Good Questions: How to Improve My Ikea Furniture?

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Hello AT,

A two-part question with the same theme:
We don't have too much storage space in our 350 sq. ft apartment and using one of our closets in the hallway as a pantry wasn't working. So we got this cabinet from Target. On one hand, the white blends into the wall, but it also looks like a cabinet from elementary school! I was thinking of decorating it to look vintage and fun, with a molding-like border or covering both doors completely. What should I use: electrical tape, wallpaper, contact paper, decoupage, paint?...

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Feel free to post links to patterns, pictures, stores, I need inspiration! It has to go with the room, like the fabric blocks on the wall (those are going to be recovered, rearranged and rehung on the opposite wall where the couch is) and the blinds.

Second, we also have the Vika Curry/Vika Amon table from Ikea, but after only three months, it's beginning to get stained and messy (like knife marks, but for $30, what can you expect?) How can I preserve the table so we don't have to buy a new one very soon? I want to protect it and make it more durable, perhaps also decorate it, though the white doesn't bother me because it matches the white cabinets of the open kitchen. What can I do? (I could also add to the chairs, but I'm not sure if it'll look crazy!)

Thanks for the help! Alicia

Dear Alicia,

That is a tough one. Ikea's melamine surfaces are not the best to work over or do stuff on top of.

We would try moving the cabinet first to a less obvious place and then we would work with fabric to make a "cozy" or covering for it. A nice linen fabric would give it an extra luxurious texture and allow it to blend into the wall. And you wouldn't end up with a cabinet that you regret.

For the table, we'd A. be careful or B. consider laying a glass top on the table. That might look very nice and dress it up a bit. But, as we said, this is a tough question and we'd be interested to see what others have to say.

Anyone?

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.