Sustainable space

Tips on building a better balance with nature

Advice from Country Sustainability Manager at IKEA Retail Denmark, Monica Keaney. From upcycling old furniture to re-wilding our outdoor spaces, Monica talks us through how we can start small to make big changes.

Community and Culture

Monica stresses that although it’s a matter of huge importance, it is crucial for people not to feel completely overwhelmed by the climate crisis. So instead, she advises to kick the cycle the other way. Small actions will give you a boost of satisfaction and can propel you to take bigger actions.


Better off with less

“The backbone to a lot of our sustainability and circularity projects is trying to dismantle this notion that the more things we have, the better off we are,” Monica explains. When we declutter (as many of us did during lockdown), we see how much waste is created by buying what we don’t need. “We’ve reached a tipping point – we must make our belongings last longer, give them new purpose, refurbish and repair them, and pass them on in a responsible way.”

Start small

To avoid accumulating unnecessary possessions, Monica recommends small DIY projects to experiment with creative upcycling. “There’s no need to bite off more than you can chew,” she laughs. “Rethink your home step by step and start with one project that feels achievable and manageable.”

Keep the love alive

“Our views towards public and private space have shifted,” says Monica. You might have walked alone in a park to clear your head, met family outside, or even gone on an al fresco date. In lockdown, nature has been key in keeping our relationships alive, and its role in our everyday life has changed. “The pandemic has made us realise we’re all united in so many things, with our need to spend time in nature one of the most important.

A tiny piece of green

Not everyone lives near a park or a forest. But the IKEA Life at Home Report 2021 showed us that having a tiny bit of nature in the home became crucial, with 53% of people in the UK saying access to a private garden or balcony has grown in importance. “Reconnecting with nature doesn’t have to be complicated,” Monica assures us. “Use balconies or windowsills to grow flowers and herbs, which will ease the mind and contribute to mental wellbeing.”

Go wild

To encourage people to engage with nature, IKEA in Denmark in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, invited them to rewild as much space as they could, and become a part of a bigger biodiversity platform. “I have a miniscule backyard in Copenhagen,” Monica says. “And I decided to rewild two square metres.” Her two are now part of 3 million square metres Monica’s fellow Danes have contributed.

Did you know?

1 in 4 people globally say accessing green space is important for helping them maintain their mental wellbeing at home

28% of people say spaciousness has grown most in importance over the last 12 months

Source: Life at Home Report 2021


Interviewed by Joseph Hutchinson, Written by Deimante Bulbenkaite

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