IKEA hack: easy ‘paint-dipped’ CYLINDER vases

The CYLINDER three vase set is easily one of IKEA‘s best home decor buys. I absolutely love the way it looks with all three vases stacked inside the others, as shown below.

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CYLINDER Vase, set of three. Photo: IKEA.

I’ve always wanted to incorporate the above formation of the CYLINDER vases in our home, but until this week, I wasn’t exactly sure where I would put them. After realizing that the gold-accented KASSETT boxes I used for the desk shelves in our guest bedroom didn’t fit exactly as I had hoped, I was left with a rather sizable empty space on the top shelf. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to utilize the CYLINDER vases.

I had always wanted to use the SMYCKA artificial orchids with the CYLINDER vase set (they’re the perfect size), but I had reservations about the flowers as they didn’t look too great in person. This wasn’t much of a surprise as they are from IKEA and they are fake, but I initially blew them off as I feared they looked too much like faux flowers.
SMYCKA Artificial flower IKEA Lifelike artificial flower that remain just as fresh-looking and beautiful year after year.

SMYCKA Artificial orchid flowers. Photo: IKEA.

Since I now planned to use the flowers up high (where no one could closely examine them), they were perfect for what I needed.

The only problem I had now was that I wanted to add some interest to the vases, and found a way to do so while also hiding their ugly fake stems. I decided to “dip-dye” them, which actually meant I would use painter’s tape and spray paint the bottom portion (trust me, this is much easier and the results are the exact same).

The room is rather beach/nautical-themed so I decided the best color for me was a periwinkle blue, although you can choose to use any color you likeI personally love the combination of shiny glass and satin, flat or matte paint (as opposed to gloss paint), so I made sure to use ‘Satin Touch’ spray paint for my project.


CYLINDER vases, set of three from IKEA ($14.99)
― spray paint (I used Krylon ‘Satin Touch’ Decorator Spray Paint in Periwinkle – $7)
― thin painter’s tape (I used 3M Scotch 1/8-inch Curves Tape – $5)
― regular painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue .94-inch Painter’s Tape – $5)
― plastic wrap
― drop cloth or newspaper
― rubber band (I actually used a hair tie)
― measuring tape


Take the widest, shortest vase in the CYLINDER set and put your rubber band around it, placing slightly higher than you want your vase ‘dipped.’


Use the measuring tape to measure the distance between the rubber band and the top of the vase. Go around the vase and make sure the rubber band is at the exact right distance from the top, ensuring an even line.


Apply the thin painter’s tape directly underneath the rubber band, making sure not to move it in any way (otherwise you’ll have an uneven line).

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Now that you’ve aligned the painter’s tape with the rubber band, cut enough plastic wrap to go around the portion of the vase you do not want painted. Align a strip of the regular painter’s tape along the bottom of the plastic wrap sheet. Tape the plastic wrap directly on top of the thin painter’s tape (make sure the wrap goes all the way around or you’ll have problems) and put the excess wrap into the vase.

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Before the big spray-painting moment, make sure you shake your can exactly as directed. Skipping this step and not shaking your paint enough can completely ruin a project.

Also make sure you spread out newspaper or a drop cloth on the ground where you plan to use the spray paint. I recommend at least a 3-foot by 3-foot covering, even for a small vase.


With your vase upside-down, use the spray paint on the uncovered portion of your vase. Make sure you spray it from a distance of at least 10 inches or you will end up with drip spots (these are a huge pain to fix, so be sure to follow the directions on the can).

If you need to apply several coats (I did), wait a few minutes between each one.

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Wait at least 5 hours for the paint to dry before you remove the tape and cover from the vase. Be very careful when you peel the tape as you can accidentally cause paint to flake off in the process, leading to an uneven paint line.

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Overall, I thought this DIY project was quite easy and my vase turned out exactly as I wanted. Although I’ve never tried the dipping-objects-directly-into-paint method, I can’t imagine it’s quite as simple or foolproof. If you are looking for a different color or sheen, I think matte white paint would look fabulous against the shine of these beautiful vases.

I came up empty when looking for the flowers I wanted from IKEA, but ended up buying some pretty nifty pink ‘flowers’ (made of dried leaves) as a temporary alternative. I actually love the ‘flowers’ but they don’t exactly work with this vase, so I’m hoping to return and find my faux-orchids this week.


IKEA hack: gold and marble VITTSJÖ nesting tables

Although I’ve acquired almost everything I need for our guest/cat room, I still felt like the space was missing something. After a bit of thinking (and measuring and floor-planning), I finally decided the room desperately needed a coffee table to fill the large space in the center of the room.

