At Home with
Karina Lilleeng Holmen

Karina’s approach to interior design is not just about making spaces look good—it’s about creating environments that reflect the people who live in them.

In the bustling city of Oslo, in a central yet calm quarter called Jessenløkka, a well-known figure in the Norwegian design community lives. The resident, Karina Lilleeng Holmen, inhabits a soulful and unique apartment with lots of character and beautiful light in a Nordic Neobaroque-styled building from 1922. We recently had the chance to visit her home and dig into her thoughts on design, inspirations, career and tips for up-and-coming designers. In addition to creating stunning interior projects, she co-owns and runs the local shop and agency Eske, an interior institution now celebrating its 20th year.

Karina’s journey into the world of design is as interesting as her projects. From a young age, she was drawn to creative fields, imagining herself in roles from businesswoman to architect. After studying International Business and running a soup restaurant in Amsterdam, she came back to Oslo and eventually found her passion in interior design. “I met my future business partner at a party, and we started planning the shop. Two years later, Eske was born,” Karina explains.

When Karina starts a new design project, she first tries to really understand who her clients are and what they need from their space. She gathers inspiration from her travels, movies, and even by visiting friends’ homes around the world.

Right now, Karina is obsessed with colour drenched rooms in deep shades of red and lavender and loves what she calls “layered interiors”—spaces that feel rich and evolved over time. She’s also into a style she names “Minimaluxe,” which mixes simple designs with a few luxurious touches to make spaces really stand out.

Karina believes that a smart layout and a good colour scheme are key to any great design. “Proper lighting is also crucial,” she says. “You need lights at different levels to create the right mood.”

Her own home is a mix of old and new and shows off her love for colour and clever details. “Blue is my favourite colour and it’s always in my home,” she explains. Her apartment is designed for hanging out and having fun, with areas for everything from cooking with friends to relaxing and listening to music.

Karina also has a soft spot for certain pieces, especially lamps and carpets. “Lamps can be practical and magical at the same time,” she says, emphasizing how much she enjoys finding the perfect lighting for a space.

After serving us a spicy and delicious Moroccan influenced soup for lunch, we asked her for some advice for those looking to break into interior design. She replied straight forward:

“Be curious and open to trying new things. Always be willing to help colleagues or others in the business and be open to do projects for free to gain experience and connections. Listen to and observe your clients closely and learn from both previous mistakes and successes. Work hard but have fun and enjoy the process while you hustle.”

Karina Lilleeng Holmen’s approach to interior design is not just about making spaces look good—it’s about creating environments that reflect the people who live in them. Her work shows her commitment to design that’s both beautiful and practical, making her a true leader in her field.