Episode No. 310

Artistic Living Room Makeover


In episode 310 of the IKEA Home Tour Series, the Squad shows Oak and Antonio how to turn their small, empty living room into a useful, creative space that they can show off to friends. Roommates Oak and Antonio found an apartment together as they follow their dreams in downtown Portland. When home, Oak and Antonio spend most of their time in their shared living room working or studying at their one small desk, and their free time is spent painting on the floor. They've had difficulty creating a space for them to both live and work. With no seating, no workspace, and no idea where to begin, Oak and Antonio have asked for the Home Tour Squad's help creating a dynamic and functional shared living room that can help make their small apartment an enjoyable home. The Squad began by defining the room - using the KNOPPARP sofa and MELLTORP table to create a living and dining space with enough room for relaxation and entertaining. Behind the sofa, the Squad added the SKARSTA sit/stand desk to create an art studio and workspace for both of them- allowing flexibility for creating, studying and working. The IKEA PS cabinet and GRUNDTAL drying rack gives Antonio a place for art storage- inspiring both of them to take more time to create. Oak and Antonio love their new shared space in their living room where they can comfortably work, have friends over, create art, read a book, and relax. With a new living room that works for them, Oak and Antonio can be more creative and productive allowing - them to be focused on their exciting futures.

Behind the Design

How to Create a Shared Space for Roommates

Oak and Antonio recently became roommates in downtown Portland, Oregon. They were both excited to make this big step in their lives and start focusing on their future careers, but after leasing the new apartment they were confused on exactly how to furnish their space. Oak and Antonio are both stylish and unique people and they wanted their shared living room to reflect that, but deciding on a layout was the biggest challenge. In the meantime they settled for one small desk, limited seating, and little personality.

Learn more about the design

Floor Plan

When designing a space, it’s best to start by deciding what you want to do in the space and how you want it to work for you. The activities that are most important to you should be prioritized and enough of the budget should be reserved to achieve the right solutions for those activities. For Oak and Antonio, we divided the four activities that were most important to them into four sections: working (1), soft seating (2), dining (3), and storage (4).


The most important thing for Oak was a place to study while Antonio needed a place to write and create new works of art. The addition of two SKARSTA sit/stand desks was a no-brainer for the two roommates. Placing the desks next to the large window provides Oak and Antonio with beautiful views of the city while they work and create. As a bonus, the desks are height adjustable, making it easy for Oak and Antonio to transition from sitting to standing while they work. Antonio was even able to add a fun, personal touch to the work area by painting the IVAR chairs they owned previously.

Soft Seating

Oak and Antonio were seriously lacking in seating options of any kind. By adding the KNOPPARP sofa, we not only provided a ton of extra seating but we saved on floor space and budget as well. The addition of the SVARTÅSEN laptop table and the LERSTA floor light made the sofa another comfortable place for Oak and Antonio to work or relax. Plus, the sofa is only 50 pounds, making it easy to transport when the time comes to move out. 


Oak and Antonio love having friends over for dinner parties and hang out sessions. By facing the sofa towards the dining table, we were able to create a flexible conversation area. Now, they can use the BJÖRKSNÄS bench while sitting down for a meal or pull it out from the dining table when having a conversation with someone on the sofa. A simple way we added a big impact to the space was with the addition of the SOFIA metered fabric, which we used to create custom curtains. By running the curtains from floor to ceiling, we were able to emphasize the height of the space, making the room feel larger and more vibrant.


Oak and Antonio desperately needed storage in this space. Antonio rides his bike every day but having it down on the floor was taking up valuable space. Incorporating two SKRÄLL hooks ensures that the bike is now out of the way but still easily accessible for Antonio. For everything else that needed to be stored, the IVAR storage system ended up being the perfect option. It has adjustable shelves, closed storage options, and the shelving units can be taken apart and stored flat on moving day.

When designing this new space, we focused on what was truly important to Oak and Antonio. The roommates now have a space that allows them to be completely focused on their future careers while showcasing their personalities and welcoming guests. And, when the time eventually comes to move again, they’ve gained the knowledge and skills needed to convert any new space into one that will really work for them.the knowledge and skills needed to convert any new space into one that will really work for them.

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