Pink, grey and white may not conjure up the Christmas décor that you expect but in the Stråth’s family home, the traditional red, green and gold are nowhere to be found. Instead, Christmas is a dreamy pastel affair.  While the winter weather is usually grey and wet in Jönköping, a city on the shores of Lake Vättern in southern Sweden, the subtle glimmer of candles shining in the windows of most of the homes is the only suggestion that Christmas is just around the corner.

Fortunately, this dark and damp feeling is immediately swept away upon entering the townhouse where Sarah and Andreas live with their three daughters. The smell of burning candles and the glow of fairy lights creates a cosy atmosphere. Gentle colours permeate the home and it feels warm and welcoming. Despite the absence of the traditional colours, the holiday atmosphere is evident in every corner of their home.

‘I get my dose of red at my parents’ house,’ says Sarah. ‘My mum loves Christmas decorations, so it’s very cosy there over the holidays. Perhaps my interest in interior design came from her,’ she continues. ‘I changed the style of my room quite often when I was a teenager. I’ve grown up with red for Christmas, but I prefer white, grey and pink for this season.’ This, combined with twigs, flowers and candles creates the muted, soft atmosphere in Sarah’s home.

A homemade gingerbread house adds a seasonal pop of colour to the abode over the holidays which focuses on soft pastels down to the last detail.

Sarah and Andreas originally rented an apartment, but wanted to buy something of their own. In 2013, when their daughter Lovisa was only six weeks old, they found the townhouse they wanted. Initially, it featured brown linoleum floors, yellowed pine panelling, a variety of colours on the walls and a carpeted staircase.

Stars and hearts feature as ornaments in the children’s rooms, as well as the open-plan living and dining room.

‘It wasn’t our dream home, but the layout was good and we knew that we could make it work without any large renovations. The floors were in good condition except for the linoleum, as was the kitchen. The cabinets were white and the tiles above the sink were orange, but after we painted the tiles white and covered the countertops with marble-patterned decorative plastic, the kitchen got a makeover with a few simple boosts,’ Sarah remembers.

All the walls were painted white initially, but after a few years Sarah thought the space felt too rigid, so they added various shades of grey instead.

A heart-shaped advent calendar with brown paper wrapped packages is a sweet variation on the typical December countdown and is a tradition passed on from Sarah’s childhood.

‘Painting the walls is a very quick and effective way to change a room. We also removed the carpet that covered the stairs and painted the stairs white, which made a huge difference. I like having a bit of a feminine touch, and because we have three daughters, there are extra touches of pink all over our home,’ Sarah smiles.

Left and right: Shelving in the open living room/dining area features a curated collection of items that keep to the colour scheme of the home. Adding to the home’s light palette, Sarah removed the carpet on the stairs and painted the steps white, making the space much brighter.

‘When we started decorating the children’s rooms, I was so pleased with them, I wanted to show the rooms to more than just our relatives and friends. I found a lot of inspiration on Instagram when I was planning my decorating and thought it would be fun to inspire others. From the outset, I wanted a curated look for the feed and made sure to always have a uniform style for the photos I was posting,’ she says.

In the children's rooms fairy lights and bunting draped around the bed and play areas add another layer of warmth and whimsy.

Sarah’s Instagram account quickly became very popular. She now has more than 100,000 followers who cannot get enough of the dreamy pictures of her family home. She loves posting images from their home, and the photos often involve simple things such as flower arrangements and candle displays with added finesse.

The house itself is not especially big, but it feels bright and open due to the large living room with two generous windows. The kitchen is also bright and spacious, and upstairs there are three bedrooms, a bathroom and a small hallway.

A soft feminine palette of pink, grey and white with wicker accents are paired with wood flooring and fluffy rugs to add texture and pattern to the space.

Sarah loves the Christmas season and likes to start preparing early so that the family can enjoy a lengthy holiday. In mid-November she is already baking saffron buns and starts to decorate little by little. ‘I don’t plan how to decorate in advance, instead I prefer to follow my instincts. This year, I found several candles at Gekås in Ullared, so there are a lot more candles at home,’ she laughs.

The master bedroom has a more mature grey focus, from the bedding to the paint shade on the wall, accented with a chunky pink knitted throw.

The children have an advent calendar, where they can open a small package every day until Christmas Eve. It is a tradition that Sarah has carried over from her own childhood. Baking gingerbread houses is something the family tries to do together to create their own traditions, adding a bit of festive colour to the holiday décor.

Profile

The owner Sarah Stråth lives with her husband Andreas and their three young daughters. She was so inspired when she redecorated their home that she started an Instagram account that currently has 116k followers.

The home This three-bedroom townhouse in Jönköping, Sweden features simple furnishings and a pastel palette of pink, grey and white.

Get the look

Clockwise from top left: STRÅLA LED snowflake table decoration, Ikea, Dh49; Bolero white pendant lamp, Marina Home, Dh1,195; Chunky knitted blanket by Jumboknit, Etsy, Dh595; Pastel ottoman, Zara Home, Dh299; Morgane pink faux fur cushion cover, Maisons du Monde, Dh80; Tip Ton Chair, Vitra, Dh1,123.

Read more from InsideOut

Discover the Hamptons-style chic of this Emirati-owned home in Abu Dhabi