IKEA-n't Believe You Asked Such An Honest Question
What is your feeling about IKEA furniture? There are some IKEA things I really like, but I’m embarrassed that friends may see them as “IKEA” and thus cheap, like I’m still living in a dorm room.
How can I enjoy my house and not compare it to how my more wealthy friends live? Also, what is a way to make a house look “rich” or expensive without having money? In other words, how can I make my more humble furniture and such look classy?
Oh my, there are so many things going on here, I’m not sure where to start. And I am really admiring you for asking these kinds of questions- the vulnerability you are expressing regarding opening up your home to others’ eyes, and thus judgement, is a real fear for many people. So let me see if I can give you my opinions, working backwards through your question.
I LOVE IKEA FURNITURE. That had to be written in all-caps to convey the size of my love for it. The number one rule of IKEA ownership: revel in it. Become IKEA-obsessed: passionate for the design, fanatical about the cheapness and democratic accessibility. Non-exclusivity and design for the masses is positively modern.
One of the “classiest” qualities (your word) a human being with good character can have is humility. So humble, non-designer furniture puts you right up there with the saints of style.
Why do you want to look “rich” or expensive? This concern is at the core of your question. Why do you need to look like anything other than what and who you are? I’m presuming since you make reference to having once lived in a dorm room, that you are probably not still in high school. So in case you have forgotten, I will remind you: once out of high school, an adult should try very hard not to act like one is still in high school. And this is admittedly challenging. I get it. It’s not easy to maintain a mature concept of Self, when all of us know plenty of full-grown adults who are still trying to be crowned Most Popular by their peers. You are going to have to not fall prey to this, if you have other aspirations for yourself, like, for example, being happy.
That being said, I understand the part of your question which is asking about a certain aspirational style: style aspirations generally begin up high, in the unreachable, unbreathable layers of the expensive design atmosphere. Then slowly, the aspiration trickles down to the masses. This is where I can help you. If you’re going for something that feels “rich” or “expensive”: stay away from trends! And edit, edit, edit. Don’t have five or ten of something à la mode, have one. That one thing will look exclusive, precious, singular. This is how to apply the old saying “less is more.”
That rule of singularity applies to Ikea as well- use it sparingly. One piece in every room. And maybe visit some of the Ikea-hacker websites for some clever ideas of how to disguise or customize your mass-produced furnishings.
Drop the snobs. They are a waste of time.
Aubrey Thorne is an interior designer, feng shui consultant, and astrologer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.