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IKEA studio organization 1

I’ve been working to add more function and organization to the studio. The space is essentially one big room with no closets or closed storage. Thinking outside the box, I built a dry bar and made over a large armoire to create hidden storage. When it came time to load the drawers and shelves, I knew I wanted to incorporate a slew of baskets and bins along with other organizational accessories.

IKEA is one of my go-to sources for affordable and versatile small storage items. I have a mix of fabric and woven baskets from IKEA in Mabrey’s room and various boxes, bins, letter trays and magazine files (all from IKEA) in the kitchen office. Our kitchen is outfitted with many IKEA pieces as well.

It just so happened in the midst of making my shopping list for the studio, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming an IKEA brand ambassadör. Seeing as how I’ve been regaling you all with my fondness for the Swedish company for, oh, six years or so, I was very interested. To make a short story even shorter, I happily signed on to be an IKEA brand ambassadör. I liken it to the marriage of Brad and Angelina. IKEA and I have been living together happily for many years. Why not just make it official? It’s official! Not much will change on my end. I will still only share IKEA products that I would use regardless of a partnership, but the difference is I am being compensated to share those products. I just thought you should know.

My role as an ambassadör actually began a few months ago when I participated in an online program to learn more about the history and mission of IKEA. It was so interesting! Did you know that IKEA is an acronym (Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd) incorporating the founder’s name + the name of his family’s farm + the name of a nearby Swedish village? Or that Mr. Kamprad was passionate about life at home and would often visit other people’s homes and open their closets and drawers for inspiration? Or that the flat pack concept started when a designer took the legs off a table to fit it in her car? Or that a product design always starts with a price tag?

There are all these little backstories that have influenced the company in many ways, but the mission has always remained the same: to create a better everyday life for the many people. IKEA enforces this philosophy of democratic design by focusing on five key elements: form, function, quality, price and sustainability. Who knew so much thought went into a lamp or basket?!

Anyhow, let’s get back to organizing. Isn’t that what everyone does in January?

I finished my shopping list and made a quick trip to IKEA. (I strongly suggest making a shopping list before going to IKEA. Otherwise, you will be distracted. You will be tempted. Stay strong. Make a list and stick to it.) My local store is ~25 minutes away by minivan. It’s a blessing and a curse.

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IKEA studio organization 2

I grabbed two VARIERA flatware trays for some of the smaller drawers in the dry bar. They fit like a glove. I use one to corral kitchen paraphernalia (think break room > kitchen) and the other holds frequently used DIY supplies. Steve gifted me a portable tool box and a bunch of tools. I can’t tell you how convenient it is to have my own tools. Before, I was lugging stuff back and forth from our garage to the studio in paper bags.

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I grabbed a MAXIMERA drawer divider for each of the 36″ drawers. The drawers are deep and roomy. The dividers provide separation and keep loose items from sliding around. I used a variety of VARIERA boxes in recycled plastic and sustainable bamboo to corral everything from snacks to office supplies to toilet paper. The top drawer near the mini fridge holds kitchen items like paper plates, dried fruit and dish towels. There’s no water supply in the studio but there is a shared sink down the hall. When I need to wash dirty dishes, I grab the dishwashing box with dish soap, dish towels and sponges, place dishes in the empty bamboo box and go. I keep a few snacks on hand for me and the kids. We haven’t had any issues with mice in the warehouse and I’d like to keep it that way, so open food goes in TILLSLUTA bins with lids.

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The other top drawer holds cleaning and office supplies. I keep extra toilet paper on hand because no one likes being stranded in a stall with no toilet paper. The little bamboo box in the bottom right-hand corner is the designated “restroom box.” It holds a roll of toilet paper, hand soap and hand towel. (The shared restroom in the warehouse sometimes has soap but often times does not. I like to be prepared.) It has a nifty little handle which makes it easy to carry down the hall and back. The larger bamboo box in the upper right-hand corner holds notebooks, note pads, pencils, rubber bands, post-its, tape and other office supplies.

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The bottom drawers are mostly empty except for a few vases and pots which are kept in check by the drawer divider. I like having room to breathe and grow. I’d love to share the studio with other creatives.

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Speaking of vases and pots, they’re also items I particularly like scooping up at IKEA to hold greenery, fresh flowers and even crayons. The SINNERLIG pitcher is great for watering plants or serving drinks.

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I thrifted the brass bowl for 99¢ and plopped a vase of flowers inside for a layered look. The teeny wood bowl was another 99¢ thrift find that serves as a drop zone for keys.

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With the dry bar in working order, I turned my attention to the entry. I brought in a SORTERA recycling bin, and the space was in dire need of hanging storage for a broom, dust pan, coats and bags. I picked up ten BJÄRNUM hooks, spray painted them satin black then mounted them to a piece of timber salvaged from our home renovation. I made two hook racks consisting of five hooks each and hung them at adult and kid heights on a sliver of wall between the door and a concrete column. After they were finished, I realized I should have staggered the hooks on the bottom rack. Live and learn.

