Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

November 29, 2011

I find it so inspirational when I see people take products and furniture and use their imaginations to personalize somewhat mundane things into something special. That’s the beauty of IKEA. Their price point is affordable and nothing feels precious which gives you freedom to explore your ideas – perhaps a lamp base would look better decoupaged in a favorite paper or a cabinet would be far better with new hardware and wallpaper hung on the inside.

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Stack wooden storage boxes and drawers and paint them inside to create a bookcase – this is a look I’m seeing more and more and I love it!)

That’s what I love about buying things at vintage stores, flea markets, yard sales and shops that are priced reasonably – like IKEA – you have the freedom to go a little crazy and exercise your creativity. You have the right!

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Paint a thick stripe down the center of a table as a “runner” to customize and add visual interest.)

I thought I’d share some of my favorite IKEA inspirations today from their beautiful blog, Livet Hemma. I recognize all of the pieces shown but love seeing the fresh updates each have been given by the creative team behind the Livet Hemma blog. It’s so inspirational and fun! It also shows that IKEA pieces can be quite special and do not have to be left ‘as is’, but can become something special to you and your family.

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Some vintage pieces add character to a space so consider using them to avoid your room from looking like it all came from a single catalog.)

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: A low cabinet works nicely for displaying favorite things and for storing boxes and books underneath. In a mostly white space, use different tones of white to avoid a clinical look and by all means, go with lots of different textures to warm up white – wool, knit, ceramic, glossy, matte, cotton, linen, etc.)

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Add a little green to all white space, plants give texture, color and are good for purifying the air in your home.)

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Paint furniture in chalky matte colors to make them look vintage.)

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Paint cabinet doors in different colors that you love.)

Decorating Tip: Learn To See Things Differently

(Tip: Try layering mirrors and frames, leaning them against the wall.)

Another decorating tip: When you look at anything for your home, it’s great to use your imagination and to not always see what you’re looking at but to imagine how it could be. Look at the shape of a piece, think of alternate uses, imagine how it would look painted in a fresh color, visualize a dresser for instance without the drawers and used as a bookcase instead… There are so many things our imagination can dream up if you only give yourself the permission to do it and so I say, have fun, follow with your heart and happy decorating!

(images: ikea livet hemma)


  • Reply Rebecca November 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I adore the ikea blog there is always an amazing amount of new ideas, how do they think them all up?! I’m thinking about making over my ikea desk, its all white but has birch drawers…might repaint them a funky colour or cover in paper/fabric…thinking cap on!x

  • Reply Igor November 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    These are beautiful ideas that showcase that decoration and interior design is not reserved for people with big wallets. It is a very personal and creative process that works with most things we find out there, be it in nature, on attics, in stores. Ikea is a great source for simple, reasonable and well-designed pieces – and I strongly disagree with people saying it all looks the same when you have Ikea stuff at home. If you put a little bit of thought and creativity it will look different, cause it will look like YOU. Then you succeeded! Love your post, Holly! Cheers, Igor xoxo

  • Reply Heather November 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love the chalky matte paint and the low cabinets. One of the things I love about your blog is the fact that virtually every post is full of new ways of looking at things! It’s really inspiring.

    I prefer the inexpensive furniture for the same reasons. We just refinished our hand-me-down kitchen table, I painted the legs and the apron violet-blue. I never would have done that on something expensive. Honestly, I love it more than any expensive table out there!

    Thank you for posting!

  • Reply Nicole November 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    That’s why I love flea markets, cellars and attics! With a pott colour, a little imagination and a little time effort you can make up wonderful unique pieces. Particularly in today’s time we should be aware of the environment, rather than just buying new. Great post, Holly!

  • Reply Amanda November 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    This is such wonderful inspiration for those of us who can only afford ikea and I totally agree, with a bit of sprucing up and your own personal touch ikea furniture can totally make your room.

  • Reply samantha November 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I love Ikea products for this very reason, you don’t feel guilty for doing a little customizing, and making them more personal to your own tastes. Plus you get to fill a trolley up without the guilt of the over spend. :)

  • Reply Esther November 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Totally agree, I love customizing and upcycling Ikea furniture.

    Rebecca I would most definitely cover those drawers, it’s so easy with some reasonably heavy paper, gift wrap even and so quick!

