Quantity doesn’t often lead to clarity, and that’s usually the case with a trip to Ikea. As a cornerstone of minimalist furnishings, Ikea puts forth the idea that with the correct purchases, it’s possible to create a showstopping design on a budget. But until you decide on what to buy, Ikea can be a maze—and an often disorienting and overwhelming one at that.
If the thought of spending hours analyzing numerous options sounds exhausting, fear not. I’ve called in a handful of LA-based interior designers to give their takes on the best Ikea items for your living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Read on to see exactly how you should fill your cart.
As the de facto space for shared relaxation and entertainment, the best living rooms strike a balance between practicality and style. Jesse DeSanti, founder of Jette Creative, often turns to Ikea to meet those requirements with versatile pieces that can be switched out when moods change.
“I love putting the BESTÅ line in living rooms,” DeSanti says. “I even have it in my own home. I use this piece almost like a media cabinet, but it’s rarely under the TV. Instead I fill an entire wall with them for toys, electronics, blankets, or extra storage. I also swap out the feet and add my own hardware.”
“I’ve had two Ikea baskets for years,” says DeSanti. “They’ve transitioned in so many different ways: From baskets under a table, to baskets for blankets, to holding kids’ toys. They’re inexpensive and useful in so many ways.”
It’s no surprise that creative director Brady Tolbert thinks that you should give the bedroom’s namesake furniture piece some thought as you put together a design.
“Your bed can set the entire tone of your room, so rather than throwing your mattress onto a metal frame and calling it a day, go for something with a little bit more style,” he says. “I love this wood, fabric, and leather option. It’s simple, but the materials make it feel upscale and modern.”
The second component to Tolbert’s vision for a comfortable bedroom isn’t as predictable: lighting. “Having the right type of lighting in your bedroom can help create that cozy and inviting space you need to recharge,” he says.
“These wood table lamps provide a fabric shade to diffuse the light coming from them, which means there will be no harsh light in your eyes when you’re doing a little bedtime reading.”
Designer and TV personality Bobby Berk keeps his advice simple for decorating a bathroom: All you need is a place to put everything.
“Storage is of the utmost importance in bathrooms,” he says, since this is the smallest yet arguably hardest-working room in a home. Focus on what you can do to maximize every square inch of the space—which should include the area below the sink and even the smallest sliver of a wall. When everything has a place, a bathroom won’t feel as cramped.
“Hooks are items that are often overlooked, but can make a huge difference,” he says. “I love these simple and modern bamboo wood hooks, which can bring an earthy feel to any setting. They also add some much needed warmth in a space that is typically all-white. These are super inexpensive, but still look high quality.”
“A chair with a built-in towel rack—it doesn’t get much better than that!” says Berk. “Especially if you are tight on space and furniture needs to do double-duty. This is a fun way to make your bathroom a bit more functional, and it’s also a great space saver.”