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I sanded down the boards but didn’t stain or seal them. I used wood screws to attach the hooks to the boards. I thought about disguising the stainless steel crews with black paint but ultimately decided I like the contrast. It is a warehouse so metal accents and raw wood feel right at home here. Even so, I could totally envision these hook racks in a living space.

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Each hook actually features two hooks so items can be hung in front of or behind one another to double the hanging capacity. One neighboring studio rehabs mopeds; the other is a rotating art gallery. Inevitably, grease, grime, paint and sawdust migrate into the space. It’s so great to finally have a place for hanging everyday items and keeping them off the floor.

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I love how the storage armoire turned out. To make it more functional, I loaded it up with a ton of baskets and bins.

armoire organization

The bottom serves as a mini garage of sorts and houses leftover paint, a tool box, a few battery-powered tools, a bucket, my sewing machine and looms.

IKEA studio organization 13

The upper portion holds crafting and sewing supplies along with paint and fabric samples. I left the lids off the KUGGIS boxes so they can hold even more. They’re 21″ long which means they extend to the back of the armoire and minimize wasted space. They’re made of recycled PET plastic, an added bonus. The SKOGSTA box is made from renewable acacia and is beautiful. It’s great for grabbing supplies from the cabinet and carrying them elsewhere to work on projects. The MÅLA paper holder and watercolor paints keep Mabrey occupied for hours. (Cheaper than a babysitter!) I love the texture of the MAGGA seagrass baskets against the black cabinet. Again, there’s plenty of room to grow as I take on more projects. I can easily move things around as needed for maximum efficiency.

IKEA studio organization 15

I wanted to hang a noticeboard of some kind on the interior side of one of the doors, but everything I found was too deep or too wide and would have interfered with the door closing properly. When I spotted the AVSKILD cork placemats ($4 for a 4-pack), they sparked an idea. I used wood glue to glue two placemats together, front to back. The result is a pair of noticeboards thick enough to push a tack through yet thin enough for the doors to close properly. Problem solved! I used damage-free hanging strips to attach the noticeboards to the door. They’re perfect for displaying photos, to-do lists and project ideas. I used an adhesive hook to hang a calendar on the inside of the other door (seen in the gif above).

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The new storage zones ensure that there’s a place for everything. With portable baskets and bins, nothing is permanent so I can easily switch things up or move things around if necessary. Everything is so functional! Finally!

What are some of your favorite pragmatic items from IKEA? We use the BEKVÄM step stool on a daily basis. I use it to reach items in cabinets above the microwave and fridge. Steve has used it as a stand-in step ladder for home projects. The younger kids use it to help out in the kitchen. Sometimes Mabrey even sits on the bottom step and uses the top step as a “table” to eat her lunch. Cheetah likes to nap on it next to the humming refrigerator.

*I am a brand ambassadör for IKEA. This post sponsored in part by IKEA. I received product and payment for this collaboration. IKEA is a registered trademark of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. and is used with permission. The views, ideas and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

46 Comments

14.January.2016

I’m so excited about this I loooove Ikea, Congrats! Great organization, the studio is looking great! I just have to say I love all the beautiful plants you’ve added, it gives the room so much life and adds the webit of color the room needs!

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replied on January 14th, 2016

Thank you! Must. Have. Plants.

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14.January.2016

I just love your studio updates. And of course I love Ikea. A perfect match, you two. Any chance you’ll be sharing more about how you spend your time in the studio? Pretty sure I’d just sit in it grinning all day at how awesome it is, but I’m guessing you are more productive than that. Keep the studio posts coming!

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14.January.2016

My favorite thing might be the umlaut o in “ambasadör.”

But it is a perfect match for sure.

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replied on January 15th, 2016

I know, right? That makes it very official. Haha!

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14.January.2016

this is one of my favorite posts that you’ve done…organization perfection. and spotting those jack and ella paper notepads was icing on the cake!

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replied on January 15th, 2016

Woohoo! LOVE your stationery.

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14.January.2016

I would LOVE to know more about the little plant stand next to the amoire!!

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replied on January 15th, 2016

Modernica! It usually lives outside our front door (at home) but I bring it indoors every winter so it doesn’t crack from snow/freezing temps.

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14.January.2016

All I want to say is that I want to be an IKEA Ambassador! Totally jealous of here. And the space looks fantastic…such an authentic vibe to it. And that armoire…meow.

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14.January.2016

I love this post, Dana. Your studio is gorgeous! Congrats, Ambassador! Thank you for sharing all your organization skills. #organizationlikeaboss You inspire me to get my sh*t together and organized. It makes life so much easier, now to get motivated. HA! IKEA, here I come—6-hours away!

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replied on January 15th, 2016

Get it! Haha.

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14.January.2016

Congrats on the IKEA collaboration! Can’t wait to hear more about what you’ve learned. Very interesting

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14.January.2016

What type of wood did you use for the shelves?

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14.January.2016

Love seeing this organization but most of all wanted to say I love how you test and play with photography. It shows you’re not afraid to try something new. Esp love the ones with you moving in them. What is a designed space but if not lived in, might as well show it that way! Kuddos!