  • Reply sarah*ahearn November 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    love this post my friend! it’s right up my alley! hoping things are settling down for you…
    xxxs & ooos *s

  • Reply Olivia November 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Oh, I did not know that Ikea had a blog… And so nice moreover! Thanks for telling about it, I think it will become a favourite ;)

  • Reply Gandhali November 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    LOVED the tips!! :-)

  • Reply Sara November 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Love it all! These are my favorite types of Holly posts :).

  • Reply Kirsty Elizabeth November 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Such an inspirational post :) i think its great when people customize pieces to reflect their personality. Keep being drawn to the colours in the last photograph….think its the neutral tones with the pop of plum shoes lol ;)

  • Reply Liz Villacorta November 29, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    LOVE this Holly!! I totally agree with you! When I buy things for my home that I find at a flea market or IKEA I’m never worried to take things into my hands and make it my own! Perfectly imperfect is the result of most of my home DIY’s and I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

  • Reply Maria November 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I agree, IKEA is amazing. I just wish it wasn´t so d€#% hard to buy things there! I go crazy in that big house and nowadays I walk out with less things than i planned to instead of more, which was more common when I was younger. You just want to get out!

  • Reply Ashley McFarland November 30, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I love the frames/mirror effect – so casual chic! Something I’ve never thought of before :)

  • Reply maureen November 30, 2011 at 2:43 am

    great tips & ideas! I didn’t see it that way at first…yes, with such affordable prices, one can go DIY crazy & if it fails, well u can buy another one .

  • Reply Erica November 30, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Thanks for the tips! I love the photos, I’m not that good with decorations but I am doing everything to learn!

  • Reply Alexis November 30, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Funny enough, my husband absolutely adores Ikea. The only one I’ve ever been to was in Germany and I wasn’t living in my own home (I was an au pair), so it was difficult to really let loose and see things as actually being part of my small living space at the time.

  • Reply Hannah @ Sparrow + Spark! November 30, 2011 at 8:10 am

    LOVE the layered mirror look. My husband is not a fan of Ikea- but I love it for the points you mention- it’s affordable, which means everyone can be creative.

  • Reply FloVoCasa November 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I love this post with all those sweet tips and totally agree with you. Only one furniture in my home is a ‘standard’ one and all others are ‘pimped’ by me to express my personality and style. I don’t like homes in which you couldn’t get a feeling for the people living there.

  • Reply Saskia November 30, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Oh, this is my topic. Nothing is more boring as a room looking like it all came from a single catalog, this is the same for luxury apartments as well as affordable IKEA styled interiors, isn’t it? I’m an official IKEA fan but to be honest I always try to combine and modify their products so that they do not look like IKEA anymore ;)

  • Reply Valentina November 30, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Very nice and cute ideas! I love the box storage! Thanks Holly, you are great!

  • Reply Louise November 30, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Hi there Holly!

    Love todays inspiration, and yes you are right the price point is important as it make good quality aesthetically appealling furniture available to everyone, kinda like what Ford did for the car industry! :) which you can then personalise should you wish.

    On the note of Ikea came across this short video of ‘Life inside the Ikea Catalogue’, you might find find funny :)


    Have a nice day

  • Reply Rowena November 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    These are really great ideas! I love the texture of every design on this page especially adding green plants in a purely white space! Very relaxing indeed! My friend would love this blog and I’ll surely send it her way.

  • Reply Ito Kish November 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Great tips to make it easy for homemakers!

  • Reply Kim November 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I love this post, so inspiring. It makes be feel ok about choosing something from ikea rather than feeling like its something temporary or a “make-do” item. You really don’t need to spend alot to have a unique piece of furniture in your home! Thanks so much x

  • Reply Pingos do Céu November 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Love the words in your post today! So inspiring!
    My house has nothing that is not customized by one of us: a canvas painted by one of us, pillows created by us, a hand-painted vase, a tray decorated with a decorative paper to our liking. Even our sofa was made ??by us!

    Thank you for reminding us how important this is!

  • Reply Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea November 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I really love your tips today. Incorporating vintage (or vintage look) pieces with Ikea pieces really give a comfy and cozy feel to a room. I’m bookmarking this article for future reference.


  • Reply Ann December 1, 2011 at 12:48 am

    IKEA products are perfect for interiors arranged in contemporary design style. It really leaves a lot of free space for a creative owner to add his own touch.

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