Small-Space Apartment Makeover

Tiny budget. Cramped space. Dated decor. We gave two of our favorite Team DIY designers $1,000 and a challenge: Overhaul this tired apartment with IKEA finds, and make it suitable for living, working, and entertaining. See how they answered our call.

Money-Saving Makeover

Got champagne taste but a beer budget? No worries! Watch two Team DIY designers complete an outrageously chic apartment makeover with an incredibly modest amount of moolah.

Design Challenge

Meet Minneapolis stylist David Anger and his assistant, Stacy Schimke. Team DIY challenged these experts to put their savvy design caps on and redo two rooms in this urban apartment. The assignment: Create a space that makes a big impression on a small budget. The design decisions were up to them. We gave them three simple rules:

1. Live, Work, Play. Combine business and pleasure. The ability to work, live, and play is essential in this space.

2. IKEA Chic. Most of the items used in the apartment must come from our fave furniture superstore, IKEA

3. Frugal & Fun. Be thrifty. We gave the designers only $1,000 to bring nifty new style to these dated digs.

Grand Plans

Check out David and Stacy's new floor plan for the apartment. They turn the existing dining room into a sitting room. And their design opens up a functional station for work and hobbies along one wall of the living room. It looks good on paper, but can these two designers make their plan a reality on our meager budget?

Oh So Shabby

Before the designers got their hands on the 12x16 living room, there was a lot of shabby going on and not a whole lot of chic. The space felt cluttered. The placement of furniture around the TV made it a couch potato's paradise, but a nightmare for hosting parties or working on projects.

Stylish And Chic

Can you believe $494 makes such a difference? For the walls, our designers spent $35 on a silvery blue shade of Benjamin Moore paint that perfectly complements the existing pink-and-white color scheme and pops against the dark woodwork. They cut down on clutter with a $35 file cabinet from IKEA. By freeing up work space along one wall and hauling in a rug from another room, David and Stacy created a multipurpose area, then styled it with fab accessories. We love the $20 salvage lamp and $50 zebra-print footstools.

DIY Tip: Hang curtain rods near the ceiling to make a room appear taller than it really is. These IKEA sheers cost about $40 and were worth every penny: They not only lengthen the room, but brighten it, as well.

Double Duty

Desks from IKEA line one entire wall of the living room and create a much-needed home office area. But all work and no play makes us dull. When guests visit, the desks can be cleared to create an instant buffet and bar area. Talk about a party-ready pad!

DIY Desks

In only an hour, the designers built these perfectly pretty desks. Standing end to end, they serve multiple functions for minimal bucks. Keep clicking to see how David and Stacy assembled the desks from IKEA parts.

Curve Appeal

These $10 IKEA table legs hit all the right style notes for the base of the desks. With four legs on each desk, the designers spent $120. Then they covered the legs in a crisp coat of white. Paint price tag: about $4.

Tip-Top Table Top

Designers David and Stacy spent $60 total on three white tabletops from IKEA. The tabletops screw easily to the table legs for a smooth, finished look.

Pretty Ribbons

Our designers jazzed up the plain white desks with a few pieces of $5 ribbon attached to the edges with $5 spray adhesive. They kept it simple and classy with black grosgrain ribbon, but you could get great results with striped or patterned ribbon.

Make It Work

DIY Tip: Save money on home makeovers by using what you have. David's client found this mint green armchair at an estate sale. Though the green doesn't quite match the new color scheme, the chair's design fits perfectly with the room's cottagey theme. Not everything in a room must be matchy-matchy. David says he learned from his mother that one oddball color helps give a room chic personality.

Screen Prints

Apartment living often means dealing with oddball architectural elements and other unchangeable features. Designers David and Stacy got creative when confronted with an ugly radiator in the corner of the room. This $70 room divider hides the eyesore and serves double duty by showing off some colorful prints and plates. They used ribbon left over from the desk project to hang the artwork gallery-style.

Deserted Dining Room

Check out this dining room before David and Stacy got their hands on it. This rarely used space was a waste of precious square footage. And the washed-out color scheme didn't exactly invite dinner guests to linger.

A Lovely Lounge

With just $533, the designers transformed the dining room into a stylish lounge suited for cocktails and conversation. A simple $20 IKEA pendant light replaces the old, worn-out ceiling fan and breathes new life into the space. A $70 wicker chair (another IKEA find) with a $4 spray-paint treatment can be moved from room to room for entertaining or relaxing. The biggest splurge in the room -- a $299 dollar rug -- was well worth the money. It anchors the space and highlights the cute color scheme.

Coffee And Cocktails

Designers David and Stacy made this posh cocktail table with inexpensive items from IKEA. They used the same style legs as desks in the living room (these are a shorter version at smaller cost -- only $7.50 each). Then they topped the table with a $30 bevel-edge mirror for an expensive look that didn¿t drain the budget.


The awe-inspiring artwork hanging above the love seat is actually an $80 glass tabletop from IKEA. Love it! To create the fun pops of pink, the designers simply placed colored craft paper behind areas of clear glass. Together, the love seat and artwork form a strong anchor for the room.

DIY Tip: This tabletop is really heavy. Be sure to use the right type of hooks to hang something that weighs a lot -- in this case, 68 pounds! Mirror clips worked really well for our designers in this case.

Mission Accomplished

For only $1,027, our design team completely transformed the living and dining rooms of this apartment. Sure, they went $27 over budget, but we think those extra dollars were worth it. David's client -- the apartment's resident -- can easily shift from relaxing to working to hosting shindigs. All traces of boring are banished! A hip, young vibe now permeates this pad.

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