Many of us still own IKEA storage pieces from our first-apartment days. Whether it's a TV bench in the living room or an armoire repurposed for storage in the basement, these pieces take on new life with each new home and blend into our lives seamlessly. But the nature of these furniture pieces means that they don't always look their best after a few years: Scuffs and marks can show up easily, maybe the finish has yellowed, or the melamine has peeled.
Luckily, there's a solution to making your starter furniture look like a million bucks and evolve with you: Norse Interiors. No need to throw your stuff to the curb and start anew; this startup builds customizable replacement pieces for IKEA storage, from surfaces to pulls and legs.
"I got the idea when I was decorating the office at a startup I was working at," Lotta Lundaas, Norse's founder, told us. "I had a tight budget, so I turned to IKEA, as I often do, but I wished there were more options that would fit the company’s brand better. That’s when I realized that there might be a market for making replacement pieces to upgrade IKEA’s furniture and to encourage customers to be the designers of their own one-of-a-kind pieces."
Ready to upcycle your worn IKEA furniture? Lundaas shares her best tips with us below.
Lundaas turned to Scandinavian interiors to seek inspiration for the brand. "The essence of the patterns found in wooden floors or draped fabric was transferred to designs that could be integrated into any room or setting," she explains. "We wanted to create something sophisticated yet playful for the American home. It’s also very inspiring to know that the final design would be made by the customer, choosing the pattern, colors, and accessories to create a piece that was personal to them."
One of her favorite combinations is the first she designed in the prototype phase. "It was a two-door cabinet with Eva doors in Pale Mocha, the Kristina Pull and Sara legs in brass," she explains. "It’s effortless with the lines interlacing, but still so elegant. I think it works just as well in a nursery as in a living room."
Another favorite of Lundaas's is the Frida doors in navy paired with the Gulli legs in ash wood. "I don’t think that you necessarily need knobs and pulls on every cabinet," she says. "For a more minimalistic approach, you could instead use the push-open function, which is included when you buy hinges from IKEA."
When looking at the next big trends, Lundaas sees a greater mix of furniture, styles, and colors. "Our homes are becoming more eclectic and personal, where the modern interior is mixed with furniture from another era in different material and finishes," she explains. "The color scheme goes from dusky pastels to rich, intense colors, and you choose if you want to make it your centerpiece or blend into the backdrop of your home."
The other big trend she's predicting, which is right in line with her business, is the need to become more sustainable in our furniture consumption: "With Americans disposing of almost 12 million tons of furniture every year (which is about 5% of all the country’s total garbage), I think that upcycling will be a big trend among a generation that is more eco-conscious than previous generations."
Lundaas's Top 3 Tips for Decorating on a Budget
1. Start by looking at what you have. Decide if you can give something a simple makeover by reupholstering or painting it, or replacing accessories like knobs and legs. When you’re upcycling, you're not only being frugal, you’re also doing a good deed for the environment.
2. Look at smaller brands. There are so many exciting startups and marketplaces like Etsy, which are offering great products, often at better prices than the leading brands.
3. Make use of hacking companies. They can transform cookie-cutter style furniture into custom pieces without breaking the bank. You don’t have to be an experienced DIY pro to do these upgrades since we have already done all the measurements and thinking for you.