Decorating on a Budget with IKEA

As you’re probably already tired of me telling you, we’re currently trying to redecorate our apartment, though it’s been quite the long term process. For one thing, we don’t know how long we’ll stay in this apartment, so it raises the question of how much time, effort, and money we should invest in redecorating. There’s other setbacks too – Ace Hardware, IKEA, and other home stores are closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays for Shabbat, meaning we have to rush to fit in trips after work on weekdays or brave the crowds Friday mornings. Lucky for us, we did have one available morning this past week and managed to fit in a long (like really long) trip to IKEA.

FullSizeRender copy.jpgIn my experience, home goods in Israel tend to be drastically overpriced 99% of the time. Some of this has to do with high import tariffs, and some of it is just retailers getting away with high prices because they can. One exception to the rule: IKEA, my big blue and yellow decorating savior. I’ve always considered IKEA a kind of “frienemy” of mine. You get all excited to take a trip there, and then about two hours in she turns on you – you make a wrong turn and get lost somewhere between the Grundtals and the Flärdfulls, there’s kids running everywhere, you get overwhelmed by the seemingly endless options for white picture frames, and suddenly everything smells like meatballs. Despite all of that, you really can’t beat IKEA’s prices, especially here, so off to IKEA we went.

IMG_3753IKEA Sondrum Frames

We went with three big goals in mind: coffee table decor, shoe and kitchen storage, and picture frames. Somehow we came out with all of that plus a bunch of candles, glasses, new spatulas, and an herb garden. It’s kind of like Target that way – you never realize how much stuff you didn’t know you needed until you get inside. Unfortunately we’re still waiting for them to restock our kitchen shelves, so I haven’t gotten to tackle that project yet, but I’m happy to announce that our living room is well on it’s way to being finished (we just need new blinds, new wall art, and a fresh coat of paint…you know, just minor things).

IMG_3750Our coffee table – IKEA tray, plant, lantern, and candle

While IKEA is a decorating lifesaver in Israel, it’s really a great decorating resource wherever you are. Pinterest is full of “IKEA hacks” to upgrade the store’s basic and affordable pieces to something that looks like it cost much more. I find that some of these so called hacks are far more trouble than they’re worth, while others seem to cost more than buying an expensive piece of furniture in the first place. To save you the hours I’ve spent combing through them all on Pinterest, I’ve compiled a list of my very favorite IKEA hacks and tips. Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to follow The Transatlantic Life on Pinterest here!

  1. Bar Cart Hacks

Bar carts are all the rage right now, but their price tags at stores like Restoration Hardware can drive you to drink. (I know that was the lamest joke ever. I’m very sorry.) Instead, try one of these simple hacks to make a bar cart you can afford to stock.

This hack from History in High Heels only requires a cheap Bygel utility cart and a can of gold spray paint.

This one from Style Me Pretty is a little more involved than the first, but the end result is super chic.

  1. Handle Hacks

Sometimes just a small change like adding handles to a chest of drawers can make a huge difference. I just bought a white Bissa shoe cabinet, and I think one of these hacks could really class it up.

This tutorial from Sugar & Cloth shows you how to upgrade a dresser with modern leather pull handles.

This one on Armelle Blog uses brass ring handles and a fresh coat of paint to turn a Rast dresser into a beautiful bedside table.

  1. Shelf Hacks

I’m lucky that all of our walls have shelves built in, but if you’re in need of more shelf space, these shelf hacks might be for you.

This hack on Oh My Dear uses wrapping paper and adhesive to add some interest to plain IKEA shelves.

This tutorial from The Accent Piece is pretty intense, but the outcome is incredible so I decided to include it. If you’re up for a challenge, you can use IKEA shelves to create these built in shelves.

The empty holes that let you rearrange shelves on IKEA furniture can make it look cheap. A House Full of Sunshine recommends using spackle to make shelves look more expensive.

  1. Coffee Table Hacks

Coffee tables are the center of your living room, but finding the balance between looking cheap and breaking the bank can be difficult.

This tutorial from City Farmhouse requires some power tools and patience, but it shows you how to make a simple IKEA table magazine worthy.

Hunted Interior shows you how to make the Vittsjo nesting coffee tables look like something far more expensive here.

  1. Decorative Hacks

Artwork is important, but graduating from hand me down art and dorm room posters to something a little fancier can be expensive. Luckily, this article from Good Housekeeping explains how to make your own triptych (aka the classy word for three paneled artwork) using IKEA frames.

Gallery walls are all the rage, and Glitter and Goat Cheese shows you the perfect layout to plan your own using affordable IKEA Ribba frames. Having trouble actually hanging them?  View Along the Way shows you how to use a paint stirrer to hang Ribba frames perfectly every time.

I love decorative pillows, but some of them can be ridiculously overpriced. Martha Stewart offers this tutorial on how to easily make fashionable striped rug pillows. While she doesn’t talk about IKEA explicitly, these Signe rugs would be perfect.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little IKEA roundup. I know we’ll be making a trip there again soon to pick up our shelves, and I’m sure we’ll come home with more than just that. I’ll be using some of these as my inspiration, and hopefully we’ll have this decorating thing done real soon. We’ve discussed painting this weekend, so that should be an adventure in and of itself. What are your favorite IKEA pieces? Any tips for budget friendly redecorating?

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