Benita Larsson, and her aura of light and calm, came into our orbit when a locked-down world forced us to pivot our regular NTS episodes to a new format of programming.
As we came to terms with not being able to travel to all the beautiful small spaces we longed to share with you all, we set out to identify like-minded content collaborators who we knew our viewers would fall in love with. NTS Small Living was born and Benita was front and centre in Episode 1. What surprised and delighted us was how many of our followers were already Benita fans as well.
We recently spent some time with our favourite master of minimalism and Scandi style to talk corralling clutter, finding a style story and sustainable shopping.
NTS: How did you come to be interested in minimalism?
Benita: I’ve always been a minimalist at heart but for a long time, being married at the time, had to compromise with my then husband. He enjoyed having things around him and holding on to things more than I did. When we split up I was able to make all the decisions and I got a sense of calm with less clutter. These past 10 years I’ve de-cluttered more and more as I feel I need less and less.
NTS: What’s your favourite space in your home?
Benita: I’m very happy in my vintage 70s swivel armchair looking out over the 18th century building across the street from my apartment.
NTS: How do Stockholm and Södermalm influence your sense of style in your home?
Benita: I love my city but am quite new to the Södermalm neighbourhood. That only makes it more exciting to explore. Stockholm is very clean and tidy which I appreciate and Södermalm is very laid back which I also enjoy.
NTS: What else influences your sense of style?
Benita: I’m inspired by like minded creators on YouTube and on Instagram
NTS: You have such a confident sense of style. Where does this stem from?
Benita: Thank you! When I started wearing a ‘uniform’ or what others would call a capsule wardrobe it made it so easy to get dressed. Downsizing also helped in terms of home style. I just kept ‘best of’ from when I lived larger.
NTS: What advice do you have for people who struggle to define their style ‘story’ in their homes?
Benita: Stick to a few colours. No need to go monochrome at all but sticking to say three colours throughout your home will make it feel more calm and cohesive. Then spice things up with different textures. I’m also a big fan of the same flooring throughout. That makes everything flow and not feel chopped up.
NTS; How did your YouTube channel come to be?
Benita: I used to blog back in the day. I posted five times a week for over five years (2008-2013). When I stopped I was happy to have more time on my hands for a few years. I love creating and learning new things though and with video becoming more important in marketing (the field I work in) I figured I wanted to learn. What better way to learn than starting a channel?
NTS: How does sustainability play into your pursuit of minimalism?
Benita: Luckily the building I live in has great recycling facilities and spaces where us neighbours can share items with one another so almost nothing I minimise goes into the trash. As for purchasing new items, since I buy very few new things, I can afford to pay a bit more and get better quality and sustainable options.
NTS: What’s your favourite ever or most life changing organisation hack or tip for small spaces?
Benita: Corral your clutter! Gathering little things in a basket, bowl or on a tray makes them feel like one item instead of several. Instant visual clutter relief. Don’t forget to go through your vessels once in a while though.
NTS: Choosing to be ethical and environmentally friendly as a consumer often means more expense. Do you see the tide turning on this front?
Benita: It IS often more expensive to produce sustainably so it will cost more for you to purchase but if you get fewer things you can spend the money you have in a better way. As for the tide turning, I’m hopeful with the younger generation. I’m learning SO much from my son who is 26 and so much more aware and environmentally smarter than I ever was at his age and even now.
NTS: What advice can you offer people who are renovating or refurbishing? Where should they start?
Benita: I’m an avid DIYer and Google has been my friend and saviour many a time! And YouTube is a cornucopia of knowledge!
NTS: Are there innovative and sustainable brands that excite you? Who?
Benita: I like Organic Basics and Pakt!
NTS: Are there any spaces that have been featured on Never Too Small that excite or inspire you? If so, which ones and why?
Benita: I loved the London Barbican one. I could totally live happily ever after there! Bright and light space, smart storage and in a great location.
You can enjoy all of Benita’s videos on her YouTube channel or via her website, which includes her old blog archive. You can also follow Benita on Instagram (@benitalarsson) or visit her Amazon shop to steal her style.