Design Sponge


ikea finds

by Grace Bonney


ahh…sufficiently rested from the ikea nightmare (although destined to go back because they were sold out of some pieces), i return. a got a whole heap of emails asking what we got there, so i thought i’d share. (i’m going to share our whole apt update, too, when i find the guts to start posting pics)

like most of you out there, we live on a relatively modest budget, so we were looking to get some functional, basic pieces to add storage where none exists (storage is an issue in our new apt). our goals for the trip were: additional kitchen surface space, rugs, window treatments or fabric, sideboard, dining table and chairs and any lighting that looked fun but simple. we also decided we’d give couches and new dressers a chance but that didn’t really happen. in the end we got some great pieces for under $500, which was right on target.

our apt is a railroad, so i’ll go right to left: for the kitchen (which is lacking storage space in a major way) we got the forhoja, which will be painted a glossy black (and finished with poly) to match the cream/black/white “luxe” theme in the kitchen (a very lovely color palette suggested by the lovely ms. stacy pancake when i couldn’t find a color that worked with our god-awful speckled grey counters). not the most glamorous piece, but it fit the budget and provides us with much needed work space and storage space (i’m adding some hooks and a bar to hang dishtowels). for the next room down, the dining room, we were looking for a sideboard and dining table/chairs and bench. we ended up getting the ingo sideboard and going the diy route. the piece couldn’t be more basic (and unfinished) but we decided we’d rather save $200 and finish it ourselves then buy the more expensive fancy finished version. i’ll be staining it a dark black/brown with a glossy finish (and new knobs of course) to match the table and chairs we’re ordering (new, not online yet, and sold out at the store, see pic for idea of the look). hopefully this will work with the walls that i plan to change from brown to a robin’s egg blue/green. if ac doesn’t kill me for repainting the 8th time.

after that we plan on ordering one or two rislev rugs (a tragically comfortable knotted wool rug that feels oh so good to walk on) for around our bed. they were sold out so this is another “order later” item. most of our bedroom furniture is pretty minimalist and sleek, so this sort of chunk rug will be a nice (and soft for the feet) contrast. after this we grabbed a whole chunk of accessories like new hangers (so they’d all match- my request), dishrack (i miss our dishwasher terribly), bathmat, speaker stands and i think some other things that i’m blanking on. the whole day is sort of a blur so that’s all i can remember for now. but we’re planning on getting a new dresser and some more things soon, so i’ll post on that as well.

i think the key to ikea shopping is to buy simple, basic pieces that can be changed or finished at home so they don’t have that super “ikea” look. we certainly have a lot of ikea in our home, but i don’t think our home looks to ikea at all because we’ve mixed them in with more traditional pieces and great finds like artwork, mirrors and chandeliers. i’ll be sure to post pictures when it’s all done. until then, i’ll try to get the vision of the ikea winter sale out of my head…

Suggested For You


  • I hear you on lack of storage space. My tiny, 1 bedroom (smaller than most ppl’s studios) boasts only one small closet. As a result, I have to get creative on my storage – and have been looking for a cheap kitchen solution. Yours looks great. IKEA can be a maddening experience though.

  • WOW! i’m looking forward to this whole process! i like the sideboard idea (good design) and to paint (save $200). fun post and project! good luck!

  • It would be great if you could post photos and info of your sideboard project. I’ve been on the hunt for a sideboard/buffet and have found a few that I love, but were out of my price range. Or on the high end of my price range, but just not good quality for the money.

  • Love IKEA for solving all those problems! Solved one today: finally convinced the parents to give up the Bertoia Diamond chair a few months ago, but couldn’t afford a new cover from Knoll. SO, bought a $20 sheepskin from IKEA and Voila! Looks great and feels cozy on the heinie! Also, those of you looking for sideboards, check ebay. Got a beautiful teak one for a really fair price not long ago. Check frequently! It took me a few months of looking.

  • I have a friend who used to work at Ikea, and he says that they always joked that Ikea is Swedish for “Out of Stock”… As much as I LOVE Ikea, they NEVER have what I want in stock, and shopping there truly is a nightmare.

  • I also picked up the wooden hangers there – they look great and are a must for heavier jackets and coats. Almost got the NORREBO bookcase (should look nice against a brick wall), but held off because the shopping list may grow.Time to draw out a floorplan and see if a wardrobe can be added. Those tall sleek aluminum doors are intoxicating to someone with one wee closet! They have a free service to help you configure a room so that might be an option for this storage-challenged studio!

  • I forgot to ask, is it better to assemble a piece of furniture and then paint it? Or paint the pieces before assembling it? The bookcase I want is laquered so it’ll require some sanding first. That ought to be fun in my little studio (ugh!)

    DS, really enjoying reading about your new apartment adventures. It’s so neat to how you’re putting the place together. Hope you guys have many happy times there :)

  • Hi
    I was looking around blogland for some info to add to my sitehttp://tummy-tucks.wise-owl-ebooks.com when I came accross your blog, very nice effort. I know what I like and I like it.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.