Beaux Arts

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How to Mix Vintage Pieces With IKEA Buys for a Custom Look

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Ikea. It’s a divisive topic, with some people practically breaking out in hives at just the thought of entering the Swedish megastore (there’s even a whole 30 Rock episode about it), but for me, I love everything about a leisurely trip to Ikea, browsing the cheap kitchenware and stocking up on plants for my apartment. I even love that weird, sweet Ikea smell (which I can only guess comes from the cafe’s cinnamon rolls mixed with the particle board inside much of the furniture).

Despite my love for Ikea, I kind of hate it in excess. There’s a reason the Ikea showroom looks so dang good — and that’s because it’s arranged by professional designers. In the real world, too much Ikea just looks cheap, feels college-y, and begs for a chair to break at your next dinner party.

Our solution: mix only the really good Ikea buys with vintage furniture, textiles and decor to elevate the look of your compact sofa or that outdoor dining set that you got for a steal. Here’s how.

Add some kilim pillows to the mix

Apartment Therapy

Do you have a POANG chair or even a budget sectional that functions well, but just doesn’t hit the mark when it comes to the upholstery? Add luxurious kilim pillows or other pillows in vintage fabrics to give it a more luxe and substantial feel. And while you are at it, pop one of Ikea’s super reasonably pricing plants into the mix.

A sturdy, vintage dresser can anchor an Ikea bedroom

Apartment Therapy

Ikea has a number of stylish, budget-friendly beds (think the sleek, Scandi MALM (above) or the ultra sturdy, metal KOPARDAL, but when it comes to a dresser, you just can’t beat vintage. We suggest a mid-century modern longboy dresser or even a vintage steamer trunk for storing things like shoes, winter sweaters and stacks of denim.

Pair vintage barware with an Ikea bar cart

The Plain Jayne

Ikea’s multipurpose kitchen carts are definitely some of their most popular items, and for good reason. No matter how many different ways there are to use them, the classic bar cart paired with vintage glassware is a personal favorite. But extra kitchen storage looks equally at home here when stacked neatly.

Pop a vintage lamp on an Ikea desk

Jones Design Company

Whether you’re furnishing a home office or a little nook for answering emails, Ikea has lots of spacious desks (this set up above is made for some serious home officing) and compact, apartment-sized options. To offset the somewhat bare Ikea look, add a vintage lamp, ceramic catch-alls and framed artwork on top.

Use an Ikea credenza to store a vintage record player (and your record collection)


Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to your home music setup. If you have a solid collection of vintage vinyl and a record player to play it on, keep it all neat and properly displayed on a sleek Ikea credenza — the STOCKHOLM sideboard and the KALLAX shelf both seem tailor-made for this exact purpose.

If it is the older furniture look you’re going for, have a look at the beautifully restored examples over at You will find a range of furniture from a host of historical periods. There’s sure to be something there that will take your fancy!

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