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Customizing Ikea

I have conflicting opinions about Ikea. A conflict which is fueled by my beloved decorating instructor’s blatant hatred for it and my decorating guru’s (Sarah Richardson) frequent use of it. But one thing I know is that Ikea furniture is everywhere, therefore customizing is necessary for a unique look. The quality may not be the highest but the furniture has good lines and lends itself to customization.

On that note, here are my top ten favorite ideas for customizing Ikea furniture (in no particular order).

1. Application of Overlays from myoverlays.com

(Since everyone and their mother has these expedit bookcases here are a couple examples of how overlays transformed these pieces:

expeditpanel

expeditoverlayFor more great examples of how overlays are used to customize Ikea furniture check out their blog.

2. Paint, new nobs, and other bling:

malmhack

The detail added to these drawers give them a vintage vibe.

The detail added to these drawers gives them a vintage vibe.

Sarah Richardson often spray paints Ikea cabinetry to give her kitchens a custom look:

ikeapaintkitch

3. Stenciling:

stencilikea

For a great how to on how to stencil curtains check out the tutorial on twentysomething

For a great how-to on stencilling curtains check out the tutorial on twentysomething

4. Custom Slip Covers from Bemz (or homemade if you’re handy!)

Karlstad armchair with kirsikka printed cotton cover from Bems.

Karlstad armchair with kirsikka printed cotton cover from Bemz.

What’s not to love about that! Except maybe the cost of shipping it from Latvia…(been there, done that, at least the quality is excellent).

5. Dying White Slip Covers:

It could use an iron but great colour!

It could use an iron but great choice of colour for this ektorp sofa.

6. Adding trim to curtain panels:

It looks like this seamstress added some light weight microsuede to the bottom of these heny rand curtains.

It looks like this seamstress added some light weight microsuede to the bottom of these heny rand curtains.

ikeacurtainwithfringe

This topic will ring a bell if you follow my blog. Check out “Customizing Store Bought Curtains” for more ideas.

7. Creative use of Fabric:

These bins were customized by applying fabric to their fronts.

These bins were customized by applying fabric to their fronts.

Adding fabric o the back of an expedit bookcase

Love the fabric backing on these shelves. I’m considering it for the expedit in my daughter’s room. This would work well with wallpaper too.

I customized this liatorp bookcase in my powder room with new knobs and some fabric to hide the cleaning supplies and linens I hide there (and I know, the blah walls really need to be painted).

I customized this liatorp bookcase in my powder room with new knobs and some fabric to hide the cleaning supplies and linens I store there (and I know, the blah walls really need to be painted).

8. Hack and Stack:

Beer anyone? Oh, expedit, so little money and so many uses. See this link for the how to.

Beer anyone? Oh, expedit, so little money and so many uses. See ikeahackers.net for the instructions as well as many more ikea hacks.

Love this room and their use of the expedit bookshelves.

Love this room and their use of the expedit bookshelves.

Two expedit bookshelves plus one fabulous bench cushion equals and envy worthy playroom (I want that wall paper!)

Two expedit bookshelves plus one fabulous bench cushion equals an envy-worthy playroom.

9. Add some wallpaper:

I know what I'm doing with my kid's table now. I also saw the top of this table painted with chalk paint.

I know what I’m doing with my kid’s table now. I also saw the top of this table painted with chalk paint.

Stunning. Extra wallpaper is also a great idea for lining drawers.

Stunning. Extra wallpaper is also a great idea for lining drawers.

10. Simply Accessorize:

Avoid going Ikea on top of Ikea and get creative with your accessories. Look at the pizazz added to the hemnes daybed below with some cheery pillows and bed linens:

I just bought this bed for my daughter. I've changed out the drawer knobs and the duvet and pillows are in the makes.

I just bought this bed for my daughter. I’ve changed out the drawer knobs and the duvet and pillows are in the makes.

True confessions…net surfing for this post has kinda made me fall in love with Ikea (a creative approach to Ikea that is). I guess the moral of this blog post is that if you can’t afford the fancy stuff, fake it with Ikea!

