If You Can’t Wait to Travel, Then This Artsy IKEA Hack Is for You

published Apr 2, 2021
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An artist living in New York City, Clare Spooner displays an intriguing mix of the many things she loves in her 350-square-foot studio apartment. In fact, Spooner’s apartment is full of creative DIYs that add tons of personality to her home and saved her a lot of money in the long run. Budget was actually one of her biggest decorating challenges, so if you’re looking for some decor ideas that’ll stretch your dollars, consider Spooner your design inspiration.

“When I first moved in, I was on an absolute shoestring, so I bought vintage, thrifted, and shopped my parents’ attic,” Spooner says of her studio’s decor. That said, she gave most of those pre-loved pieces cheap and unique upgrades to make them truly one-of-a-kind. Arguably the coolest DIY in this studio and the one Spooner is most proud of though? A clever but cheap IKEA desk hack that’s perfect for a travel lover.

Like many of her favorite pieces, Spooner found this IKEA desk in her parents’ attic. Traveling throughout Europe with her family at a young age, while going between Saudi Arabia and the States before settling permanently in New York, only strengthened her love for travel. So she decided to decoupage the old desk with pages from a 1989 atlas, which she also found in her parents’ attic.

Decoupaging is a form of art similar to collage; you create an all-over pattern by gluing pieces of paper onto an object. All Spooner needed was an atlas and some Modge Podge glue to turn the plain desk into a colorful statement piece for her studio. “I used maps from places I’ve lived and traveled and made sure to include the ones that still note today’s Russia as the USSR (!),” Spooner said. You could also use pages from your favorite novel, comic, or magazine. Using travel-related imagery or ephemera just might satisfy your wanderlust though, especially if you haven’t been very far away from your home as of late.

Not only does this thoughtful touch make an old desk stylish and sustainable, but picking certain kinds of images can also make your decoupaged piece more meaningful and sentimental, too. You can’t put a price on that. “I’ve surrounded myself with everything I love, so it feels like the ultimate in luxury and comfort, despite — or perhaps because of — its petite-ness, Spooner says. “It’s my refuge from the wild and crazy (and exhilarating) antics of NYC.”