How I refreshed my dining room with IKEA (on a AED500 budget!)


I don't think I need to introduce you to the Swedish powerhouse that is IKEA, do I? Their furniture is so ubiquitous I have actually NEVER seen a home (and trust me, I have seen A LOT of homes in my line of work!) without spotting at least one item from the flat-pack Promised Land. I read somewhere that one BILLY bookcase gets sold every 10 seconds. And I didn't even flinch. Both my houses in London and Dubai are full of IKEA gems, I actually love shopping there, and as it turns out even the peeps from Games of Thrones shop in IKEA

So when their lovely digital team (from IKEA, not GoT!) got in touch to discuss a collaboration, needless to say, I was on it like a bonnet. So let's not beat around the bush and immediately reveal the purpose of this post and introduce you to their latest clever campaign, Easy Renewals. And it does exactly what it says on the tin: small changes to your space that make big impact, without spending a lot of dosh, using IKEA accessories. At this point, may I direct you to the tagline of my blog to illustrate how apt this collaboration is... 

I then set myself a challenge: how to refresh my dining area with a tiny budget of AED500 (that's roughly £100 if, like me, your mind still functions in sterlings) using products from IKEA's Easy Renewals range. I ain't going to lie, guys, I got slightly nervous when I picked up all the stuff from the Dubai store as once the 2-page shopping list print-out was physically in my trolley, it didn't feel like much at all... But as you can see in the shots below, I was SO wrong and it was indeed the smallest changes that made the biggest impact. And I am happy to report that only a minimum of furniture assembly was involved. 

Easy Renewal: The 'AFTER' shot of my dining room refresh using IKEA accessories... (Photo credit: Karen Pissarra at  Design k ) 

Easy Renewal: The 'AFTER' shot of my dining room refresh using IKEA accessories... (Photo credit: Karen Pissarra at Design k

BEFORE: This is how my dining area looked last week...  (Photo credit: Karen Pissarra at  Design k ) 

BEFORE: This is how my dining area looked last week...  (Photo credit: Karen Pissarra at Design k

So shall we go through what I bought and used to update that room?


I think the biggest change is the new colour scheme with the set of yellow curtains - the model is called MARIAM and they are indecently affordable. I love the colour combo of yellow, black and white so much, I don't know why I have not used it before. The room feels warmer and more inviting, even more so in the flesh. 


On the table, I used the simple yet expensive-looking MARKNAD linen place mats in dark grey. Can I just say they're 11 dizzies each?! I know, I couldn't believe it either. I added a few touches of brass with the STOCKHOLM bowl, some florals with one of their FEJKA artificial orchids, as well as a simple FENOMEN candle (styled in a glass vase as sadly my original choice the brass version of the ERSATTA candle holder is now discontinued).


I updated the artwork to match the new colour scheme and moved the festoon lights to one side (these are incidentally lights I already owned from IKEA). I got a couple of extra black RIBBA frames to display my two new prints (available from Stella + the Stars' e-shop La Boutique) paired with a quirky photography piece I bought years ago that was sitting in my home office.

For extra storage, I chose the RÅSKOG trolley - it's possibly one of the most chic and versatile items in IKEA. I love the jet black colour and the industrial feel it adds to the room. I accessorised it with black crookery, brass cutlery and glasses, as well as a lovely carafe from the 365+ collection. 

And that my friends, is it. So total spend - AED 515. How's that for budget styling?!

I don't usually need an excuse to plan an IKEA shopping excursion so I obviously loved the experience. I usually do this for clients though so to do this for my own pad was a good reminder that a little revamp every now and again is always a good idea. Especially when you get the redecorating itch but have no budget to relieve it. It keeps things fresh, makes you re-assess your style and how an existing room can work and even better it doesn't need to cost the Earth (or should that be the Palm?!).

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And check out the Easy Renewals range on the IKEA website.

This post was sponsored by IKEA UAE (a girl's gotta eat), but as always, all opinions, questionable jokes and sarcasms are my own. I only work with brands I genuinely love and would buy products from anyways. If you’re a brand interested in working with Stella + The Stars, please contact me on

All the photography is by the uber talented Karen Pissarra from Design K.