Episode No. 313

Awkward Living Room Design Ideas


In episode 313 of the IKEA Home Tour Series, the Squad works with Cristina and Krysta to turn their awkward living room design into a stylish, multipurpose space. Cristina and Krysta recently bought their first home together in Sea-Tac, and live there with their dog Whiskey. The space works for Whiskey, and while they've been able to complete most of their home, they're stumped when it comes to making the most out of their all-in-one living room, dining room, and entryway. Without a dedicated entry, shoes, jackets, and bags become cluttered, and their living room seating isn't ideal for more than one person. The pair are out of ideas for making their new home their own. The Squad got started by putting in a PAX wardrobe in the entryway, with plenty of space for everything they want to tuck away. Doors on the front hide the ample room for storage, and its shallow depth makes sure it doesn't eat up all the floor space. A VALLENTUNA sectional and EKERÖ armchairs create plenty of seating in the lounging area, while a BJURSTA extendable table and HENRIKSDAL chairs provide plenty of room for entertaining. With this versatile living room design, Cristina and Krysta are able to make the most of their home. For more information on the design, layout and products used, check out our “Behind the Design” blog below!

Behind the Design

A Starter Home That Makes a Big First Impression

Cristina and Krysta have been together for six years and they recently decided to purchase their first home together in SeaTac, Washington.The space was great for their new puppy, Whiskey, and while they were able to complete other areas of their home, they were stumped when it came to their living/dining area. It’s the first room you see when you enter the house and it wasn’t making the greatest first impression. They didn’t have a good entryway solution and working around the fireplace, windows and other architectural elements made furniture layout difficult. The IKEA Home Tour Squad worked with Cristina and Krysta to transform their living room into the functional, stylish and inviting haven they were dreaming of.  

See how we did it


When confronted with an awkward layout it’s important to keep an open mind and consider multiple options. Cristina and Krysta wanted the space to feel ‘grown up’ but still reflect their modern and casual aesthetic. Working with the existing architecture we mapped out the space into 4 major zones: The entryway (1), a flexible lounge area (2), a dining Space (3), and even a nook dedicated to their puppy, Whiskey (4). 


Not every home has the luxury of a dedicated foyer or entry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a beautiful and functional solution. Nowadays, there are a multitude of options out there and it’s really just a matter of deciding what your priorities are.  In this case, shoes were king!  Cristina and Krysta are avid shoe collectors and knew they wanted a dedicated spot to house their shoes.  In addition to shoes, they needed a suitable place for mail, keys, jackets, dog accessories, and other come and go items. Enter PAX. This wardrobe combination was the perfect solution for a number of reasons. The mixture of shelves, pull-out baskets, hooks, and rails provided all the storage they needed and, because of the shallow depth, we were able to maximize the entire wall without eating up valuable floor space. Because the piece is so prominent in the room, they wanted to be able to hide everything away and the addition of doors really made the solution fit seamlessly into the space.


Cristina and Krysta wanted space to entertain. Creating an area that’s centered around conversation and entertaining is quite different than one centered around television and movie watching. Think about opportunities to create multiple conversation areas and consider furniture that allows flexibility.  We decided to use VALLENTUNA as the main seating in this space for exactly those reasons. Being able to customize this piece allowed us to leave the back off the sofa which, in turn, created a much more inviting and open feel to the living area. Now, they can create multiple seating arrangements when they have guests over or cuddle up together with their puppy during quiet nights at home. A pair of EKERÖ chairs and a SKOGSTA stool complete the arrangement and give Cristina and Krysta a space that feels formal enough to host guests yet comfortable enough to lounge in every day.  


When the goal is entertaining, the dining area is just as instrumental as the lounge space, and choosing the right table is critical. We know that a good dining table gets used for far more than just eating, which is why bigger is better! That said, in a small space you don’t always have the luxury of a large farm style table, so looking for one with leaves may be the perfect solution. In this case, the BJURSTA dining table fit the bill. It was large enough for the couple to use every day for work and dining and the 2 additional leaves allow them to expand it to accommodate up to 8 people when they have guests. We also wanted to make an impact with the lighting but didn’t want to overwhelm the space. Three NITTIO bulbs with HEMMA cords gave us all the style we were after without overpowering the rest of the room, and at $45 it didn’t break the bank!

Dog Zone

As with most pet owners, Cristina and Krysta’s puppy, Whiskey, was just as important in planning this space as any other member of the family. As such, we made sure to include an area just for him. The nook near the kitchen provided the perfect landing spot for Whiskey and his things. It was close enough that they could keep an eye on him without his kennel having to be front and center in the living space. A simple SKOGSTA shelf and FJÄLLA boxes were all we needed to keep his items organized and accessible. We also took advantage of the unused wall space by adding four NISSE folding chairs; perfect for extra guests during competitive game nights at the dining table.      

Small spaces come with a variety of challenges and fitting in multiple functions can seem daunting. However, with an open mind and some clever furniture choices, even the smallest space can be completely transformed. The lesson in this space was priorities. Understanding exactly how you intend to use the space and building your choices around those functions will undoubtedly give you the best result. Less conventional pieces might actually work better than what you are traditionally used to. Think outside the box and don’t hesitate to rethink a solution if it’s not working for you; nothing is set in stone. At the end of the day, you want your home to be a reflection of you! So take some time to make sure it’s the best you.  

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