The MASKROS light
When reimagining the interior of a nail salon, designer Carla Aston selected this dandelion-inspired pendant light for the whimsy it would bring to a space already dominated by the floral hues of polish bottles. "The IKEA Maskros was super budget-friendly and had a feminine vibe with a big impact," Aston says—32 inches in diameter, in fact. "It fit the bill perfectly for what we needed." Available at IKEA; $89.99.
The EKTORP Sofa
"I also purchased the Ektorp sofa for my daughter's college apartment," says Aston, whose office is based in The Woodlands, TX. "It still works great, some five years later in her young adult apartment in Los Angeles!" Aston and her daughter have the three-seated sofa's timeless design and interchangeable slipcovers (like this gray) to thank for its consistently fresh appearance. Available at IKEA; $499.
The Duvets (like DRÖMLAND)
"IKEA is my go-to place for bedding, toys, and lamps," says Pat Christodoulou of Stage and Sell. This designer—who specializes in staging a home to increase buyer interest—accessorized this particular children's room for under $100 using bright, budget-friendly accents like the polka-dotted DRÖMLAND duvet and a plush frog. "We did The Frog who Became a Prince Theme, complete with dolls and book. Everyone was enchanted when they entered this room." Available at IKEA; $29.99 for twin-sized duvet and pillowcase.
The OMAR System
When designer Meredith McBride Kipp needs to create a totally custom look on a budget, she relies on IKEA as “a useful resource for the bones of a project.” With smart shopping and a little skill, she can turn IKEA drapery panels into bulk fabric for slipcovers and decorative valances, or leverage an OMAR storage rack to build out her “large, dreamy bar-height studio space.” Available at IKEA; $67.98.
RÅSKOG Utility Cart
The RÅSKOG Utility Cart is the best IKEA buy, according to Philadelphia-based decorator Larina Kase. She loves the four-tier cart for its versatility. "You can use it to house a little garden of fresh spices in pots or ready-to-go snacks in the kitchen." She adds that the little cart looks just as good when storing toiletries in the bathroom or craft supplies in the playroom. Available at IKEA; $29.99.
GODMORGON / EDEBOVIKEN Sink Cabinet
Designer Julia Mack lists the GODMORGON / EDEBOVIKEN, a sink cabinet with two pull-out drawers, as her favorite IKEA product. She prefers the high-gloss white finish, but the cabinet is also available in several other colors, including black-brown, gray, and red. “I always explain to clients that the sink is shallow, allowing for deep drawer storage below,” she says. Available at IKEA; $449.
Although designer Kristine Robinson rarely uses IKEA furniture in her work, she likes the Swedish company’s lighting options—especially the Dioder LED multi-use lights. “Recently I used them in a bedroom I designed on the inside of a bed tester (or valance),” she says. “It was a great way to illuminate the inside of the bed hangings without the need for additional swing arm lamps.” Available at IKEA; $24.99 for a pack of four.
HEMNES Console Table
Even in the entryway—the room that introduces your home to visiting friends and family members—there's more to consider than aesthetics alone. Select furniture that suits your taste, certainly, but don't give short shrift to your inevitable practical needs. New York designer Jennifer Morris likes the HEMNES console table, not only because its "clean", "solid looking", space-defining design pleases the eye, but also because the built-in storage cubbies serve as wonderful "catchalls for shoes and gloves" and miscellaneous other essentials of daily life. Available at IKEA; $219.
The FINTORP series
Designer Denise Gordon trusts the FINTORP series for wall storage in a snap. Although the stated use of the metal catchalls is as utensil and condiment holders, she finds them to be much more versatile, especially when hung in multiples. "I have used them as a cute storage solution in a bathroom to hold toiletries and beauty products, or in a kids rooms to hold small toys, coloring books and crayons or in a kitchen to hold herb plants," she says. The storage solution even makes an appearance in her own home, "I have the condiment holder on my wall in my kitchen and am using it for mail!" Available at IKEA; $2.99–16.99.
If you don't have the time for a room redesign, or funds for a new furniture set, the best way to refresh your space is by updating your textiles—drapes, rugs, pillows, and throws. When Gordon needs to make a change, she trusts the colorful and affordable selection at IKEA. She recommends switching out pillows and throws according to the seasons for "a quick way to brighten or change the look and feel to a room." The EIVOR throw is one of her favorite picks for spring and summer. Available at IKEA; $24.99.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!