How I Made a $199 IKEA Bed Look Designer

IKEA black bedframe with expensive looking comforter on top.

Courtesy of Heather Bien

What do you do when your dream bed is north of $3,000—a little out of current budget—and the mid-tier $700 option is a bit underwhelming? Well, I dove right into a bargain bed, spending under $200 and braving the purveyor of screws, wooden slats, and Allen wrenches that we all love to hate: IKEA

I stumbled across the IKEA Sagstua Bed while on a mission to find a black iron bed that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. It was at the height of furniture delays and IKEA lines that wrapped entire stores, but when I tracked the bed down in the Brooklyn IKEA while visiting from my home in D.C., I pushed “click and collect” in record speed. Note to self: I may never go inside an IKEA again now that I’ve experienced the efficiency and ease of "click and collect."

With its minimal, yet vintage-inspired curved lines and subtle gold detail, the Sagstua Bed on its own looks more expensive than its price tag indicates.

Approximately 4.5 hours later, I was ripping open cardboard boxes and keeping my fingers crossed that all pieces would be present (spoiler: they were). With its minimal, yet vintage-inspired curved lines and subtle gold detail, the Sagstua Bed on its own looks more expensive than its price tag indicates. Now, several months into styling and restyling, here’s how I made this $199 IKEA bed look truly designer-worthy.

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Embrace a Sophisticated Look by Keeping the Setting Simple

When you think of a designer-styled bedroom, there’s no clutter. Not only are the nightstands void of unread books and multiple water glasses, but the room itself has the essentials. A rug, drapery, lighting, perhaps art, and nightstands. Stray items don’t make their way into a designer bedroom—and they’re certainly not part of the décor.

So, to make this inexpensive IKEA bed look designer, I kept its setting simple. No extraneous art or nightstand accouterments. Just bedding, wall-mounted sconces, a mirror that brings out the gold in the bed frame, vintage nightstands, and drapery.

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Don’t Put Anything Under Your Bed

Peek underneath the IKEA bed as nothing is underneath.

Courtesy of Heather Bien

Whether a bed is expensive or affordable, loading up your under-the-bed space with boxes and storage is an easy way to make it look cheap and sloppy. Yes, sometimes it’s inevitable—and, in those cases, you can hide it with a bed skirt. But, if it can be avoided, keep the space under your bed empty to make your bed feel both lighter and more high-end. 

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Splurge On Something Else

You saved on the bed, so splurge elsewhere. When one piece is elevated, it brings the entire room up to its level. For me, that’s the drapery. This custom Greek key drapery has a beautiful weight, hangs perfectly within the space, and, when it frames the bed, the entire look is polished. Other places you could splurge: hard-wired bedside sconces, antique nightstands, or an incredible vintage rug.

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Add Custom Accent Pillows

Custom accent pillows on IKEA bed.

Courtesy of Heather Bien

While we’re on the topic of splurging, consider investing in custom accent pillows. I bought budget-friendly accent pillows from a major retailer, then spent more on a single custom bolster pillow. Since I only bought one, it was an affordable splurge (and even more affordable given my favorite hot tip for custom pillows) and one that you see front and center when looking at my bed. Who’s going to notice the bed frame is IKEA when a gorgeous custom designer fabric is staring back at them?

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Layer Your Bedding

White comforter on bed.

Courtesy of Heather Bien

If an IKEA bed has nothing but a sheet and a duvet, it’s going to run the risk of looking like a college holdover. Instead, think about your favorite hotel bed. There’s not just one layer. At a minimum, it has sheets, a blanket, and a duvet. Replicate this on your own bed to give it that sumptuous feel. And don’t hold back—go for the fluffiest duvet to give your bed an extra luxe look and keep piling on those layers.

So, next time you’re redecorating your bedroom and wondering whether the $3,000 bed is worth it, stop for a second. Maybe it is—but maybe you can get away with spending under $200 at IKEA and splurging on the coziest bedding, fluffiest pillows, and gorgeous designer textiles.