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International Interior Inspiration + Ideas to Steal

I received a nice email the other day from the folks at Ikea, announcing their revamped inspiration site, Ikea Family Live. If you were already a fan of the site before, as I was, you will be so pleased with the new design – much slicker and more user-friendly than before and chock full of interiors to drool over! The best part is that these are all real homes – pulled together by folks on a budget, just like the rest of us, and relying heavily on Ikea furnishings (of course). My favorite home tours on the site, featured below, come from Amsterdam, The Hague, Leipzig (Germany), and Norway, and all manage to look chic and pulled together and not at all cookie cutter.

I spy white walls, floors either painted white or stripped bare, tall bookcases, creative use of hooks, and natural accents that ground the sea of white. A bit of warm cashmere, woven baskets, wood legged furniture – any of these things added to a room with lots of off-the-shelf Ikea fittings does wonders at adding comfort and personalizing a space. A space where every single thing is fresh and new can have a sterile feel that is far from welcoming – so throwing in a little junk shop find or old family piece for balance is a great idea.

I love this working nook with the worn wood worktop and floating shelving. It looks as if this room has concrete walls and a section was marked off and left bare. It’s a nice look, yes? Especially with that cutie wire creature perched at the top :)

I am a sucker for big paper lanterns – we always had one on our front porch growing up, and it looked like a giant moon. Plus, they are so cheap! It’s a great way to make a big statement on a budget, and the rice paper gives a nice glow. I have my eye on shelving lately for a project I am working on, and the setup in the photo above caught my eye – I wonder if those are available at Ikea…anyone know? Hm.

Repetition can do so much for making an inexpensive pieces look more purposeful. A few ideas: try lining a whole wall with basic white shelving; use identical magazine files or paper boxes to organize your belongings in a closet; buy simple bath towels in white or dark chocolate only, and stack them up high.

I love this idea for customizing a set of basic storage jars using black labels from a label-maker. It looks so modern!

Finally, this dressing area is beckoning me…of course that’s probably because I am usually running out the door in the morning these days with no makeup or jewelry and only mildly awake, ha! It’s funny how my idea of “luxury” has been downgraded since having a baby: 5 minutes to put on a little makeup and brush my hair? Luxury! :) Really though, there are tons more inspiring interiors on the site, from all around the world, and with lots of useful ideas to share. You can check it all out at Ikea Family Live.

(all images: Ikea Family Live)

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Cindy October 13, 2011, 7:53 am

    I really like the way that exposed concrete wall looks. That is my favorite photo. I’m coming to terms with my love/hate relationship with IKEA. These photos certainly help!

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