5 Money-Saving Styling Tricks to Steal from the New IKEA Catalog

updated Oct 26, 2020
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Living room with gallery wall
Credit: IKEA

You don’t have to watch hours of HGTV to learn some new smart, cost-cutting moves for your home. As it turns out, they’re right there among the well-priced pieces in IKEA’s new 2021 catalog. Along with all the sofas, tables, lamps, bins, and baskets are sneaky storage solutions, wallet-friendly styling ideas, and surprising ways to totally transform a space with only a minimal number of pieces (Hint: white pegboard is your best friend going forward). To save you time, I’ve done the page-flipping—and here are five of my favorite ideas for refreshing your space on the cheap.

Credit: IKEA

Shake up your seating

Mixing and matching dining chairs feels fresh and unexpected and—a bonus—it also gives you more flexibility to move the seats around the house as you need them. One might look better as extra seating in the living room, for example, and another outside on the patio. 

This design choice also works when you don’t have enough of the same chairs to fill out a table. Instead of springing for a full new set, just add one or two in a totally different color from what you have now. To keep the look cohesive, follow IKEA’s lead and choose chairs with a similar shape, material, and leg height, and stick to a tight, two-toned palette in the rest of the room.

Credit: IKEA

Top off a dresser

Just because you’re running out of room in your drawers doesn’t mean it’s time for a whole new dresser. Your fast fix: Set a trio of open bins on that empty surface on top to act as catch-alls. Why does it work? A grouping of uniform containers in a soft neutral, like the under $7 RAGGISAR felt baskets, looks streamlined and deliberate. 

Credit: Ikea

Give a closet the cubicle treatment

Still need a proper WFH setup? No need to furnish an entire room. Just turn a spare closet—or even part of a closet or reach-in wardrobe—into a dedicated office space. Choose a mini desk and pegboard in the same color and width as your closet for a built-in work surface and storage look, then add a small round stool that tucks in underneath. Once the workday is over, you can literally shut door on your office, and everything is out of sight. The best part? These three pieces cost less than $150 together!

Credit: Ikea

Build outside of your bathroom

Want more getting-ready space? You don’t need to invest in a bigger bathroom; just set up a “beauty station” in the untapped area right outside it. Nestle a set of modular cabinets in a hallway corner to hold styling tools, cosmetics, and toiletries. Hang a wide mirror above it, top it with some targeted task lighting, and voilà: it’s a super-sized vanity for beating bathroom morning traffic jams.

Credit: Ikea

“Shelve” your book storage plans

A big bookcase isn’t always a no-brainer, especially if you’d rather save the funds (and wall space!) for something else. Enter IKEA’s BILLY shelves paired with SIBBHULT brackets. Mounted one over another to form a column, they’re a cost-cutting and stylish alternative to the popular SAPIEN style shelving, turning your book collection into towering wall art for about $12 a perch.