Laminate has a way of standing out and saying “Hello, I am definitely laminate!” — you can usually spot it a mile away. But, even when you begin with inexpensive IKEA furniture, there are lots of smart ways to take it up a notch or two (or even ten) so it looks less “just assembled” and instead more special. Squeeze out every drop of style with these simple tricks that make this material look a lot less like laminate.
Here, $7 MOSSLANDA picture ledges are painted the same color as the wall, and match the curtains (also IKEA) almost exactly, which makes this room from Stylizmo come off as very intentional and well-designed — certainly the opposite of an inexpensive impulse buy made of laminate.
There are a few tell-tale signs of laminate furniture and shelf pin holes are one of the big ones. But thankfully, there are a couple of easy ways to banish them from sight. When making a basic bookshelf look more built in, Design 69 not only painted them gray to blend in, but also filled all the interior holes so they magically disappeared. Caulk works nicely for this, but IKEA actually makes hole covers just for their kitchen cabinets.
Angeline Guido Design wrapped her office’s resource library in BILLY storage. By layering in a walnut top, custom walnut bins, and walnut legs, the bookcase presents more as “real wood” than laminate. The ladder is a nice final touch.
Another good way to camouflage the laminate is to wrap it entirely in wallpaper or fabric. Domino shared this bright and fun version of IKEA EKBY shelves and brackets covered with a marble pattern. The good thing about this is, if you get sick of the print, wrap it all over again for a brand new look.
It looks particularly luxe when done in a dark material, like this table from Sarah Sherman Samuel, which is about as far away from flat white as you can get. The black marble contact paper looks utterly expensive and stylish, and so not cheap.
By adding materials not typically associated with IKEA — like the textured cane webbing seen above — it’s easy to forget this is an inexpensive wardrobe. This furniture hack from Fabrica de Imaginacion, who added custom doors to a laminate frame, looks much higher end. (We also used cane to upgrade a basic twin bed last year and loved the result.)
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