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Colour Schemes 101: I can sing a rainbow

I have been teaching my daughter colour theory since she was under a year old, using colourful toys as props. Example, “Sofia, these blocks are red, yellow, and blue. Those are primary colors. When you add them together you get secondary colours like orange”. When I confused her enough with that I moved on to “Sofia, look at these balls, they are orange and blue. That’s a complementary colour combination”. When I recently started struggling with saying, “well..that’s not really red Sofia, its more of a red-orange…” my husband thought it was time to simplify things. Right. Keep it to “I can sing a rainbow”. For now.

However, if you are old enough to be reading this then you are old enough to let me indulge in talking about color schemes without causing too much confusion or stunting your learning curve.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some beautifully decorated spaces exemplifying some common colour schemes.

Monochromatic Color Schemes: using any tint (white added to colour), tone (grey added to colour), or shade (black added to colour) of one colour.

Ah, Sarah Richardson, I love her bold style of decorating

Ah, Sarah Richardson, I love her bold style of decorating

Talk about sunny side up

Talk about sunny side up

Analogous Colour Schemes: using two to five colours consecutive on the colour wheel

analagous yellow-green, green, blue-green

analagous yellow-green, green, blue-green

Another beauty by Sarah Richardson. Analogous orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow green color scheme

Another beauty by Sarah Richardson. Analogous red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green color scheme

Complementary: using two colours opposite one another on the colour wheel

I love orange and blue contrasting colour schemes. Or in this case, red-orange and blue-green

I love orange and blue contrasting colour schemes. Or in this case, red-orange and blue-green

Gorgeous lofty red-green contrasting scheme

Gorgeous red and green contrasting scheme. It doesn’t have to look like Christmas.

Split Complementary: Using two colors on either side of the colour’s complementary colour

Loosley a split-complementary red orange, red-violet, and green (though the couch is really more of a yellow-green)

Loosely a split-complementary red-orange, red-violet, and green (though the couch is really more of a yellow-green to be honest. Designers take liberties with these things)

Yellow, red violet, and blue violet (they snuck in a bit of blue-green two but ignore that :-)

Split complementary yellow, red violet, and blue violet (they snuck in a bit of blue-green on the ottoman but ignore that 🙂

Triad: Using three colours equally spaced from each other on the colour wheel

Triadic colour scheme done in red, yellow, and blue

Triadic colour scheme done in red, yellow, and blue

violet, orange, green triadic colour scheme

Violet, green, and orange triadic scheme. Orange is “the mother of all beige” and therefore the beige counts as the third colour in this triad.

Tetrad: Using a combination of four colours that are two sets of complementary colours.

Green, red, blue, and orange tetrad colour scheme. These schemes are mostly seen in children's rooms as they are quite loud.

Green, red, blue, and orange tetrad colour scheme. These schemes are mostly seen in children’s rooms as they are quite loud.

Two common color combinations that do not fit into traditional color schemes include blue and yellow (often seen in French country decorating) and red, blue, and white (often seen in…America)

A little bit of french country yellow and blue

A little bit of french country yellow and blue

Red White and Blue Colour Scheme

Tried and True, American red, white and blue. Its a fairly common coastal cottage type scheme.

Some non-colour “colour” schemes are achromatic, the use of black and white in decorating, and neutral, decorating with beige, grey, and/or cream.

Achromatic Living Room

Achromatic Living Room

Dining room decorated with neutral beige

Dining room decorated with neutral beige

One last colour scheme to consider is polychromatic…that is, the use of all the colours on the colour wheel.

I appreciate the artistry but I would go insane staying in this hotel room

I appreciate the artistry but I would go insane staying in this hotel room

Kids rooms or playrooms are about the only place you should see a polychromatic scheme in my opinion

Kids rooms or playrooms are about the only place you should see a polychromatic scheme in my opinion

Hopefully some of these examples will help you in your next decorating venture.  For more colour combinations pick up a colour wheel from your local craft store and have a gander. If you stick to the tried and true schemes it should help to make your decor a success!

If you don’t feel like buying a colour wheel this link is helpful for looking at different colour combinations on the colour wheel.

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Filed under Decorating Basics