Design Dilemma: How to Make IKEA Not Look Like IKEA
Make no mistake —we love IKEA. The Swedish home goods store has revolutionized furniture shopping. Now it’s possible to find good modern design for reasonable prices. Before the advent of Ikea, sleek kitchens, closet systems and modern lighting fixtures could only be found in upscale European specialty stores. And needless to say, what these stores offered cost a small fortune. Today,Â thanks in part toÂ Ikea and its inventive store displays,Â the average American consumer has become much more sophisticated about design and has turned away from the clunky, generic low-end furniture of yesteryear.
But here’s the problem:Â Everyone likes Ikea so much, that everyoneÂ now has an Ikea chair, an Ikea lamp, an Ikea desk, an Ikea kitchen island. Go visitÂ a friend’s house, and you findÂ your very own Kramfors sofa or Klippan couch in their living room. And there’s your Poang arm chair and Billy bookcase, too.
So how can you indulge in IKEA but still give your home a feeling of distinction and personality all it’s own?
1.) Do IKEA but not ALL IKEA. Mix and match your Ikea favorites with both high and low-end furniture pieces from other sources. For example, Ikea dining room chairs don’t immediately scream Ikea when they’re paired with an old antique farmhouse table.
2.) Check out IKEAhacker and steal ideas. Ikea designs are great, but a lot of Ikea finds can be modified to a completely new use or look. For example, one inventive IKEAhacker used an Ikea bookshelf, Ikea laminate flooring and Ikea tablelegs to create a distinctive modern radiator cover.
3) Use IKEA standards in a new way. Got a Billy bookcase or an Expedit bookcase? Why not use them as room dividers instead of just wall units? Or perhaps you can take old favorites like the Poang chair and recover the seat in a non-IKEA fabric of your choosing. Change legs, arms, surfaces and don’t be afraid to personalize, personalize, personalize.
4.) Know the look you’re going for. Sometimes, a home can look like an Ikea catalogÂ because homeowners haven’t really stopped to considerÂ the overall look they want.Â Â So put aside the catalog for a moment and consider your overall design goal.Â An old farmhouse look? A sleek Italian loft? A country cottage? Check out design magazines with examples of interiors that you like, and bring those pictures along when you shop. You’ll quickly learn to shop in a way thatÂ informs your vision without parroting an Ikea catalog.
5.) Feel free to use Ikea basics butÂ choose more carefully when it comes to accessories. You’ll almost never go wrong by buying good-value basics like Ikea bookshelves, kitchens and closet systems. Where you need to choose more carefully is with accessories that lend your home personality. Be careful about choosingÂ trendy lampshades, fabrics, rugs, pillowsÂ and textiles that can easily be pinpointedÂ as Ikea. Avoid buying wall art at Ikea.
6.) Don’t apologize. Okay, so maybe your home has veered a little too much toward Ikea. Don’t feelÂ bad about your indulgence. When you’re shopping on a budget there are few other places to go with as much style. Over time, you can bring more individuality into your home by adding original art, interesting textiles or ethnic pieces from other sources. So enjoy your Ikea home and know that one day, you’ll be able to mix it up aÂ bit when you’ve got more bucks to spend.