Tricking Out an IKEA Karlstad Sofa

We had a yard sale a couple of weeks ago.  A pretty large one.  It was exhausting, but necessary.  I sold a lot of my collections that I hadn’t displayed or used in years, along with kids’ outgrown clothes and toys.  I also needed to downsize the home staging props that had overrun their appointed room in our finished basement.

yard sale

yard sale 

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My Top Picks for High-Style Dining Chairs on an IKEA Budget

Who doesn’t want high style paired with budget prices?  I shopped for a dining room table and chairs with a client this weekend, and the chairs we chose cost about $3000 for six.  They are FABULOUS, of course, but not everyone can afford to spend that much money on dining or kitchen chairs.  Which got me thinking about some of my favorite bargain chairs from IKEA. Let’s start with my current favorite – a modern take on the classic black windsor, this stylish dining chair would look great at a rustic farmhouse table or a metal industrial dining table.

IKEA PS 2012 for $89



This is another classic with an x-back that would work in both traditional and contemporary dining rooms [Read more…]

Small Space Solutions for Nashville Musician

One thing I really love to do is to figure out the essence of a client’s style and make it happen for them in their space.  It’s so much fun for me to help create different atmospheres that express who the homeowner is or who they hope to become. So I was happy to help this young Nashville recording artist design a contemporary bachelor pad that reflects his love of music and gives him a place to entertain friends.

photo by Melanie G. Photography 


After conversing with his mother, a reader of The Decorologist in South Carolina, we scheduled a time to meet at the newly-purchased condo in arty Hillsboro Village of Nashville.  I think I’ll save the “before” photos of the 650 square foot space until a bit later.  I just can’t wait to show you around.

Kristie Barnett design, The Decorologist

Design by Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist / Photo by Melanie G. Photography


The client’s needs included creating a main room that would  be both multi-functional and stylish, where he could lounge, watch television, entertain, dine with friends, study, and work on the computer.  All in the same room!  


Photo by Melanie G. Photography


This called for some flexible space-planning solutions.  During our first meeting, I came up with a floorplan and dimensions of what was needed to meet the needs of the client and the space.  We agreed on this West Elm sofa and pair of Expedit bookcases from IKEA to flank it.  On the opposite side of the room, we needed a table that could do triple-duty.  It needed to provide space for dining, computer work, and for television components and lamps.  This slender model worked great, and also has room beneath for extra seating in the form of these CB2 ottomans.

west elm table

Photo by Melanie G. Photography


Accessories were easy – the client’s own musical instruments, speakers, and other musician stuff.  It’s all easily accessible and looks really cool, to boot!

 Melanie G. Photography


I loved hanging his collection of iconic albums in a smart grid above the sofa.  It’s the perfect focal point for a musician’s home, don’t you agree?

hanging albums wall grouping

 Record Album Art / Photo by Melanie G. Photography 



I hung my client’s own framed CDs in his bedroom above the printer and one of his many guitars.

Melanie G. Photography


Maybe you should see some “befores” now.  The walls were a dreary pinky-beige throughout, and the ceilings were popcorn-textured.  And of course, the dreaded ceiling fan – ugh.

Living Room Before


We had the popcorn removed and wrapped the choices of paint colors on the wall and ceiling to make the small space feel larger.  The color in this room is Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter.  Following the transformation, complete with new lighting from Lowes and a new rug from West Elm:

Kristie Barnett design

Design by Kristie Barnett / Photo by Melanie G. Photography



This was the previous condition of the bedroom:

Bedroom Before


We made the bed the focal point, and lightened and brightened the whole room with a light gray-blue for walls and ceilings.  His mother didn’t think he’d like the color I chose, but he loved it!  Never met a man who didn’t like Benjamin Moore’s Gray Wisp.

benjamin moore gray wisp

 Bedroom Design by The Decorologist / Photo by Melanie G. Photography


Just a quick “before” of the bathroom:

 Bathroom Before


New paint, lighting, hardware, a framed mirror, and a base cabinet painted Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal made for a modern, masculine update.

 Bathroom After / Melanie G. Photography


The kitchen is super-small and the short cabinets didn’t help the storage situation.  But new cabinetry wasn’t in the budget.

 Kitchen Before


Fresh paint, white subway tile, new appliances, a granite-look laminate countertop, and new hardware  took this basic kitchenette from sad to happy.  Notice that we added crown moulding to the cabinets to make them look higher-end. 

subway tile

Kitchen After / Melanie G. Photography 


We furnished this entire condo with great bargains from retailers like Lowe’s, West Elm, IKEA, CB2, and Target. Good style doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be the least bit feminine.  This dude’s gotta save his money for guitars and amps and such.

Photo by Melanie G. Photography



And for wooing the ladies who visit his cool condo, of course.

Sheldon Clark

Recording Artist Sheldon Clark in his Nashville condo / Photo by Melanie G. Photography


What do you think of this contemporary style make-over?  If you need help finding your own unique decorating style, contact The Decorologist for a design intervention!


A Child’s Room Design with IKEA & The Decorologist

After giving birth to her 4th daughter, my client (and long-time friend) needed to rethink her home’s floorplan.  The former den was about to get a makeover – with a little help from The Decorologist and IKEA.

the decorologist

Design by The Decorologist


The idea was to convert the former den into a bedroom for the two oldest daughters so the baby and toddler could each have their own rooms (very necessary for successful naptimes!).  They already had twin beds and wanted to make a list for the upcoming trip to the modern decor mecca, IKEA, in Atlanta.  We took measurements and worked up a solid furniture arrangement, determining what the girls needed and what would fit into the new space perfectly.

IKEA Malma twin bed in birch

The kicker was determining the perfect color for the room.   In the end, the color scheme was  a compromise that met the desires of both daughters and momma.

 Before – Room as Den


You see, momma is NOT a pink kind of girl.  Of course, that’s the paint color the daughters were begging for!  Initially, everything was pretty much beige on beige – beige carpet, beige walls, beige sofas.  Here’s the “before” of the area where the beds would ultimately be placed: [Read more…]

IKEA Has Gone Gray – And That’s a Good Thing

I’ve been ordering furniture for a client over the last week from IKEA, so I was really excited to see that they have added another option to their black, white, or birch furniture finishes.  IKEA’s finally gone gray!  Actually, gray-brown.   I hope this is the final evidence if you need confirmation that gray-brown is the new expresso brown.



Hemnes Dresser from IKEA


The gray-brown finish is available only on selected IKEA furniture, and they can barely keep them in stock right now.  I found gray options in the Hemnes, Isala, and Lack series.  [Read more…]

How To Personalize IKEA Furniture – A Decorologist Tutorial for Additik Stickers

I’m really excited to share a little Before and After of a pair of  LACK side tables using a fabulous new product.  Additik is a company out of France that has launched a whole line of appliques to personalize many of our favorite IKEA furniture.   


Sometimes it’s good to be The Decorologist – the nice people at Additik sent me a few samples so I could show my readers how they work!  I pulled out a few of the LACK tables I use in home staging – these are black, but they also come in birch, white, and red.

 IKEA LACK side tables – Before


The appliques from Additik arrived in the mail in these tubes. 

Additix Delivery

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IKEA Bookcases – So Many Ways to Use Them!

The Expedit Bookcase is one of IKEA’s best-selling products, and it’s no wonder.  They’re inexpensive and incredibly versatile, making them the best value I’ve found in a bookcase.  They’re backless, so the color from the wall behind can show through.


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