This Luxe Feature Wall Is Made from IKEA Products, and It Has Major Boutique Hotel Vibes (But on a Budget)

published Dec 3, 2021
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Sticking to a budget when renovating your home can be hard. If you’ve redone a kitchen, bathroom, or closet, then you may already know that sourcing custom cabinetry can be where things takes a pricey turn. That’s where IKEA can come in to save the day, and that was the case for designer Gianna Marzella-Vazquez in her last home.

Marzella-Vazquez and her husband, David, spent five years living in their 1800-square-foot townhouse in Queens, New York. Over the years, they took on some big yet budget-friendly projects and ended up with some really luxe-looking results. “All products and finishes are attainable, but I like to think that how I detailed them makes them appear higher-end,” Marzella-Vazquez says. Her proudest DIY yet is a breathtaking IKEA hack in the main bedroom of their townhome — and wait for it, because it’s good.

The bedroom in question had a long, narrow layout that didn’t offer much floor space. Instead of filling the room with bulky furniture, Marzella-Vazquez looked for ways to give the room “a more serene, hotel-like vibe” by streamlining the space, both in terms of the furnishings and colors she selected as well as by incorporating the idea of hidden storage. Ultimately, when it came to the idea of storage, she decided bespoke-looking built-ins would make the room look more thoughtfully designed and less “thrown together.”

To that end, Marzella-Vazquez and her husband created a feature wall made up of two IKEA PAX wardrobes (one of which came from their old apartment), extra MDF, and some crown molding. The closets are used for hanging clothes and have four drawers inside each of them, which allowed the couple to forgo free-standing dressers that might clutter up the floor space in the room. Sandwiched between the two closet units are floating shelves that frame a wall-mounted TV, making the wall look clean and clutter-free. This little area also accommodates their hampers, which are just below the television. Right by the door, they added a deep, wall-mounted slab-style tabletop, which is styled out as a little home office area.

“This design was really a partnership with my husband,” Marzella-Vazquez says. “Somehow, he stumbled upon an IKEA hack on YouTube that inspired us to create this.” The couple took one of the IKEA shelves they already owned to the hardware store and had them color match the exact same white as the wardrobe unit for paint. Then, Marzella-Vazquez and her husband had all the individual components — shelves, crown molding and toe-kicks to dress up the wardrobe units — painted the same shade and finish of white to visually unify them and fake that custom built-in look. 

Another creative way she customized this unit was by installing black pulls on it, which were wrapped in leather for a textured, high-end look. “I think it creates a more beautiful tactile experience when opening the doors,” Marzella-Vazquez says. “I also like how the cognac color for the leather softened the black color in the space since I wanted to keep it light.”

The couple was so pleased by the way this IKEA closet-feature wall hybrid turned out that, in lieu of nightstands, they used the same concept to flank their bed with ceiling-high, thin PAX wardrobes. Marzella-Vazquez says her most brilliant, space-maximizing tip is to take cabinets all the way up your walls, and I couldn’t agree more. Truthfully, that might also be why these cabinets look so expensive; they seem to fit this space like a glove. When you’re working with set measurements from IKEA, the key is simply using trim and toe-kicks to fill whatever gaps may exist. Marzella-Vazquez’s kitchen cabinets also soar to the ceiling, and she loves it for the look — and the extra storage. “If you live in a small space, you will never regret the extra row of shelves it gives you,” she says. “It is also a much nicer look.”