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Published on March 24th, 2008 | by Jules Yap


a living room makeover

some eye candy to start off the week. this cool pad once looked like a dorm room. thanks to denise, the girlfriend, the place is completely made over.

“for my boyfriend’s birthday, while he was away for about a week, my friends and i made over his place. it used to look like a college dorm but is now a chic looking bachelor’s pad. i wish i had pictures of the before but i wanted to start ASAP and forgot! me and my friends are students at the Art Institute of San Francisco. studying interior design! no wonder, huh? he was very surprised and thrilled. he still has a hard time believing it’s his place.


everything was from ikea except the couch, curtains, and coffee table. i didn’t want to buy any new furniture because it wasn’t economical or green so we had to be clever. he already had the furniture but it wasn’t in the finish he wanted, so i used walnut woodgrain contact paper (the kind you cover pantry shelves with) to cover them. it was a bit tricky to use and to make sure it was cut properly, we used a very sharp blade. i bought about 20 rolls of the stuff and we used every single piece – on the side tables, media bench, book shelves.

to create visual interest, an accent wall and focal point was made. he has no fireplace and no lighting (except for the dining room light). all the light fixtures are fluorescent.
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we used a curtain hung from the ceiling with anchor brackets to section off a reading area and the living room. all of the accessories were found from the ‘as-is’ department. with a little careful space planning, this was our result.
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here is a link to more photos (but you’ll need to log-in to myspace to view them)

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

27 Responses to a living room makeover

  1. Mosaic says:

    wuw this one looks very cool, it rocks great design.

  2. Denise says:

    Thanks for the comment! I’m flattered! Jules is right about the mirrors. If you didn’t wipe down the wall first, the adhesive tape can come right off because dust or grime can weaken it. I also had the same problem. I used the tape that the mirrors came with like jules did. The only thing I can think of that you can use is an epoxy glue or something very strong similar to that. I would bring the mirror to home depot and ask them what’s best. I hope that helped!

  3. Eileen says:

    Hey, show some respect to the versatility of contact paper. I once lived in an apartment with really gross stained kitchen counters. I carefully covered them with a black granite contact paper, and while I’m not going to pretend they looked like real stone, they certainly passed for a nice laminate. It held up to daily use without peeling or bubbling for several years. And I removed it very easily when I moved.

  4. Jules says:

    Sorry to hear that they fell and chipped your floor. I have the same mirrors and they’ve stayed up for years. I used the adhesive provided with the mirrors. It is important to clean the surface of the wall and the mirror before sticking them. Or could it be a problem with your paint? Peeling?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I tried to do the same thing you’ve done here with the mirrors (great idea!), but I’m having a problem making them stay up. After a couple of days, several of them fell off (and chipped my floor). Did you have the same problem, or did you use some other kind of adhesive?

  6. Wht a beautiful look !!

  7. Anonymous says:

    What kind of tv stand is that? I’ve been trying to find one like that (with glass doors) and have had no luck.

  8. denise says:

    In reply to the comments:

    1.) I spent $1500 Total. This includes paint and supplies, accessories, lighting and meals I provided for my friends who helped me.

    2.) The mirrors are from Ikea. I found them in one of the bins next to one of the model rooms they built. I’m not sure what they are called. Sorry!

    3.) I used NO stain. As Jules said, I used contact paper which comes in a walnut woodgrain finish.

    4.) The coffee table is actually from Jennifer Convertibles. My parents weren’t using it and gave it to me for free. Lucky!

    5.) The light in the corner is also from Ikea. I can’t remember what that is called either. It was in the lighting department.

    6.) I think one of those comments is Spam. That confused me a bit.

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments. They are really encouraging. My boyfriend still can’t get over the fact he lives there.

  9. Starboykb says:

    Wow, this is a very nice make over.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What’s the source for the lights in the corner, behind the couch? I don’t recall seeing them at Ikea.

    Also, is the mobili ufficio comment spam?

  11. TSS says:

    I love all the light. The area seems really open but still has a cozy appearance. Very cool. I wish someone would make over my apartment!

  12. kiki says:

    does anyone know where the coffee table is from? I love it!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Very nice of you to surprise him with such a transformation. Kudos for using the as is department and for giving us some inspiration.

  14. As soon as you get hold of attractive and sophisticated mobili per ufficio from furniture stores located near your place or from an online furniture source, you need to place them properly at appropriate positions in your office for a better and captivating look. Just revamp your office by arranging the purchased furniture items at proper places and add certain arredamento ufficio accessories such as wall units to your office decoration, for that great motivational look.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It’s looks beautiful, but I would have paid to see the look on his face when he realized that his furniture was covered in CONTACT paper…paint or stain…but really?? Your use of space is fabulous though!

  16. Jules says:

    not really a hack but i wanted to share these fab photos. the little hacking she did was in covering some of her ikea pieces with woodgrain contact paper to get the pieces matching.

  17. Jay says:

    This is absolutely brilliant. He is very lucky to have you :-)

  18. Anonymous says:

    The place looks great! Just out of curiosity, how much did this cost? Ballpark figures, a couple hundred? Several hundred?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! This redo looks like a million dollar loft. You have a bright future ahead of you!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Cool place but um-where’s the hack!?

  21. prue says:

    looks really great! are those mirrors also ikea? (they seem to be bigger than the sorli ones.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Can this even be considered a hack?
    It seems to be that this is just an exercise in design rather then recontextualizing ikea objects to fit a new function.

    Just my 2 cents, I could be wrong.

  23. Robj98168 says:

    Way to go Denise! The AS-IS is my favorate thing at Ikea- way to do it beautiful and green!

  24. Michele says:

    I can’t add anything previous commenters haven’t said. All I can say is WOW! I predict a very successful interior design career for you!

  25. zero says:

    very nicely done. I also liked how you guys were able to be green and economical!

  26. Anonymous says:


  27. Steph says:

    I’m madly in love with the mirrors and Lack shelf- that’s BEAUTIFUL!! I think I’m going to paint a stripe on my living room wall immediately… fantastic job!

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