These 12 Homes Reveal the Secret to Styling Budget IKEA Pieces

published Aug 3, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Pink bedroom in colorful Brooklyn apartment
Credit: Erin Derby

If you’re anything like the Apartment Therapy team, when you hear the name IKEA, you automatically feel like you’re at home. The brand is known for its reliability, affordability, and hackability (we’ve seen countless clever updates to staple IKEA products throughout the years). 

But the Swedish home brand may feel like home because of its familiarity. Even if you’ve never shopped at a physical store (yay, meatballs!) or online, the bold blue and yellow logo is easily recognizable — and so are some of their fan-favorite furniture pieces. 

So, in honor of IKEA’s 80th birthday, we pulled together a list (which was no easy feat!) of some of our favorite IKEA moments in our house tours. The best part of the examples below? The stylish renters and homeowners were able to use their talented styling abilities to elevate the humble IKEA pieces in their home and make them actually look a lot more unique and expensive than they actually are. And all without having to lift a paint brush!

Credit: Lula Poggi

1. A Barcelona Home Mostly Filled with IKEA Products Gives Off Gorgeous Minimal Vibes

There are so many stunning IKEA products in Victoria Bruno’s minimal Barcelona rental apartment that it’s hard to pick a favorite. But even though the home is filled with smart, affordable IKEA furniture pieces, it doesn’t feel like a store catalog. Thanks to choosing IKEA pieces made from natural materials and keeping to a nature-inspired neutral color palette, the entire space feels organic and elegant. 

Explore how Bruno beautifully furnished her Barcelona home by visiting the full house tour.  

2. A BESTÅ Storage Combination Stands Out in a Renovated Bungalow

When Travis Wayne and his husband, Nick, were decorating their eclectic, minimal Long Beach bungalow, they combined new and old objects. “The decor is a mix of found vintage/objects from our travels, and flea markets, and new pieces,” Wayne wrote at the time of their house tour. One of the newer objects is IKEA’s BESTÅ storage combination, which, when combined with the other fantastic finds in the space, doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest. 

To see more of their bright California home, visit the full house tour. 

3. IKEA’s ÄPPLARÖ WALL PANEL Is the Star of This California Apartment’s Balcony

Not only does Melissa Padilla and her partner’s balcony in their sunny San Diego rental look like the perfect place to perch with a morning cup of coffee, but their IKEA ÄPPLARÖ wall panel also makes for the ultimate vertical garden. Stained with a rich color that complements the accent wall’s hue, the blend of earthy tones and cute accessories makes the entire tiny balcony a lovely space to be. 

Learn more about their happy California home in the full house tour.

4. The PÅDRAG Vase Stuns in This Pink, Chic ’70s ‘Barbie Dreamhouse’

Carissa Henderson’s Texas home is full of maximalism, bold colors, and fun. And even though their 2,000-square-foot space is busy (in the best way possible!), more subdued objects like the IKEA PÅDRAG vase still have a chance to shine. When mixed in with more expensive and custom items in their office space, the affordable accessory seems way more high-end. 

Step inside this maximalist dream by visiting the full house tour. 

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

5. The IKEA DEJSA Table Lamp Is the Perfect Addition to This Organic, Modern Rental

Photographer Lauren Kolyn describes her Montreal rental as mid-century modern, organic, and minimal. So, it’s no surprise that she chose IKEA’s DEJSA table lamp to complement her space. It looks like the most stylish little mid-century-inspired mushroom, particularly when paired with a stunning vintage wood credenza/dresser. 

Learn more about this 650-square-foot rental apartment in the full house tour.

Credit: Tina Barisky

6. An IKEA VINDUM Rug Creates the Most Cozy Living Room in This Minimal Apartment

Nothing cozies up a space more than a good rug — and that’s precisely the case in Tina Barisky’s 400-square-foot Vancouver apartment. And Barisky’s choice? IKEA’s VINDUM white rug that’s super thick, making it soft and the perfect solution to quieting loud noises. Its plush qualities combined with other sleek furnishings creates a much more high-end-looking space. 

Check out more of this small Canadian home in the full house tour. 

Credit: Megan McKean

7. A Blue Bed and Headboard Pair Beautifully with a Pale Blue Wall 

If you’re looking for a master class on how to elevate an affordable IKEA bed and headboard, look no further than this colorful Malmö apartment, where Megan McKean filled her home with perfect pastels. It’s a palette she employs in her pale blue bedroom to create a blue-on-blue, nearly monochromatic (but not quite), minimal composition with IKEA’s TUFJORD upholstered storage bed and the paint color “Himmelsblå 742” from the Swedish paint brand Beckers Paints.

See more gorgeous color combinations in this one-bedroom apartment in Malmö, Sweden. 

Credit: Erin Derby

8. The Emerald Green Sofa in This Maximalist Living Room Is Just One of the Bold Decor Choices

How do you make an affordable IKEA couch look like a much more expensive one? Partner that sofa with a dizzying array of one-of-a-kind DIY projects that will ensure that your living room looks like no one else’s. Expert DIYer/designer Charlotte beautifully blends her IKEA sofa (a model no longer for sale, but you can certainly find similar IKEA sofas) with a striking black and white striped coffee table to immediately set the expectations for a unique room. 

See more ideas in this colorful Connecticut home. 

9. Affordable Bedside Lamps Get Elevated Next to Stunning Vintage Furniture

IKEA’s FADO table lamps currently retail just under $32, but they’ll look like you spent a lot more money on them if you pair them with super-sleek vintage nightstands, like the couple behind Highboy LA did in their Los Angeles rental apartment. The nightstands are vintage ’80s Lane lacquer nightstands and the FADO lamp is the only thing atop them, creating a truly retro, minimal look.

Check out more vintage combos in Highboy LA’s Los Angeles home.

Credit: Erin Derby

10. A Wall of Pink Velvet Curtains Creates the Ultimate Lush Bedroom Retreat

When prop stylist Caity Birmingham needed to hide a door on the only wall she wanted to place her bed against, she installed ultra-sumptuous velvet curtains to both hide the unwanted eyesore and also add a cozy vibe to the teeny room. The wall of curtains is so statement-making (and looks so good), you wouldn’t suspect they are an affordable curtain option from IKEA. 

See more of Caity’s affordable styling ideas in her Brooklyn rental apartment.

11. You’d Never Know the Countertops in This Kitchen Are from IKEA

Sometimes the key to making affordable IKEA products look more high-end is to deftly mix them with more expensive and custom options, like Antoinette did in her Hoboken condo’s kitchen. She invested in (stunning) custom walnut cabinets from NVR custom cabinetry, splurged on a SMEG fridge, and topped the whole composition off with a truly affordable KARLBY walnut veneer slab as the countertop. It all blends together beautifully and you’d never guess she mixed high and low. 

See more of designer Antoinette’s style in this Hoboken condo tour.

Credit: Erin Derby

12. This Jute Rug Grounds a Beautiful, Elegant Living Room

Jute rugs are a gorgeous addition to any space that you’re trying to add a natural texture to, but they can really run up your budget if you don’t choose wisely. Thankfully, IKEA offers a lovely jute rug option that won’t break the bank, and that’s just what Meher Goel uses in her East Village rental apartment’s living room. Mixing the IKEA find with slightly more expensive furniture pieces, like an ottoman and sofa from West Elm, helps the entire room seem elegant and expensive. 

Check out all of this East Village rental apartment’s style