An organised space stokes the creative juices

Jenny grew tired of having to dig out packed-away crafting materials every time she felt creative. She decided a dedicated hobby room was the answer, and now her dream of a well-organised crafting space in the cellar has come true thanks to a system of wall-mounted storage units from Elfa.

By Charlotta Flinkenberg  Photos Malin Sandström

This is where we live

Jenny Ekstrand, 41, family therapist. Her husband Andreas, 48, works in real estate. Their daughter Vera, 10, and son Frank, 7. The family lives in a house with 127 sq.m. of living space + 82 sq.m. of additional space in Kungsbacka on the Swedish west coast. You can follow Jenny at: @arkiv_kreativ on Instagram and Arkiv Kreativ on Facebook

Contrast between work and leisure time

Jenny works as a family therapist, where the focus is on conducting difficult conversations with families that are experiencing a crisis or social problems. At home, her favourite hobby is crafting. “I enjoy my work, but it’s nice to have a hobby that contrasts with it and allows me to be creative and do things with my hands.” Jenny has an arts and crafts page @arkiv_kreativ on Instagram and has enjoyed sewing, cutting, painting, gluing, drawing, building and decorating since she was little. “I have always been creative and try to pass my enthusiasm on to our children by encouraging them to explore crafting in various ways.”

How did you use to store all your crafting materials?

“It’s just over a year since we moved into this house. We used to have a flat in Gothenburg and I would keep all my crafting stuff in boxes spread around the flat in the bedroom and other places, wherever there was room to squeeze them in. I would use the dining table for crafting activities, which really wasn’t ideal,” Jenny says.

“We often had to interrupt the creative process to clear the table for dinner.”

What were your wishes for this hobby room when you started designing it?

“I wanted a proper overview of all my materials so that I wouldn’t have to waste time looking for them. And I also wanted drawers and shelves for the children’s own crafting items that they could easily reach. I envisioned beautiful blue-green walls that would create a feeling of calm behind the white storage units. It’s a colour that I created when decorating our bedroom. I was really pleased with the colour and there was some paint left over that I could use in the cellar.”

Jenny began by planning the layout of the storage in the 10 sq.m. hobby room using Elfa’s visualisation tool.

“It was important for me to place as much storage as possible on one wall and maximise the storage by taking it all the way up to the ceiling. Elfa’s planning experts provided valuable input, such as gliding mesh drawers. They also suggested using the door for storage, which was a brilliant idea that hadn’t occurred to me.”

“An organised space stokes the creative juices”

Jenny says it is important that the space for her craft and hobby items is organised and structured to allow time to actually get on with crafting and being creative. “The key to doing lots of creative activities is to have everything you need at your fingertips. You get creative ideas just by seeing the material! Our children sometimes say “I don’t know what to do” and all I need to do is get some crafting goodies out and they’re soon busy with their fingers. An organised space stokes the creative juices and allows you to get started much quicker.”

See the click-in system


Crafting materials used to be stowed away in boxes and drawers all over the place


The gliding mesh drawers make it easier for Jenny to find the fabrics she’s looking for.

Small items are kept in transparent boxes on the storage boards making it very easy to see where they are.

Jenny decided to have multiple dividers in the mesh drawers. Perfect for organising the drawers into neat compartments instead of everything getting jumbled together.

The reversible shelves are useful for storing paints and other art supplies.

Dedicated space for arts and crafts in the home

Are you pleased with the results? “Absolutely! I’m especially happy now that the children have their own drawers of crafting materials that they can use as they like. It is so smart that you can adjust the height of the shelves and gliding mesh drawers in the Elfa system, and can rearrange the storage configuration later on.” Jenny’s husband Andreas is also pleased that she now has a structured and organised space for all her crafting essentials. “He works in real estate and isn’t the least bit creative or into crafts – quite the opposite! But he is happy not to be stumbling over jars of beads or having to clear a space on the table when it’s dinner time for the family.”

Jenny’s professional tips for hobby crafters!

  • Not everyone has a whole room that they can spare for their hobby. We were really fortunate that we could. But you can do a lot with just a wall too. For example, you can create a hobby station in a bedroom and use all the wall space up to the ceiling for storage. If the space looks messy, you can hide it behind Elfa’s stylish sliding doors.
  • Take a good look at the materials you have so you know what storage you need.
  • Go for transparent storage, like mesh boxes and clear plastic drawers so you can see everything. You need to have your materials “on display” so you don’t forget that you have them.
  • Try to make space somewhere for storing projects that are in progress, but not yet completed.
  • Sort your crafting items according to what they are used for. Things you use together should be kept together. Paints and brushes shouldn’t be stored far apart.