We now live in the small town where I grew up, just an hour from Gothenburg.

What is your home like? 

My home is completely white inside. It's like a gingerbread house on the outside, typically Swedish, with pale wood floors. We haven't had much time to do anything to it since we moved in because I've been travelling so much. Doing up a house isn't something you can rush. We plan to replace our kitchen with something sleek, white and modern, and want to extend into the back garden, too, but I need time to plan it all properly.

Will you be embracing colour in your home?

I do love colour. It's so motivating. It's important to recognise that in a workspace. An office decorated in a drab shade is bound to affect you in a very different way to one coloured in a bold, inspiriting hue.

white wall with photos and candle on white table

(Image credit: TBC)

Do you have any favourite pieces of furniture? 

My favourite item if my Arne Jacobsen Swan chair. Paul bought it for my birthday years ago and I adore it - it's so elegant. Chairs are perfect examples of form and function. I collect them and always look for something that not only works for your comfort and wellness. I love all classic Scandinavian designers. You can mix their furniture with more affordable things from Ikea and it'll make them look so much better.

Can you tell us about your favourite pieces from Kikki.k?

Everyday things give me pleasure. My favourite piece from my new range is a glass teapot - it makes the experience of tea-drinking all the more pleasurable. Candles are a big part of my life at home, too. It's one of the first things I do every day - I light a candle. On the rare occasions there haven't been any lit, it's completely thrown my kids - leaving them wondering what's up!

grey wall with wooden flooring and chairs with frame on wall

(Image credit: future PLC/Simon Brown)

What do you love most about your job?

I get to make simple things into a beautiful experience. That's why I love my job so much. Simple things like organising your home, sending a thank-you card or making lists to tackle. I've always been a list-maker. Doing it on your phone or computer just isn't the same. Studies prove that when you cross something off a physical list, it relives stress.

What have you learnt from working in the design industry?

To invest in classic pieces for a timeless look. I've collected some classic Scandinavian furniture over the years - it's expensive so I have to save up, but a few key pieces really do make the rest of your room look beautiful.

Interview by Ginevra Benedetti

Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.