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Like most, I’ve got more Ikea in my apartment than I’d like to admit. When you’re moving frequently and not sure where you’re going to end up, Ikea can make sense. However, an apartment with predictable basics doesn’t have to feel typical. You can always make it your own.

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I am the proud owner of what is probably the least exciting Ikea loveseat available. I bought it in Montreal off a girl that was moving out of the building I was moving into for $75, and bought a new cover for $40. I hate to admit it but it’s incredibly comfortable and so it’s followed me back to Toronto.

I noticed I was always using the flat armrest as a spot to rest my coffee, and one day I started putting a wooden cutting board on it for a more stable surface… Hey! Let’s just build a wooden armrest! Thankfully my step-dad is a woodworker and helped put together this very simple pine ‘C’ shape that easily slides along the length of the armrest. Quick. Simple. Practical.

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To add interest to this Ikea coffee table I’ve placed a piece of glass on top of it. I originally had the glass cut to go on something else (which has since been reclaimed by my parents), but it turned out to be the perfect size for this table as well.  I wanted a coffee table on casters so it could easily be moved across the floor when I’m working, and I find the glass top elevates the look of it.

Another way I’ve ‘upgraded’ my couch is with my handmade throw pillows and the nursery rhymes quilt my great-grandmother made hung over the back.

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Everything that’s hung in my apartment (OK so there’s not that much stuff) really means something to me, I’m not interested in filling space for the sake of it. I don’t really do Ikea prints. I do however, do cheap Ikea frames. The top left print I got in a museum in Paris and the top right at a museum in Stockholm. I carried these (and others) rolled up under my arms through I don’t know how many airports, with fabric wrapped around my limbs under my trench coat so as to stay under the 10kg baggage limit. These posters and I have seen a thing or two, man. These posters represent a whole adventure for me.

The bottom Salvador Dali print is actually from a calendar… what! Yes, great way to get cheap prints and ensure your favourite calendar makes it out of 2009.

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This met my need for portable storage that could also serve as an end table. I picked up these collapsable baskets on sale at Crate and Barrel, and cut pieces of plexiglass to fit over the top (baskets 12″ in diameter, plexiglass 13″x13″). This way I could stack them if I wanted to.

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Right now I’ve got one serving as a temporary end table.

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Another thing that’s pretty trendy right now (and of course available at Ikea) is succulents. It’s a great, low maintenance way to bring greenery into a small space. I think it’s fun to try and find some less predictable ways to plant them though. Above, in a metal camping cup.

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A Sagaform herb pot currently housing a succulent I picked up at Ikea.

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A jade clipping planted in a hollowed out coconut. My step-dads genius and handy work, not mine.

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On a related note, one last (very inexpensive) thing that I’ve found to have a big impact on my space – a hanging line. I’ll admit this is a pretty ghetto version to what you could find on any respectable DIY/interiors blog, but it works. I couldn’t drill into this wall so I made this with wire and adhesive hooks from Home Hardware. I hang up projects, pattern pieces, fabric, whatever. This is actually some of the fabric I smuggled out of paris under my trench coat (a regularly law breaker I am). It’s essentially a rotating wall hanging I update whenever I want something fresh.

Lovely.

DIY Apartment Decoration Inspiration
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  • That wooden armrest table is legit! Seriously so cool Kate, such a great idea. And that calendar print idea too is genius. Whyy have I not been saving my old calendars gosh darn it.

    Also I LOVE that hanging line as well as the fabric hanging on it. That floral print is seriously gorgeous. Why did you have to smuggle it out of Paris, do they not like you taking fabric from their or something? haha I’m so curious now! I would have done the same though for such a gorgeous print.

    • katesmalley

      Haha! Maybe smuggle is the wrong word..they definitely don’t mind you taking fabric. Basically I travelled to a couple places in Europe and I bought a lot of fabric and random housewares/trinkets (design was just too good) and so when I went to fly back I was well over the 10kg baggage limit, like 5 kg over haha. The security lady at the first check point wouldn’t let me through after weighing my bag and said I had to get rid of stuff until it weighed only 10kg then come back. Like heck I was going to do that…so I literally wrapped fabric around my body and arms and stuffed my coat pockets full of stuff until my bag lost 5kg and I gained it. Victory! (Then I had to remove everything from my person and shove it back into my bag before reaching the full body scanner… it was quite the experience haha)

  • so many lovely details! IKEA has many loveable sides, including that it is so easy to hack!

  • Love your ghetto hanging line 🙂 Thanks for the house tour!