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14.January.2016

If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly is a dry bar? How does it differ from a simple wall of cabinets?

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replied on January 15th, 2016

There’s a mini fridge? You sometimes see dry bars in basements for entertaining. Basically, there’s no plumbing.

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14.January.2016

I love how the studio space is taking shape! I am curious if you wish you had just little more space at home for something like this or if it is nicer to have a place to go, escape and leave the mess behind?

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replied on January 15th, 2016

I absolutely LOVE having a space outside the house for creative endeavors. At home, I am easily sidetracked by laundry, crumbs on the floor, dirty dishes, etc. So far, being able to start a project and walk away from it mid-mess without actually having to live in it has been so freeing. I can do so much more here that would be impractical or nearly impossible at home. Great question!

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14.January.2016

Congrats on the IKEA gig! Your studio is coming along wonderfully. You have really nailed that organic industrial vibe. I am looking forward to more posts about the studio and the lovely projects that take place there. Oh, and where is your flatware from? I love it- and everything else! *Snicker*

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replied on January 15th, 2016

That flatware may or may not be plastic leftover from Chipotle meals :/

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14.January.2016

Congratulations Dana! They couldn’t have chose a more perfect match as their brand ambassador – well done! Also, I can’t tell you how much I love the frequency of which you’ve been posting lately. :)

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replied on January 15th, 2016

Thanks Natalee!

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14.January.2016

It’s fun to see your ideas and solutions for studio storage. Nearly two years into having a studio, I’ve been through several re-organizations as my needs evolve. I also rely on a sink down the hall, so do dishes the same way you do!

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14.January.2016

Oh IKEA! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. We have a bekvam stool in almost every room in our house (and the garage). Love the bharnum folding hooks. The ubiquitous white flower pots in every size, all of our duvet covers, and of course, the old Expedit…we have 6! I’ve been avoiding our local store because I can’t seem to escape without spending at least $200.

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14.January.2016

It looks so nice. I am trying to do organizing in my wannabe craft/sewing/photography room and it is not so easy. I have an extremely tight budget. Gonna take a while!

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14.January.2016

A big fat congratulations!!!! LOVE Ikea! Can’t wait to see more and how you use/style it!

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14.January.2016

What is the studio for?

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15.January.2016

You really did great with the looks of your studio! Organizing can really make a huge difference. If I were you, I’ll always be excited to work inside that studio. :D

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15.January.2016

Keeping a studio well organized is really hard, congratulations! Thanks for sharing this awesome ideas with us!

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15.January.2016

Lovely! Is the plant stand next to the armoire also IKEA?

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replied on January 15th, 2016

It’s Modernica! It normally lives outside the front door of my home but I had to find a new home for it over the winter.

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15.January.2016

Awesome job on nailing this gig. It really is a perfect match for both parties. I love how easily you mesh simplicity with such impact. I have a kallax bookcase in my boy’s room. We use it for books and I am looking to add storage boxes. I want a industrial organic feel, any recommendations?

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replied on January 19th, 2016

We have several of the KNIPSA baskets in the (discontinued) EXPEDIT in Mabrey’s room and in the boys’ closet.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20110540/

They have held up great and I love the natural look!

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16.January.2016

Congrats Dana! I love when the blogs I follow (especially the ones I always come back to again and again) get compensation for all the hard work they do. There’s a handful of blogs (yours is one!) that I wish I could send a gift to say thanks for all the wonderful ideas, beautiful pictures and silly comments that make me smile. Thank you!

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replied on January 19th, 2016

You just made my day. xx

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17.January.2016

I love the way your space is coming along! I’ve been looking for a similar sort of studio in Atlanta for painting and crafts, but nothing (affordable) I’ve found comes close to looking this cool. And congrats on the IKEA ambassadorship!

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replied on January 19th, 2016

Thank you! Cheap studio space is one of the benefits of living in a ghost town, I guess.

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I love Ikea organizers. So clean lined, straightforward and multi-purpose! You’re armoire is gorgeous! I could use a piece like that in the dining room to spice things up. As always, your home is an inspiration to me :) I love that you get to collaborate with Ikea to share with us. So fun and beautiful!

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17.January.2016

Hi Dana! Your new space is looking fantastic – thanks for sharing! I am about to paint some hooks for our bathroom (they are currently white and I want them to be black). Did you use primer on your hooks before painting them?

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replied on January 19th, 2016

The Rustoleum brand I used is a primer + paint in one!

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18.January.2016

Where is that brown tote bag from? I have an impeccable eye for detail—just not the interior design kind ;) hehe

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replied on January 19th, 2016

It’s from Fount, a small company based out of Cleveland, Ohio. I love supporting locals. It’s the only bag I own at the moment. I’ve had it for over a year and it just keeps getting better and better with age.

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18.January.2016

So much organization envy…

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19.March.2016

Absolutely fantastic. I have always been a traditional style girl, but your blog is opening my mind to the beauty of modern. :) Where are the three baskets/bins/pottery on top of the armoire from?

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