This Open DC Apartment Has an Incredibly Cool IKEA Hack

published May 31, 2024

This Open DC Apartment Has an Incredibly Cool IKEA Hack

published May 31, 2024
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Journalist Christina Ruffini says she “got really lucky with landlords and neighbors,” when it came to this 900ish-square-foot apartment she’s rented for five years. “I got the apartment right before the pandemic and it was more than my budget, but I thought meh, I’ll stay here for a year and then move somewhere cheaper. NOPE. Never been so lucky to have a balcony ever,” she admits.

The apartment came with a gorgeous balcony, but not a lot of actual walls. It’s the home’s very open floor plan that Christina says has made it a little “tough to figure out how to live, and work, and workout in all one space.”

Credit: Christina Ruffini

“When I first moved in, all the furniture kind of faced the same way. But then the pandemic hit and I was here all the time and realized I needed zones,” Christina begins. “I pulled the sofa away from the windows and floated it facing the fireplace (better for TV and now I spend more time watching the birds in the tree outside). I traded in my square table for a round one and created a little breakfast nook with some paint and temporary molding.”

Christina also did some light updates like painting the kitchen cabinets (which she describes as being a “hideous red” before) and finally taking all her art out of storage and creating a large gallery wall in the entryway, to name a couple of projects.

Credit: Christina Ruffini

But her best update might just be a brilliant room divider hack. “That wall that divides the dining room and the office did not exist,” she begins. “It was just an open space with an awkward column. If I owned the place, I would have had a steel and glass one installed, but I don’t. So I faked it. It’s an IKEA PAX wardrobe door, plexiglass from IKEA frames, electrical tape, and wood scraps from the hardware store. I love it … just don’t look too close. It’s VERY DIY.”

Shop This Home

Credit: Christina Ruffini


  • Bed — West Elm
  • Rug — (on sale!)
  • End tables — Amazon
  • Chair — From a church down the street that was being demolished. It was crazy heavy or I would have saved more than one, but I could barely get it home.
  • Candlesticks — Crate and Barrel magical clearance section where I buy all my accessories
  • Bedding — Ettitudes sheets and Crate and Barrel blanket
  • Mirror — From a friend
  • Lights — IKEA
  • Art — Made
  • Bookcase — IKEA (first piece of furniture I bought for myself when I moved to DC)
  • Bedside table accessories — Books and Johnathan Adler pill box
Credit: Christina Ruffini


  • Table — From her brother
  • Art — Goodwill
  • Wall — Made by me
  • Chair — Amazon
  • Bench — Target

Thanks, Christina!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.