Have you ever wondered who sets up the awesome IKEA displays in the showrooms? Walking through, I am in awe of the creative use of space and products in those spaces and I am often snapping photos and taking notes. I always thought that designing and building these showrooms would be such a fun and rewarding job! I had the pleasure of interviewing an IKEA interior designer at our local store, miss Ashlyn Games.
Ashlyn has worked at IKEA for over 7 years and has a degree in Interior Design from Colorado state university in Fort Collins, CO. You can view her portfolio here.
What are your top 5 favorite IKEA products?
KIVIK sofa … easy to build, best quality for price and super comfortable
KALLAX storage unit… can personalize with different types of boxes, stores and organizes small spaces leaving you free of clutter and easy to access the things you need to get to on the daily
All our open shelving… easy to install and flexible for storage in all rooms of the home or office
Bastis lint roller… I have a big white Fluffy cat and this is the best lint roller and under $2… plus you can buy refills so you don’t need to throw it away when it runs out.
PRUTA food storage… 17 piece set for $5 that lasts a while …. Tupperware shouldn’t be expensive and it helps having different sizes for whatever you eat… you end up saving money and being more sustainable instead buying plastic baggies for to go meals or baked goods to give away to friends/family.
What lead you to this career? How did you find your passion for design?
Initially I wanted to be a hair stylist, but my mom told me I had to go to college. When I was growing up, my mom was always working. She used to say “ashlyn yah room looks like a cyclone hit it” (in the best Boston accent you can imagine) My older brother always had control of the TV, so when I was home and bored I used to listen to punk music, clean and move all the furniture around in my room to different walls and change things up. I mostly wanted to impress my mom with how hard I could work too just like she did. I knew I had a passion for design but I didn’t know which aspect of design specifically. My older sister had a huge influence on me and she was dedicated to snowboarding, she got me hooked. I only applied to colleges near mountains that offered a design major so I could snowboard first and school second. CSU was the first school I heard back from so I took that as my ticket out of the east coast. The interior design program at CSU is very competitive, only admitting 40 people in the program each year. I am not one for competition and had a back up plan in case I didn’t make it in, but I surprised myself when I was accepted into the program. I had a lot of moments of stress and crying uncontrollably throughout my 4 years of studying. It was very demanding and tight deadlines. I remember telling myself I was wasting money on rent when I should just be sleeping in the computer lab because I spent 95% of my time working on design projects. Hardest 4 years of my life, but way worth it for the knowledge and time management I’ve obtained now in my career.
Have you ever designed/decorated someone’s home other than your own? What was that experience like?
I feel like that’s something I do in everyone’s home once I step foot inside and they know I’m an interior designer haha. But as far as actual projects, yes I have designed a lot of kitchens, space planned other rooms in the home and seen every phase from conceptual to full completed implementation. Seeing a client so happy and witnessing their emotional attachment to a space means I’m doing my job well and it’s one of the most gratifying aspects of the job.
What is your favorite interior design style(s)
I am drawn to a very eclectic style mix of modern and traditional but mostly clean lines and everything put away in something enclosed. That’s my personal taste for myself but there are a lot of styles I love to see but would not enjoy for my own personal space.
Can you remember your first design project?
Yes, I was an intern for an interior designer in Boston and she had me space plan a kitchen for a client using google sketch up. It wasn’t a paid internship, but I didn’t want to disappoint her so I probably spent 2 solid days working on multiple options because I was so nervous of messing up. The client loved all the options and picked the initial one I came up with but had a few changes he wanted to make. At the time, I was discouraged in myself that it was perfect but i didn’t realize at that time it was okay to not have something 100% finished in the beginning phases because ideas come up along the way and the plan can change multiple times throughout the process. Big learning curve there but it also made me learn to not be too emotionally attached to my own designs and be more receptive to feedback both positive and negative.
What is your favorite website/book/magazine on design?
I’d have to say Pinterest as cliché as it might sound but there’s a lot of inspiration that comes from that site.
What is one piece of advice you can give us about interior design?
Don’t be afraid to mess up because you can always start over. Sometimes the best design comes from making a mistake. That’s why they make spackle.
Any insider secret IKEA shopping tips you can share with us??
Shop AS-IS, it’s hit or miss but you can get good deals on things people return because they simply don’t like it or product displays that may have only been out for a couple days.
What are your favorite IKEA products? Have you ever gotten an idea from an IKEA showroom? Let me know in the comments !