House hunting can be an emotional ride. Too often, you fall in love with a home because of the way it's styled, only to discover it has been staged with designer furniture that equates to a downpayment. That's exactly the scenario Vancouver-based home builder Mosaic Homes is seeking to change with its IKEA Hack series, where entire model homes are designed with clever modifications to basic IKEA pieces.
"Budget is an integral part of our design process because it is the reality of how most people live," says interior designer Laura Melling, who collaborated with Mosaic to style this home in Surrey, British Columbia. "When done well, there is this sweet spot when the high and low elements balance one another out to produce a compelling experience."
Though this two-bedroom, 1087-square-foot home looks high-end, each room hides a unique, inventive IKEA hack. Whether it be replacing a table top, wall-mounting storage units, or building a canopy over a basic bed, there's certainly no shortage of gorgeous DIY ideas in this home. The question is, can you spot them?
Melling describes the home's aesthetic as "soft minimalism," which was the perfect theme to pair high-end Danish and Swedish décor with inexpensive IKEA buys. "I incorporated crisp Scandinavian standards with warm, inviting textural elements," she explains. "The color palette is inspired by expansive coastal landscapes, layered with muted terracotta tones and soft gray hues." In the living room, this is reflected in a warm blue-gray sofa, which pairs well with a blonde wood side table and soft terra-cotta throw cushion.
One of the standout items in the living room is, in fact, from IKEA. Melling used the rounded, blonde wood legs from a Stockholm Coffee Table and replaced the top to create a custom, designer-looking piece. The dusty pink tabletop acts as a focal point and ties in with the artwork, throw cushions, and even the French press, which all have warm accents.
Melling started the design process by deciding which furniture could be transformed. "Our studio process started with evaluating the bigger ticket items—details like the living room feature wall, master bedroom upholstered bed, and toddler bunk bed—and then working our way toward to the smaller details like artwork, textile, and botanicals," she explains.
One big-ticket item that guided the design of a room was the master bed. Though it looks custom, Melling actually chose an IKEA Malm bed then used infill panels to expand the headboard from wall to wall. "The headboard is wrapped with foam and finished in a soft gray wool felt," she says. The bed is then flanked by wall-mounted Best units, which serve as nightstands.
One of the biggest challenges when decorating a model home is styling without a homeowner in mind. To ensure the space felt inviting and personable, she designed with a narrative in mind. "To be honest, the story for the space was inspired by my own life with my husband, Quinn, and our daughter, Grayson, and a trip we took to Iceland together," she explains.
The home itself provided the perfect canvas for Melling's design choices. "It helps to have a great home as a starting point," she admits, noting this space is "full of light, open and airy, rich in detail, and designed so that every inch counts." That's certainly true in the kitchen, which has a high ceiling and plenty of natural light.
This layout frames two of Mellings greatest finds for the home: a Salmi glass table and Odger dining chairs, both from IKEA. The simple chrome dining table was transformed with a coat of navy blue paint, which paired well with the blue chairs.
The kid's room is a child's paradise, complete with colorful wallpaper, playful accessories, and a huge castle-like bunkbed. "[We] reimagined the Kura bed by adding a roofline and whitewashing the bed frame," she explains. "This simple structure transforms into endless possibilities for a child's imagination. "
Every nook is thoughtfully styled, whether it's a side table, nightstand, or pocket in a storage unit. "With each project, I am motivated to create something remarkable —an object, moment, or experience worth talking about," she says. "I designed [this home] to have that intentionally imperfect lived-in quality that would leave people with a sense of familiarity."
This adjoining window seat is another innovative hack. Simple Eket cubes were used to create a structure under the window that acts as a seat and storage for games and books.
Of all the IKEA products Melling transformed, her favorite is the statement wall. "I really love the way we reimagined the classic IKEA Besta storage module to transform the living room wall into a millwork feature," she says. "We paired crisp wood paneling with a custom configuration of Besta modules and an upholstered light gray felt bench." The result is a smart, practical, and above all else beautiful space—a sentiment that's true of every room in this home.