Whether you're furnishing a dorm room or buying for a permanent residence, you can't go wrong with Ikea. It's affordable,
stylish, and tends to go with everything. (Plus, they have some surprising finds there.) But just as showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else kind of sucks, walking into the homes of friends and relatives only to see the exact Billy bookcase and Malm bed that are sitting in your own apartment can make you feel less-than-original.
It may sound like a first world problem (and, fine, it totally is), but apparently, we're far from the only
people have who struggled with it. A whole industry that specializes in customizing Ikea pieces has sprung up over the past few years, meaning you can easily cover your stand-alone closets or reupholster that hand-me-down couch.
Ikea obsessives, we wanted to find out the best ways to personalize our pieces — and who better to ask than the people doing just that every day? Read on for their tips.
Bemz specializes in slipcovers for Ikea sofas and chairs, as well as furniture legs meant to give pieces a sophisticated, bespoke look on the cheap. "We’re all about updating a room through simple means and prolonging the life of IKEA furniture. With a new cover and a set of legs you can completely transform the look of your sofa or armchair," says brand collaborations and social media manager Christina Nydahl. "When it comes to furniture legs, dare to play with proportions — low-slung or raised, the height will totally change the look and feel of the sofa."
Skrapan, Square Wooden Furniture Leg 18cm/7", $10, available at
As the name implies, Pretty Pegs specializes in stylish furniture legs, knobs, and front layers for Ikea furniture. The aesthetic is fun and trendy — in a way that seems bound to make a $500 couch look like its cost at least double. "My #1 tip is to add little details that creates a wholeness with the rest of the room. For example, if you have some brass details in your room, why not add a set of brass knobs to your storage furniture," says founder Jana Cagin. "And #2 is to use paint and paint it in the same color as the walls."
115, $69, available at
Pretty Pegs More
When it comes to Ikea customizations, Norse has it all: panels for cabinets, dressers, nightstands, and media consoles, as well as drawer pulls and furniture legs.
"You don’t need to replace all these parts to make it your own," explains CEO and founder Lotta Lundaas. "Change the knobs or legs for a quick budget customization. For an intermediate makeover, focus on the features that have the most surface area in the room, like the doors. Finally, don't be afraid to reimagine the furniture’s purpose. Most IKEA systems are super modular, and a low sideboard could easily serve as both storage and seating in a foyer — perfect for small spaces!" Norse
Brass Pull Ingrid, $9, available at
The aptly named O'verlays specializes in panels that can cover closet doors, dressers, and even table corners. "We believe it all comes down to your own unique style. By adding a fresh coat of paint, O'verlays, new hardware and/or legs, you can be sure you'll have a one-of-a-kind piece that doesn't look mass-produced or boring," says owner Cheryle Rhuda.
If you're thinking of investing in a stand-alone wardrobe for a closet-less apartment (and according to interior design experts,
you should be), an overlay is an easy way to make it feel like more of an accessory than an obligation. O'Verlays
Chip Interior Door O’verlays Kit for Flat Surface Doors, $139.99, available at
A favorite of interior design professionals, Reform specializes in kitchen customizations like drawers and covers for cabinets. "You should always aim to get your furniture to be an important part of your surroundings. This is done by choosing carefully the color and functionality you want," says Michael Andersen, who co-founded the company alongside Jeppe Christensen. "I would suggest choosing nice colors and design to really make your kitchen cool." Design options and pricing scales are available on Reform's website.
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