[This post is sponsored by IKEA]

Ok, Robyn is flying solo on this one and apparently Robyn is also talking about herself in the third person again… no stop, let’s start this fresh. I was absolutely made up, and slightly terrified when IKEA got in touch to ask if I would go and sprinkle some of the trademark Donaldson Razzle Dazzle on a room set up in their Tottenham store. Three reasons for that: 1. I don’t fully know where Tottenham is 2. I only do things with Emma and the thought of not having my personal cheerleader there was scary and 3. I’m definitely still winging all this. But I said yes, because they asked and I love IKEA and you can’t just not do things cos you’re frightened (well you can, I won’t be sky-diving any time soon but you get me). Here’s how I changed the grey room of doom I picked into a maximalist grotto full of merry embellishments and quick fixes for entertaining this Christmas. I very much ho ho hope you enjoy.

a room with grey sofa. white lamp, rattan stools and green curtains
Imagine teenagers sat silently with their backs to you playing MarioKart with the headphones firmly on – bliss. Hang on, do teenagers still play MarioKart…

Sitting them down

I say grey room of doom but I’m actually pretty spoilt as the backbone of the space was there for me. The cleverly designed room utilised a VALLENTUNA modular sofa set up to create a cube that on one side offered children the chance to game and on the other adults the opportunity to cozy up and watch a box set. This is ideal when entertaining as it keeps the kids occupied and gives designated space for an adult natter over a glass or two of mulled wine. Some of the modules are pull-out beds meaning you can accommodate guests too – genius! The only thing missing was a coffee table because of the configuration but I problem solved by popping the SKOGSTA bench there. It can work as a side table, a festive ornament holder as I had it or, because it’s super-light can be shifted to create a makeshift dining table, snack shelf for movie night or even seating.

a room with a long table with Christmas trees on it and lanterns with a sofa behind and a green wall
Nothing says Christmas like popping eight Christmas trees in one small lounge
a room with a long table with Christmas trees on it and lanterns with a sofa behind and a green wall, pink art, colourful throws and a lamp
Why yes, I did add a load of colour
books with a candle and a christmas tree in front
The tiniest tree I ever did see

Setting the scene

We naturally want our homes to look their best if family are coming to stay but with all the preparations that go into the holidays, a full overhaul is usually not an option. You can make a big difference by adding a splash of colour, amping up the mood lighting and flirting with fragrance. Hit them with some sensory stimulators and they won’t notice the changes aren’t massive. First job was, of course, colour. An accent wall to signify the adult area and create a cosy corner and a highlight square to make art pop and unify the room. I then did a rug switcheroo to bind together the two sides of the room with a grown up grey squiggle on one side and a poppy green one for the youngsters to keep that visual message strong. I added some brilliant lamps, both electric like the pink Tokabo lamp and some tealight lanterns from the VINTERFEST range (which I will be buying and using all year round) plus some traditional gold pillar candles dotted about. All those candles can be lit to create a really cosy and romantic atmosphere. Then I added some vanilla ones to give it all a soft and enticing smell that keeps the comfort levels at maximum.

pink lamp and candle with festive foliage around it
I love this lamp more than I love Santa (close your ears, Santa)
gold candles in a festive garland
Imagine all the creepy crawlies if that were real.
a room with a long table with Christmas trees on it and lanterns with a sofa behind and a green wall, pink art, colourful throws
It’s like Where’s Wally in there but with lots of Wallys and the Wallys are Christmas Trees

Art attack

You know me, still the same O.G. I can’t cope without art and IKEA did not disappoint me one bit. Imagine my excitement levels as I went on a trolley dash around store looking for prints. I’m a big believer in rotating art when you want and to give the place an exciting and inspiring feel I went for neon typography juxtaposed that surrealist photography and mashup art fusing classic works with a punky, paint-splash aesthetic. Because you have standard sizing in IKEA, come new year if you want something a little different you need only pick up a few prints and you’ll have a whole new look without even having to bang in a nail.

people hold up pink art prints on a  green wall,
No, I was not bossing everyone about
christmas tree on a green wall with pink art and polka dot curtains

Somewhere to snuggle

So as I said the sofa was divine but you know what keeps family and friends happily sitting there for the long haul? Dreamy textiles is what. Plus they are an instant way to change up a space. I went for a variety of clashing monochrome patterns in adult corner with the HANTVERK, JENNYANN and JOHANNE throws. Then the provided ALMALIE and INGABRITTA for a bit more drama on the younger side. Cushions galore give you something to rest on, sit on or whack your sibling with and the cosy blankets are made for the inevitable afternoon snooze. The TURILL, GURLI and VENCHE cushions made a little sofa rainbow and bonus, the more there are, the less chance of anyone arguing over them. I also subscribe to the occasional curtain mode of thinking – why not change up those curtains as and when – nothing says it’s Christmas like a polkadot curtain. Well that’s the rule in my house, anyway.

black and white dot and paint splash and green cushions on a grey sofa
Question: how many amazing monochrome cushions can you find in IKEA? Answer: loads.
a room with a Christmas tree with a sofa and a green wall, pink art, colourful throws and a lamp. A tv is on a sideboard with festive foliage and a desk with a computer is next to it
Can I not just move in like the IKEA house cat
A green wall, pink art, colourful throws and a Christmas trees
So absolutely snuggly

Storage for all the stuff

With families comes stuff, a lot of it. So having sneaky storage solutions is key to minimising the risk of World War Three. These GAMLEHULT stools perfectly illustrate that, giving somewhere to pop plates while waiting for mum to clear up, cushions, colouring or serving a temporary tables or seating when you’ve got a house full. The sofa itself also has storage below to pop the debris in and even though the cupboards and units are covered in faux flora and fauna they are firmly unobstructed so you still have a place to put things with ease.

rattan stools, green rug and a sofa covered with colourful throws
How clever are these stools with thier little mouths
a festive wreath and gold candle lantern
Popping the festive decorations out of the way means there’s still room to access storage

A stupendous tree

That’s a bit misleading. I went for tremendous trees everywhere but was so happy when I got into the space and saw there was room for a centrepiece one too. The wonder of the IKEA tree is it’s fairly narrow meaning you can fit it in the kind of cramped space a lot of homeowners are faced with. Everyone wants a tall tree but they just take up so much room at the bottom. Then, because of the colour scheme, I decided to go for something completely different and only decorate with transparent polka dot baubles. The effect? A 90s fantasy if I do say so myself (I do, I just typed it). Add to that the myriad miniature trees, both Borrower and Hobbit sized, a whole load of fake foliage and wreaths to beat the band and you’ve got the most festive space this world has ever known, without taking up that much of the footprint of the room.

a room with  a green wall square, pink art, monochrome throws, polka dot curtains
What a majestic tree!
polka dot baubles on a Christmas tree
I love this baubles so hard

So there you have it, how I made some small changes to create a space perfect for entertaining the family, friends, neighbours and anyone else who pops by this Christmas. With IKEA’s combination of innovative storage solutions, tremendous textiles and jolly festive accessories, you can create a winter wonderland with just the contents of a trolley and a little imagination.

a room with a long table with Christmas trees on it and lanterns with a sofa behind and a green wall, pink art, colourful throws and a lamp
Et voila, the Robyn Donaldson Christmas grotto for IKEA. I’ll be there for knee-sitting every Saturday until Christmas (I’m lying, I won’t)
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