I had found an incredible hack on The Hunted Interior a few months back and it’s had me lusting after the VITTSJÖ nesting tables from IKEA.
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VITTSJÖ Nesting Tables. Photo: IKEA.

As I had already used gold spray paint and marble contact paper to upgrade a C-table from Coaster (very similar to IKEA’s VITTSJÖ Laptop table) for the guest room, I had all the supplies I needed to do the same with the nesting tables.

I set off to paint the metal portion in gold and use marble contact paper on the lower shelf (leaving the top glass shelves clear).


― VITTSJÖ Nesting tables from IKEA ($59.99)
― gold spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint – $11 a can)
― marble contact paper (I used Con-Tact Self-Adhesive Shelf Liner in Marble White – $6 for a 18 inch by 9 foot sheet)
― drop cloth (I used Warp Bros. Super Heavy-Duty Drop Cloth – $10)


Build the nesting tables according to IKEA’s instructions, except you will keep the top glass shelves and bottom shelf insert separate. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes.


Spread out your drop cloth (outdoors is best to help you avoid breathing paint fumes) and gently wipe down the tables with a damp paper towel.


Before using your spray paint, make sure you follow the directions on the can and shake it very well. This is important.


Use the spray paint to fully coat your tables. Make sure you spray from a distance of around 10 inches to ensure smooth application.

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While waiting for your tables to dry, trace the shelf on your contact paper and add 1/2 inch (larger than the actual shelf) on each side. Cut the contact paper according to your measurements. You will cut out a small square at each corner so that you can fold the contact paper around the shelf edge.


Remove the backing from the contact paper. Start by aligning the inside corner of the cut-out squares with the very tip of the corners on one short side of the bottom shelf. Use a ruler or straight-edge to steadily push out bubbles during application. Carefully fold the remaining short edges of the contact paper around each side of the shelf.


Once the paint on your tables is completely dry (wait at least 8 hours), complete the piece by installing the top glass shelves and bottom “marble” shelf according to IKEA’s instructions.

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The large empty space in the center of our guest room is truly the ideal location for these tables and they really help tie the room together. They are actually the perfect accompaniment to the C-shaped side table next to our daybed (which is also painted gold with a faux-marble contact paper covering on top) as well as the numerous gold-accented pieces around the room.

I bought an adorable marble tic-tac-toe set ($29.95) from Crate & Barrel to adorn the smaller table top (I’ll update the photo when it arrives). A petite potted faux-plant (FEJKA Artificial potted plant, $3.99, in a KARDEMUMMA Plant pot, $1.49) and several books, including Damien Hirst by Ann Gallagher, The Portable Magritte by Robert Hughes and The Photography Book, were just perfect for completing the lower shelf.

I may ultimately redecorate these tables, but for now, I think they look pretty good, especially considering they’re in the cat/guest room that few people ever go in to.

IKEA hack: gold-accented KASSETT storage boxes

IKEA’s KASSETT boxes are simply incredible for people with limited storage space as is the case in our home. The boxes are available in black and white, come in four sizes ― ranging from quite large (13″ x 15″ x 11 3/4″) to rather small (6 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ x 6″) ― and feature lovely metallic hardware. Oh, did I forget to mention that they are insanely cheap, too? They range from $3.99 to $9.99 for a set of two boxes.

I first fell in love with these boxes when we used four of the large ones (stacked two and two) to organize our enormous collection of DVDs. After some reconfiguring, we decided to house two of them in a small KALLAX shelving unit as they fit the unit perfectly.

In my seemingly endless pursuit to decorate our guest room, I realized that the medium KASSETT boxes ($6.99 for two) were the right size to fill a rather awkward shelving space we have above a built-in desk. I wasn’t initially sure the boxes would fit but the second-largest box size features the ability to turn the box either way (with the long-side or short-side facing out) as the hardware fits either side.

KASSETT Box with lid IKEA Perfect for newspapers, photos or other memorabilia.
KASSETT Boxes with lids. Photo: IKEA.

The only problem I had with the boxes (in terms of making them match the room) was that the silver hardware clashed as the metallic accent color in our guest room is gold. Since I was planning to use 12 of these boxes together, I realized that I would have to find a way to make the hardware gold. After a bit of thought, I figured it would be easiest to use gold spray paint on the separate box-front hardware and just use a gold Sharpie to color in the hardware on the pre-assembled tops.

