I’m a big believer that good design doesn’t have to bankrupt you. If you love mixing high and low when you get dressed, why wouldn’t you do the same when you decorate? I’ve found a bunch of great deals at Ikea over the years and after a few of you asked what I picked up on a recent trip, I thought it would be helpful to share my ten favorite pieces — with pictures of how I used each if I had one. I know how overwhelming Ikea can be so it definitely helps to look online ahead of time and go in with an idea of what you’re looking for. If you’re decorating on a budget and searching for the very best Ikea furniture, definitely keep these in mind!


1. Ikea Kallax

Hands down, the most versatile piece of Ikea furniture there is. The shelving pictured above is actually the Expedit but Kallax is their updated version. We just picked up two of this size in the high gloss white and positioned them horizontally to hold books in Will’s home office. It would also be cool to add moulding to the top and bottom for a custom look for a fraction of the price.

ikea besta tv bench with doors high gloss white

2. Ikea Besta

I love having our TV mounted above the fireplace but I can’t stand all the cords, boxes, and remotes that come with it! Last weekend we picked up two of these — one to conceal the TV accoutrements in our living room (the two open shelves at the top are perfect since you have to point the remote directly at the cable box, not through fabric or a door) and one to house bathroom necessities at my office. The high gloss finish makes it look more expensive than it is (I would shell out the extra few bucks for high gloss at Ikea every time) and you could easily switch out the legs for a more custom look.


3. Ikea Docksta

I had a good run with this dining table in both of my apartments in New York but after a few years, it was time for a replacement. Still, it’s perfectly proportioned for small living quarters where a full dining table is out of the question but you’d still like a spot to eat that isn’t your bed or couch. You could also dress it up with a round table skirt to conceal any surface scratches.


4. Ikea Malm

I’ve seen some seriously awesome DIY projects tackled on this blank canvas of a dresser! Add a fresh coat of paint or just drill in drawer pulls for a totally new style.

ikea ribba

5. Ikea Ribba

If you’re not looking to get fancy with a colorful matte or an intricate frame, the Ikea Ribba series features plain white frames in a ton of different sizes, many of them under $20. There’s your motivation to get those prints off your desk and finally get them hanging on your walls!


6. Ikea Kivik

My cousin has two of these white Kivik sections in her New York studio and they’re so chic you’d swear they cost five times what they do. The Kivik chaise is equally luxe and the whole collection is designed to be combined for custom configuration. Bonus? You can buy slipcovers for the inevitable muddy paw print or wine spill.


7. Ikea Hemnes

It comes in multiple sizes but I love the narrow version for a tiny closet like the one in my first New York apartment. Our new townhouse in Dallas doesn’t have a linen closet for some reason so we’ve actually repurposed this piece to store bath towels and washcloths.


8. Ikea Sultan Aram

I used this bed foundation for the full bed I had in New York and our new king in Dallas. We chose these legs to screw in underneath and then our Casper mattress (also highly recommend) sits right on top, no boxspring necessary. It’s super easy to build (though you’ll need a drill), very neutral (and easy to hide with a duvet cover), and under $200. Win-win-win!


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  1. Hi Mackenzie,

    Are you able to attach a headboard when using the Sultan legs from Ikea? Also, do you think the height is a normal height with the box spring and casper mattress (…not too low to the ground)? One more question, I’m going to order the casper mattress and I wondered if you ended up ordering the free latex mattress topper after the fact?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Carly,

      We haven’t found a headboard we like yet so I can’t answer the first question. The height is totally normal with the box spring and Casper mattress. And we did not order the mattress topper. Sorry I can’t be of more help but you will love the mattress!

      1. Sorry, one more question…

        Did you get a king size bed? If so, did you have to purchase 8 legs from Ikea or only 4? Thanks@

  2. I have always enjoyed IKEA furniture. Now I look at it in a more permanent light. These are wonderful ideas on how to use the furniture and make it work in a more upscale environment. Never thought about changing out legs. Thanks for your terrific ideas.

  3. Mackenzie this is so helpful! I’ve just sorted my first flat in London and we’re looking for girly furniture – these are perfect suggestions! Thank you x

  4. I love to see bloggers choosing affordable pieces, not just expensive and aspirational ones! Thank you, Mackenzie! With some of the cool Ikea Hacks out there, I’m sure these pieces could look even more unique and luxurious!

  5. Since I’ll be moving in a little less than a month (cue the panic attacks…), I can’t get enough of this series on rental decor! It’s been tough prepping for moving day, but I’ll be ecstatic to finally get to decorate my new place and these posts have been majorly helpful!

  6. Love this post. My boyfriend and I share a small (not tiny, but certainly not big) closet so would love to hear any tips you might have for storage/clothes in that situation!!

  7. Love this list! I am thinking about getting the Kallax shelving and adding molding as well. Also, there is a remote you can buy that goes through cabinet doors so you don’t have your ugly boxes out. I think its an easy fix!

  8. I love love LOVE ikea. They are perfect for making a place look nice but chic because it is soft on the wallet but stands out in the apartment. I am buying a lot of my last minute apartment furniture from Ikea because of their great deals. Your apartment is stunning!

  9. Thank you for this post! Such perfect timing: I have been looking for the bed foundation that I remembered/loved at your old place but couldn’t find it on IKEA’s site. Ordering it ASAP 😀 😀

  10. My husband and I are about to downsize to an apartment in Boston and most of our items from our old house simply won’t fit in the new place. I’m loving all these pieces, and that you explained how you’re using them in your new house/how you used them in your old apartment. Thanks!