5 Furniture Hacks That Don’t Require a Single Tool, According to Designers

published Mar 27, 2024
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2 IKEA SÖDERHAMN chaise lounges pushed together to create one sizable, 10 foot long sofa along the living room wall

If you’re looking to supercharge your space but aren’t much of a DIYer in the traditional sense, then this one’s for you. I caught up with a handful of designers to get their creative ideas for transforming some of the existing furniture and decor pieces in a home — all without picking up a can of paint or renting power tools from The Home Depot (though you may need an Allen wrench if you’re going to try one of these tricks that involves a product from IKEA). These pros have pulled off these styling hacks in their client projects (and their own homes, in some cases). So I’d say that’s pretty good proof of concept. The best part? None of these ideas are ridiculously expensive either, but they can make your own home look more luxe. Now that’s a win-win in my book.

 “Recover” Your Sofa on the Cheap

There’s no need to spend big bucks reupholstering your sofa or investing in a fancy slipcover once you tire of its fabric. Instead, try this affordable hack from designer Jessica Davis, the founder of Atelier Davis. Simply place a throw blanket over the back of your sofa and tuck it into the back of the seat to create a two-toned look. This can be a great way to hide stains or discoloration that may have occurred over time too.

Incorporate Textiles Throughout the Home

From faux sheepskins to inexpensive fabric remnants, you can use textiles to update your space in many more ways than the above hack. “Tossing a fluffy sheepskin throw over the back of the sofa or a rickety chair can add plush softness to any space,” says designer Kara Piepmeyer, the founder of Studio Kosma. “It immediately elevates a mundane chair into something chic and comfy.” The designer also notes material scraps or inexpensive tapestries can also make for excellent pieces of wall art. “Tacking up a beautiful woven textile on the wall creates a huge statement and adds softness with minimal cost,” she says.

Double Up for a Spendy Sofa Look.

If you want a larger sofa and already have a chaise lounge on hand, consider combining that piece with a second chaise to create a statement mega-sofa for potentially less than $500. Designer Jackie Terrell pushed together two IKEA SÖDERHAMN chaise lounges to create one sizable, 10-foot-long sofa, which perfectly fills the living room wall shown here. Adding a series of the same bolster pillows along the wall provides a supportive back rest for anyone not sitting at the ends.

Fake a Built-In Effect

Why spend hours DYing built-in shelving when you can replicate a similar look in just a few minutes? “I’m fond of placing two credenzas or low-shelving units side by side along a lengthy wall,” Davis says, whose handiwork is shown here. “This arrangement gives a built-in appearance and offers ample space for displaying art, placing a lamp, and making a decorative statement, all while maximizing storage capacity,” she says. Terrell has done something similar with IKEA wardrobes, sideboards, and tables in her own projects.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Make Your Books Work Harder for You

Side tables don’t have to be made out of wood or metal — think about how you can “build” your own using everyday items from home. “A stack of books is a great idea to use instead of a piece of furniture next to a sofa or chair,” says designer Andi Morse, the founder of Morse Design. Piepmeyer agrees and says “a big stack of oversized coffee table books is the most versatile hack of all.” Don’t be afraid to experiment with your setup over time either. As Piepmeyer says, “Add or remove books to adjust the height and move it around the space as needed!”