Ask an IKEA Designer

Woman seated on an apartment balcony with her eyes closed, enjoying the fresh air.

Ask an IKEA Designer

We know that your homes are working harder than ever right now. So we asked Canadians to share their top interior design dilemmas through Instagram. IKEA designers created stylish, functional solutions to make your spaces work better for you. Check out our followers' biggest challenges below and get inspired! 

Living more outdoors
Working from home
Living with kids
Small space solutions

Follow @IKEACanada on Instagram for opportunities to share your design questions with our IKEA Designers!

Embrace your own great outdoors

"How do I make the most of a small outdoor space?"

1. Think flexible

Fold-out furniture is easy to move around, and can simply be hung on a wall or stored away when not in use.

2. Use multipurpose pieces

An outdoor storage bench that doubles as extra seating, and an outdoor pouffe used as a handy side table makes smart use of a small space.

3. Go vertical

Using hanging planters or wall trellises means that outdoor spaces can feel like a garden oasis without taking up floorspace.

"How can we get some fresh air with a small townhouse patio?"

1. Move activities outdoors

Load everything on a utility cart, so simple activities like small planting or craft projects can be enjoyed outside.

2. Create a pop-up zone

Set up a cozy pop-up spot in the sun using portable and foldable furniture. Add blankets and outdoor cushions for an extra level of comfort.

3. Create an extension of your home

Bring out your textiles, add string lights and accessories to enjoy some fresh air and a little personal time.

Make your home work for you

"How can I set up my space to work from anywhere in my home?"

1. Keep your body comfy

A laptop pillow or portable table helps to get the computer at the right height to support the wrists and neck.

2. Think multi-use

A dining table can double as a desk. Just pull up a desk chair that you can easily wheel to the side when it's time for dinner.

3. Pack it away easily

Dedicate a box or basket to store your work supplies, so you can easily tidy them up at the end of the day.

"How can I make a home office in the spare bedroom?"

1. Natural light is key!

Besides ensuring better lighting for video calls, placing the desk to face a window will help prevent both eyestrain and screen glare.

2. Reflect your own style

Make your workstation blend in by coordinating the colours and textures of furniture and accessories with the rest of your room.

3. Create a mobile workstation

Choose a small drawer unit on casters to store your office supplies. It can also double as an extra nightstand for the spare room bed.

"How can I set up two offices in a very small space?"

1. Use the walls

Dedicate a cork or peg board to each person, so everything you need is within reach, and off the floor and work surfaces.

2. Think outside the “desk”

Add different work solutions like a laptop table with a stool or a lap desk to allow multiple people to use the space at the same time.

3. Two people, one desk

Opting for one larger desk can provide enough space and flexibility for either one or two people to work side by side.

Living with little ones

"How do I set up my space to home-school my kids?"

1. Create a workspace

Kids can easily get distracted, so try to create a dedicated study area in your home where they can focus.

2. Get organized!

Keep the chaos in check. Use our kids desk organizers, trays, or a bulletin board to keep things neat and tidy.

3. Incorporate screen-free techniques

Even kids can experience screen fatigue. Take a break with an easel or a white board to teach them their ABCs or solve a math problem. 

 "What are some creative ideas for kids using IKEA products?"

1. Get creative!

Taking out the easel and paint brush, or craft paper and markers, will unleash the little artist within.

2. Create space for movement

Set aside your ottoman and lay out some playmats for tumbling, playing, and gravity-defying gymnastics.

3. Involve the whole family in play!

Games are not only good for the kids but for the adults too. Unwind and enjoy a carefree moment of play together.

"What are some storage solutions for toys in the living room that look nice but still hold lots?"

1. Behind closed doors

Dedicate low shelves in a cabinet to toy storage. Solid doors will help to keep the space calm and beautiful.

2. Beauty meets function

Easily tidy up toys into stylish bins or baskets with natural textures like rattan and bamboo - they will seamlessly integrate into your decor.

3. Storage for the whole family

A coffee table or ottoman can double as a central spot for toys to live as well as a place to put your feet up.

Make room for what you love

"How can I separate living spaces?"

1. Create a curtained retreat

Installing a ceiling rail with textiles is an easy way to divide your space, create privacy, and reduce noise.

2. Separate your space but stay social

Use open shelving for extra storage that doubles as a room divider without making a small space feel crowded.

3. Get creative with your layout

Update your layout and use furniture to divide your space and create separate zones for work and leisure.

"How do I create an exercise area so I can workout at home?"

1. Create time and space

Dedicate a time for exercise and choose a room in your home where you can easily roll or move the furniture out of the way.

2. Make it a personal experience

Dim the lights, turn on some serene music, light a candle and Namaste. Self care can be this simple.

3. Use what you already have

There's no need for pricey equipment that takes up extra space. Use your sofa for dips, or repurpose a towel for a great resistance band.

"How do I organize a small space with no coat closet or shoe storage?"

1. Shallow is best

Stay organized and save floor space with closed storage. There's a spot for everything - from shoes and work gear to outerwear and car keys.

2. Sit and store

A hallway bench with built-in storage helps to optimize a small space and allows guests a spot to sit and remove their shoes.

3. Work with your walls

Keep coats, scarves and bags within easy reach by using wall hooks, rails, and hanging baskets to keep things tidy but accessible.

Looking for more inspiration from Canadian homes?

Share your space by tagging #IKEAinspo on Instagram for a chance to be featured, or browse our fan gallery to get inspired by the beautiful possibilities!