We鈥檙e frequently singing the praises of the versatility, affordability and ample hack opportunity of IKEA鈥檚 wide range of furniture and home goods. When it comes to small space living, you just can鈥檛 beat their prices and multi-functional pieces for that #apartmentlife. But what if you鈥檙e not living in a teeny tiny studio apartment? Can IKEA鈥檚 furniture still give you a stylish interior on a bigger scale? That鈥檚 the question Lennar Homes asked when they came up with an idea to outfit a full-size home on a budget.

Lennar Homes chose Beasley & Henley Interior Design designers to tackle the challenge of outfitting two 3,000 sq. ft. homes with only IKEA furniture and decor. The designers worked with Shandy Deguzman at IKEA to really embody the IKEA brand. While IKEA is a great source for small space decorating, this high-end interior design project turned IKEA decor into something for everyone. Read on for the DL on how interior designer Sam Baker nailed the challenge and what skilled decorators always reach for when shopping at the home decor giant.

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What was the overall vision for the homes you decorated?

鈥淔or the Asheville I imagined a large extended family gathering at the dining table 鈥淓uropean style,鈥 with plenty of room for aunts, uncles and baby cousins. I allowed a large dining room table to invade the living area, making it a central hub for dinners, homework or craft projects. I thought about the family entering the house from the garage with groceries, backpacks and sports equipment, making sure they had efficient stop-and-drop points so they could keep their living space clear of clutter. The colors were bright blues and creams with pops of orange.鈥

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鈥淚n the Rio I took a more sleek and contemporary approach infused with natural greens and yellows for a touch of Zen. In this home I geared the downstairs area for the adults in the family and made sure the kids had a great room to relax and play in.鈥

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What pieces of advice do you have for someone wanting to decorate their home all in IKEA?

鈥淭hink outside the box! Use items in non-traditional ways. Consider fabricating window treatments from a duvet cover. Cluster accessories and art together more tightly. Double up on pillow fills or use a larger fill than is called for.鈥

What are your three favorite must-have pieces from IKEA?

鈥淭he Stockholm Sandbacka Green Sofa is one of my favorites; it鈥檚 very swanky and impactful. The Stockholm black and white flat weave rug is sharp in almost any room. I鈥檓 also a huge fan of IKEA鈥檚 light fixtures, particularly the Hektar pendant lamp.鈥

Do you have any designer tips for making IKEA furniture look more luxe?

鈥淧aint accent walls; this makes the furniture pop and makes the room look fuller. Have two rugs sewn together for a larger room. Make use of the IKEA light fixtures 鈥 this helps fill space if your home is on the large side. Think about all of the ways you use your home and what items you need to store. You will never run out of options to maximize efficiency at IKEA.鈥

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Was it harder or easier than you expected to decorate using only IKEA furniture?

鈥淚 was prepared for the scale of the furniture to be challenging since IKEA products are meant to maximize small spaces and larger rooms take more furniture to fill. Accessorizing was difficult because we were only using IKEA accessories and eventually we ran out of selections. So the challenge was to make the accessories stretch and to figure out how to use items in new ways. For example, making a tiered planter into an organizer and using a magazine holder as a corner shelf.鈥

We love a good IKEA hack! Was there any hacking during the decorating process?

鈥淲e did not use IKEA hacks because we wanted to stay true to the brand. However, we did convert picture frames to trays, used crates to create a living wall and turned framed fabric into art. So I suppose those could be considered IKEA hacks on their own!鈥

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Where did you find most of your inspiration?

鈥淗onestly, the IKEA showroom is rich with inspiration. They have so many uses for a single product and often turn tradition on its head.鈥

Are there any other budget-friendly stores you would suggest shopping for additional decor?

鈥淗omegoods, Wayfair and Overstock.鈥

If you could choose only one thing to update the look of a room, what would it be?

鈥淎 new rug or new pillows. Those things can really change up an entire look.鈥

Are you planning a trip to IKEA yet? Head over to our Pinterest page for decor inspo and lots of IKEA hacks!