You Won't Believe This Interior Designer's Accent Chairs Are an IKEA Hack — 'It's the Pop of Color We Needed!'

These once-bland barrel chairs now feature bespoke upholstery with a beautiful botanical design

An entryway space with two flower patterned accent chairs
(Image credit: Ashley Montgomery Design / Lauren Miller Photography)

There's nothing we love more than an IKEA hack, but flatpack revamps can be pretty technical these days. We're always in awe of the impressive built-ins people create from IKEA's (dare we say it) bland furniture, but not all of us want our DIYs to involve power tools. Sometimes, it can be as simple as some bespoke upholstery.

That's all it took to transform these off-the-shelf armchairs into a thing of beauty. Interior designer Ashley Montgomery was tasked with transforming the June Motel in Ontario's Beaver Valley, and as part of the project she gave these basic barrel chairs a high-end makeover. The finished result is custom-made, budget-friendly, and so easy for you to try yourself and tailor to your tastes. If you thought IKEA hacks had to be technical, think again.

Two women covering two arm chairs with floral patterned slip covers

(Image credit: Ashley Montgomery Design / Lauren Miller Photography)

The inspiration for this IKEA furniture hack was born after Ashley Montgomery and motel owners April and Sarah had their eyes on a set of beautiful chairs. 'We fell in love with a design by Greenrowe but unfortunately it was out of budget, so we decided to get creative and find a fabric that gave us that same wow feeling,' says Ashley.

To recreate a similar look, they started with two IKEA TULLSTA armchairs. While the Swedish homeware brand offers three colors to choose from, none have the charm or character the team wanted to bring to the lobby space, so they decided some pretty pattern was in order. 'This was the pop of color we needed in the space,' explains Ashley. 'The chairs now help to ground the art wall and have become a piece of art themselves. It makes a great statement in the room.'

An entryway space with two flower patterned accent chairs

(Image credit: Ashley Montgomery Design / Lauren Miller Photography)

They sourced the fabric from Lulie Wallace and had custom slipcovers made for the chairs by J&J Fabrication. The unique, one-of-a-kind result has helped them achieve the 'cozy country girl' aesthetic they hoped for thanks to the whimsy botanical print that ties the whole space together. In total, their thrifty project saved them around $2,000 per chair!

It's so easy to replicate the same idea in your home for a statement living room accent chair, too. The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing the design of your material, and you could choose any chair that takes your fancy. If you're a dab hand at sewing, you could even make the slipcovers yourself, otherwise, send your measurements to your local seamstress to create your bespoke upholstery. There's no need to stop at one set of slipcovers, either. Having multiple designs stored away allows you to switch up your covers with the seasons - or your mood!

'Everyone has furniture they love but might not be your style anymore - but the bones are good,' explains Ashley. 'Hacks like this allow you to give pieces a new life and make it your own. This one allows you to get a custom-looking piece of furniture at a great price point - and fully unique to you.'

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Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.