To make sure the top hardware was colored in as cleanly as possible, I decided to use painter’s tape to keep myself from inevitably messing up.

Since I was dealing with 12 boxes, I decided to only fill in the accents on the box tops portions which were exposed (even I couldn’t even rationalize why I’d need to do every side).


KASSETT box with lid from IKEA (sets of two – $3.99 to $9.99)
Sharpie Metallic Permanent Markers (set of two – $2.50)
― painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue .94-inch Painter’s Tape – $5)
Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray Paint in gold ($12)
― drop cloth or newspaper


Start by spreading out a drop cloth or newspaper in your work area (outdoors would be best). Shake your spray paint according to the directions (this is important) and arrange the unattached front hardware pieces on your covered area.


Use the spray paint to fully coat the hardware. Make sure you spray paint both sides to assure complete coverage.

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(I forgot to take a photo of the original 10 I painted at once!)


Get out your painter’s tape and align it so that only the metallic box top edge is exposed. Depending on where and how you’re using your box, you may only need to color in one or two sides (whichever sides are exposed).


Color in the hardware using a metallic Sharpie.

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Proceed by following IKEA’s instructions, first inserting the newly-painted hardware (which should dry for at least 2 hours), and construct the bottom portions of the KASSETT boxes. (Note: Each box bottom takes only a few minutes to construct.)


Remove the painter’s tape very slowly or you risk the possibility of tearing the paper coating on the box tops.


Add the box tops to the bottom and voila ― you have new beautifully accented boxes!

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Although I had hoped to fit four boxes across on the top shelf, I found that although the box bottoms would fit, they did not when the tops were added. I’m going to find a better way to decorate the empty spaces on these shelves (I’m thinking of putting a vase with faux-flowers in the upper empty space). I still need one more box to fully complete the shelves, but I’m very pleased with how the boxes turned out!

best of IKEA: under $50

Finding products under $50 is certainly no accomplishment when shopping at IKEA, the cheap-item superstore. Locating their best quality products under $50, on the other hand, isn’t as easy as you might think. I’ve narrowed down my list of legitimately great and IKEA-trip-worthy products with under $50 price tags (ranging from $12.99 to $49.99).

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1. OLUNDA Framed picture ($29.99) – If you’re in the market for something pretty to fill that awkward space on your wall, this OLUNDA framed picture is just what you need. It’s quite a steal at only $30 with it’s lovely ombré styling and raised presentation (it’s more like a shadow box than a matted print, making it my favorite piece of art IKEA offers).

2. HÄMTA Carafe ($12.99) – The HÄMTA carafe is probably the one IKEA item I utilize the most. I had been searching for a large carafe with a drip-free spout for a while and most options I found cost upwards of $50. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered this beauty at only $13! I own two of these (I’m buying a third on my next IKEA trip) and couldn’t be happier with them. Use them for cocktails or wine at parties as they greatly improve table presentation. If you’re concerned about having trouble cleaning it, check out Reidel’s bottle cleaning beads ($12).

3. VITTSJÖ Coffee table ($49.99) – This is one of IKEA’s most versatile coffee tables and can’t be beaten for the price. It can easily be painted in any shade you like (I recommend gold or white) and the bottom shelf is removable if you’re going for a sleek, modern look. You can even place two next to each other if you have a large living space, although if that were the situation I would probably recommend the VITTSJÖ nesting tables (only $10 more and just as easy to customize).

4. MORUM Flatwoven rug ($39.99) – If you have an empty hallway in your home, nothing will make it look better than a nice runner. The MORUM flatwoven rug is the perfect size for any number of hallways and will match anything with its neutral color and simple weave pattern. Larger MORUM rugs can run you up to $139.

5, SLITBAR Chef’s knive ($49.99) – Can’t shell out for an expensive, brand-name knife? IKEA’s SLITBAR chef’s knife is the perfect solution. This reasonably-priced knife features a sharp steel blade and a beautiful wooden handle. It’s perfect for cutting through all sorts of things, even meat and difficult-to-chop root vegetables. Not only that, but it comes with a 25-year limited warranty and four other knives (bread knife, utility knife, paring knife and vegetable knife) are featured in the SLITBAR collection.

6. TÄRNÖ Bistro set ($49.99) – For an extremely affordable patio set, the TÄRNÖ collapsible table and chairs set is simply the best. With it’s easy construction (the table requires only two steps for assembly and the chairs are pre-assembled) and simple design, I really love this set for anyone needing cheap outdoor furniture.

