Check out Matters of Style Marketplace on One Kings Lane

Check out my latest vintage finds on One Kings Lane!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rules of the Game...

Last week, we posted a "how to" of sorts, a guide for styling a console table.  The post got me thinking about an empty space behind a sofa in my downstairs den that would be perfect for a console table (yes, the downstairs den is complete with a giant leather sofa, a flatscreen tv, and industrial grade carpet...).  Not wanting to make a big investment, baby boy and I headed to Ikea, where I purchased a shiny red Malm console table.
This was my very first Ikea furniture purchase, and I can't complain!  The color, style, and price fit the bill nicely.

One thing leads to another, which leads to another. The console post led to my Ikea console purchase, which led me to start thinking about how to incorporate Ikea furniture into a home.  Sure, if you are a student or live in a small apartment, you could easily furnish your entire space with pieces from Ikea.  But many people hesitate a bit at the thought of buying Ikea furniture for their home.  Will it look cheap?  Is it too small?  Too modern?  Too young?

We think you can use something from Ikea in nearly any home.  For the naysayers out there, here are tips, in no particular order, for making Ikea work in your home.

Rule #1:  Warm it up! 
The weather isn't the only thing that's cool in Sweden...  The clean, modern lines of ikea pieces can sometimes seem a bit cold and uninviting.  Below, Sarah Richardson has paired a sleek, stainless steel Ikea Vika desk with warm red accents.  This desk could definitely look a bit harsh on its own.  But when paired with the warm colors of her cherry blossom fabric and red suede desk chair, the steel is fantastic.
Sarah Richardson

Below, David Netto has used plain white Ikea Lack tables in a welcoming, cozy family room.  Once again, on their own these tables could seem cold and boring, but with the warm tan sofa, layered rugs, and cream curtains, this space is perfectly warm and inviting.

Rule #2:  Paint it!
In perhaps the greatest Ikea Hack of all times, Lindsey made over the "Rast" chest of drawers by adding some paint, some stain, and some new brass hardware.  Can you believe this is the same dresser?!

The Edland bed below has been painted a cheery warm yellow!  Would you ever guess that it could be yours for just $279?  This is the perfect way to customize an inexpensive piece of furniture.  (Yes, I think we have put the Krylon kids through college by now...)

Rule #3:  There is power in pairs!
Whether it's lamps, benches, or nightstands, pairs sometimes look better than a single odd piece.  We aren't advocating everything in a room being matchy matchy, but pairs can do add a certain symmetry and level of sophistication to a space.  And that extra sophistication is just what you need when you are using inexpensive pieces from ikea.

You've probably seen the bedroom below a thousand times.  It is the perfectly matching pair of turquoise stools at the foot of the bed that allows it to blend so seamlessly with super fancy de Gournay wallpaper.

Or how about using this matching pair of Lack side tables, at a whopping $8 each, as a pair of ottomans?  The cushions on top make them the perfect place to rest your weary feet. 

Rule #4:  Keep it simple!
Don't buy your statement furniture at Ikea.  Rather, go for basic pieces with clean lines that will blend well with your room and allow your more unique furniture and accessories really stand out.  After you have made it through the Ikea maze and refueled with a cinnamon bun, you might be tempted to buy that bright stripey chair or floral slipcovered sofa.  Resist the temptation!  You will likely grow tired of statement pieces that scream "IKEA" and become center stage in your home.  In the breakfast room below, a white Docksta table blends perfectly into the background of fabulous navy flamestitch wallpaper.
Mary McDonald for Domino

A white Lack bookcase is the perfect backdrop for Michelle Adams's brightly colored books, objects, and art.  The bookcase doesn't compete with what is sitting upon it.
Michelle Adams, photographed by Patrick Cline

This Miles Redd children's bedroom uses an inexpensive white Ikea twin bed, against a backdrop of fabulous blue and white Marthe Armitage wallpaper on a Dash and Albert rug.  This is a perfect example of using a simple Ikea piece so that the room's focal point is the gorgeous wallpaper. 

Miles Redd in Elle Decor

In Tori Mellott's office, a simple white desk and chair create a sense of cohesion in a room full of colorful books and accessories.  You notice the pops of color instead of focusing on the simplicity of the desk.
Tori Mellott for Domino

Using simple white pieces can really allow you to go bold with your wallcolor.  Once again, it is the unique walls making the statement, not the Ikea tables.  Because Ikea items are so readily available and widespread, they are best used in situations where they blend into the room rather than making a big statement.  Let items that have special meaning or a more unique style make the statements in your space.

Rule #5:  Mix old with new! 
One of the best ways to seamlessly bring an Ikea piece into your home is to mix it with antiques in a room.  Here, the homeowner has used a slipcovered parsons chair from Ikea in his room full of Swedish antiques.  This is not just a matter of trying to disguise an inexpensive purchase.  Rather, it makes the space feel more young and fresh and keeps it from being too stuffy.

Washington Post

In Sarah Jessica Parker's home in the Hamptons, she has mixed Ikea curtains in her bedroom with a 1940's mirrored desk and a vintage armchair.  As with the space above, the Ikea item keeps the space young and fresh.
Elle Decor

What do you have from Ikea in your home?  Do you have any particular tips for incorporating Ikea into your home? 


980SCLAWAG said...

Nice - I love the red table! It adds a great pop of color to the room. I have a butcher block island from Ikea - can't really say it adds that something special to my kitchen, but it does the job :D :D

SouthernSclwg said...

IKEA can be a gold mine if you know what you're looking for and how to use select pieces! Great post, I think I'll head over there this weekend!

LindsB said...

I love your new ikea purchase, I think it was a good one and it looks perfect in your room!! Great rules too, I think I need a pair of those end tables to use somewhere in my house :)

Happy Friday!

Jenna said...

Love the red table. As you guys have already noted, Ikea also has really inexpensive accessories...I recently picked up some orange office accessories that really add some spice to my home office!

Kelly Green said...

Great post - love what you have done with your IKEA purchases! The pop of red really looks fab! KG

My Notting Hill said...

Terrific post! Agrea that Ikea hack of the bedside dresser is the best. I've also seen people customize a wall of the bookshelves with molding to make them look like built-ins. Your red console looks great.

Chic Coles said...

Love what you did with the console and those zebra benches...I LOVE mine but haven't found a place for them yet...

Barnwood Urbanist said...

This is such a great post! I love all the images you chose to illustrate your points, esp the Domino and Blueprint ones. I'm going to doctor some Ikea curtains I have with some ribbon for a hack of my own.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin