Style lowdown with IKEA

Sweden has brought us many cool things (Absolut vodka, anyone?), but the one thing we can all be grateful for is…IKEA. Whenever we think of simple, stylish and affordable home interiors, there’s only one place to go, and the much-loved store has literally changed the way we design our homes.

It’s also compulsive, making you believe you need EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you the countless times (and countless hours), where I’ve gone to buy floating shelves or something actually needed, only to come home with a floor lamp, sofa bed, glasses (because you can never have enough), a rug, and the compulsory scented candles. But wait, no floating shelves! Many a time I’ve seen people (like myself), squeeze giant flat-packs into their cars without measuring a thing, because quite frankly, they just had to have it!

It’s this art of tapping into consumer trends and needs that makes IKEA so popular. One woman responsible for creating this frenzy is Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader from IKEA UK and Ireland. I catch up with her to talk this year’s exciting Spring/Summer trends, and find out the secret behind IKEA’s success.

Firstly, what is your role and what does it involve? I’ve been working for IKEA for over 16 years. I started in 2001 at the first store in Rome, whilst I was finishing my masters in architecture. Taking my next steps within IKEA, I moved into the UK in 2010; firstly at store level, then joining the Service Office to support the UK & IE organisation in 2012.

Clotilde Passalacqua Photo © Joel Chant

My role is varied. I’m responsible for the way we present the range and showcase IKEA home furnishing expertise in all external media. This includes TV advertising, store pre-opening campaigns, social media and external events. It is key to ensure that those reaching us using channels other than through the stores, still understand how IKEA can help them to improve their everyday life.

This SS18 season has four amazing trends. How does IKEA predict trends? And where does the inspiration come from? IKEA looks at a variety of channels to shape their trends. Wider macro trends such as living space and the environment shape the larger collections, whilst fast-changing trends such as fashion influence seasonal and limited edition ranges.

PH146282, ODGER chair £65, BJURSTA extendable table £140, TUTEMO open cabinet £26, METODBlurred Boundaries  Within the Blurred Boundaries trend, indoors meets outdoors seamlessly, reconnecting us with nature as well as giving the feeling of bigger living spaces to enjoy.

PH142863, MASTHOLMEN armchair £87.50, KUNGSHOLMEN sofa £498, BILLY bookcase £250,For those lucky enough to have an indoor and outdoor space, include items such as the MORUM rug and YPPERLIG chair, whilst those who don’t have access to a garden or balcony can still create the outdoor look by dressing a room with plants.


Urban Youth The Urban Youth trend focuses on how young people are using home furnishing products in their day-to-day life as a form of highlighting their belongings, and therefore their personality.

Picture 292 PhotoRepro:1The likes of the upcoming SPANST collection is central to the trend and creates a minimalist but statement look and feel that perfectly suits an Urban Youth lifestyle.


Bold personality With a focus on oranges, bright blues and vibrant yellows, this Bold Personality focuses on injecting energy and fun into the home by creating pockets of colour and texture through soft furnishings, striking patterns and large, bold pieces of furniture.

PH147115A great way to create the Bold Personality look at home is to step away from an all-white space and introduce colourful and striking patterns.


Quirky designs such as those seen in the new OMEDELBAR collection, and playful colours shape this trend to create an environment of energy and fun within the home. To stop the look becoming too overpowering, pair with a minimalist sofa such as DELAKTIG.

Fluid spaces With more people than ever moving to cities, and the average home in the UK shrinking in size, there is an increasing need for homes that can constantly change and evolve – not only from month to month, but also throughout the day.

PH148100The Fluid Spaces trend is about flexible products that can adapt to different styles and functions. To keep up with constantly changing trends, buy modular furniture such as the VALENTUNA sofa, which can be added to and moved around at ease to adjust to changing home needs.


When creating the look, the use of storage units with a simple design work well and will fit into any room design.

IKEA has revolutionised the way we design our spaces. Why do you think the brand continues to be so popular? I think IKEA has been so successful because research is such a key element in the design process. One thing that most customers aren’t often aware of is that stores frequently visit homes in the surrounding area to learn about living conditions and habits in the community.


The store then replicates the rooms in store to show customers inspirational set ups which they can achieve at home. For example, in Wembley (London) the room sets are much smaller because people in the area typically live in small flats, whereas in America, room sets can be double the size as houses are a lot larger.

What are your personal favourite IKEA styles/products? STOCKHOLM is definitely my favourite range. It is timeless, elegant and any piece you buy will last you forever. I have an armchair and many accessories, and each time I have moved, it has been easy to integrate them into my new home.


So which of the four trends suits your lifestyle and home? I think mine would be Blurred Boundaries, as I love nature and exotic botanicals in my space. Although, I do love Fluid Spaces as I have a thing for clever, modular storage that can be moved around. 

If you’re stuck on how to Spring-style your home, you can check out more of IKEA’s room ideas here.

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