Before and After: This IKEA HAVSTA makes a statement in a pastel-hued room

IKEA is known for its minimalism, but this design celebrates daring textiles and indulgent color

IKEA HAVSTA
(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

The IKEA HAVSTA is a hackable icon. This versatile storage unit has succumbed to a series of makeovers throughout its reign – but few are as transformative as our latest crush. 

If you're looking for an unrecognizable IKEA hack, designer Claire Douglas (opens in new tab) has the answer. The design enthusiast has revealed her recently renovated living room that draws from the HAVSTA to create a pastel-infused space that demands all attention. Here, Claire (@instahome_uk (opens in new tab)) reveals how she turned her unit into a stylish statement piece – so you can recreate her modern decorating idea in your own scheme.  

IKEA HAVSTA before 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

Prior to the makeover, the living room was wholly neutral, with minimalist units and a large TV that sat as the focal point in the room. However, after picking up some HAVSTA (opens in new tab) units from IKEA, Claire decided to transform her space. 

'I hoped to create a more bespoke look, and these units were more for aesthetics than function,' she says. The designer spent lots of time experimenting with sketches until she decided on the look that was right for the space. 

'I wanted the larger section in the middle of the unit, so I decided to move the central, structural shelf. This was easy to do and just required a couple of new drill holes,' Claire explains. 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

After deciding on the design that worked best in the room, Claire built and attached her frame to attached the MDF panel to add both units to the wall. The designer then added an MDF panel to cover the gap between the top of the units and the ceiling – to emphasize the bespoke aesthetic. 

She then added lights by attaching the frames of the units with screws and a piece of wood to the ceiling to ensure they were sturdy. 

'I'd pre-measured where I wanted the picture lights to go. I then marked out the template for the backplate of the light and made the hole that would be required to bring the wires through from behind,' Claire says. 

IKEA HAVSTA after  

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

Once Claire had completed the main structure, she added more MDF strips around the edges of the unit. 'This gave the appearance of thicker wood on the unit and allowed me to balance out the width difference between the top and bottom units,' she says. The designer had also filled the predrilled holes to conceal its flatpack roots. 

As with every great IKEA furniture hack, Claire decided to change the HAVSTA's handles. In this case, she used some half-moon-shaped handles that elevated her unit further. 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

For the finishing touches, Claire reveals that she went 'a bit experimental' as she hoped to create a 'rounder, more tubular texture.'

'[I was] trying to use more sustainable materials than plastic so ended up using cardboard postal tubes in the sides of the units and inside the top and bottom shelf compartments,' she says. Claire used Lick's Teal 01 (opens in new tab) and Pink 01 (opens in new tab) to conclude the pastel-perfect transformation. 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Claire Douglas / @instahome_uk)

This is the modern living idea our homes deserve – pastel tones at the ready.   

Megan Slack
News Writer

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.