7. TERJE Folding chair ($17.99) – I just love this folding chair. Whether you’re using it for temporary seating or not, the TERJE is a classic. If you’ve got a small living space and occasionally need extra chairs, this inexpensive chair (or a few of them) is exactly what you need.

8. BOSNÄS Footstool with storage ($14.99) – Want a cheap footstool? Yes. Would it be better if it featured storage? Double yes. The BOSNÄS footstool with storage has been such a perfect and exceptionally affordable solution to two of our crucial needs. Since its frame is made of steel and it has a cushioned top, you can even use this little guy for extra seating.

9. PS 2014 Duvet cover and pillowcases ($39.99 to $49.99) – I really love the patterns Margrethe Odgaard came up with for IKEA’s PS 2014 collection and I especially love the pattern on this duvet. It’s neutral enough to match a multitude of color schemes but also colorful enough to add a bit of interest to your bedroom.

10. GOSA HASSEL Foam pillow with cover ($19.99) – For a super comfy foam pillow (it’s not memory foam), the GOSA HASSEL is a steal at $20. With a washable cover included and temperature-sensitive foam filling, this affordable pillow is great for everyday or guest room use.

best of IKEA: casual modern decor

If you’re going for casual modern decor for your home and don’t want to break the bank, there’s no better place to start than IKEA. I’ve rounded up my 10 favorite pieces to decorate your home in a laid-back modern style, with pieces ranging from a $10 etched carafe to a $900 tufted leather sofa.

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1. SELJE Nightstand ($29.99) – The SELJE nightstand is shockingly cheap considering how incredibly functional and good-looking it is. With an opening in the back as well as another on the drawer front, this nightstand makes it super easy to charge your devices without unsightly cords. At only $30, the SELJE nightstand – also available in bright blue – is truly a steal for such an attractive and necessary piece of furniture.

2. STOCKHOLM Carafe ($9.99) – I’m just crazy about the STOCKHOLM carafe. The sleek glass carafe – made by skilled craftsmen – features delicate decoration around the middle which not only looks beautiful but also improves grip and helps prevent visible fingerprints. Use the carafe to improve your table presentation when serving your guests water, wine or cocktails.

3. TUVBRÄCKA Duvet cover and pillowcases ($19.99 to $39.99) – With it’s clean lines, black-and-white color scheme and hidden snaps, the TUVBRÄCKA duvet cover and pillowcase set is probably my favorite bedding option from IKEA.

4. MANDAL Bed frame with storage ($349 to $399) – The MANDAL bed frame, available in full and queen size, is perfect for a casual modern look with its birch wood exterior, white drawers and platform construction. For a bed that also includes storage, the MANDAL is an absolute steal with an under-$400 price tag.

5. NOLMYRA Easy chair ($39.99) – Considering it costs only $40, the modern NOLMYRA easy chair is a great seating option for those on a tight budget. The chair is extremely light and very comfy as it simply consists of a birch and steel frame with a soft mesh cover.

6. STOCKHOLM Table lamp ($119) – Although this lamp is rather expensive in comparison to IKEA’s other table lamps, the STOCKHOLM lamp is worth the money. With it’s clear etched glass base and contrasting shade, this 24″ lamp is a real stunner and would look great with just about any decor.

7. BLOMSTER Candle holders [(set of three) ($14.99) – The white BLOMSTER candle holder set adds a simple decorative touch to any room. The set, which also comes in clear glass, can be completed using the GLIMMA candles in metal cups ($5.99).

8. MELLTORP / REIDAR Table with four chairs ($261) – The MELLTORP table with REIDAR chairs is one of the best looking dining sets IKEA offers. The bright yellow chairs would add a lovely pop of color to any dining room or breakfast nook, especially against the stark white of the table. The chairs, which are made of aluminum, are also perfect for using outdoors.

9. KARLSTAD Tufted leather sofa ($899) with KARLSTAD Aluminum legs ($20) – For a leather sofa for under $1,000, it’s hard to beat IKEA’s white KARLSTAD tufted sofa (also available in black and dark brown). The leather, which is both soft and durable, looks amazing on the contemporary tufted cushions a la the classic Florence Knoll sofa.

10. MEJLBY Flatwoven rug ($79.99) – Featuring a simple yet modern blue and red striped pattern, the MEJLBY rug is ideal for bringing bold colors into any living space, especially if contrasted against white furniture (see the KARLSTAD white tufted leather sofa above).

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