Like many women of my age and socio-economic standing, that being, young and thrifty, I love IKEA. I have opened an IKEA catalogue more times than I have opened a bible, I have the IKEA expansion pack for The Sims 2 and I thoroughly enjoyed IKEA scene in (500) Days of Summer. I often joke that IKEA is the only designer I can afford, and it’s true. I regularly draw inspiration from the IKEA showroom and catalogue in conjunction with other sources and my own personal style when decorating my home. One design trend I’ve noticed a change in from the 2010 catalogue to the 2011 is where once every picture displayed a paradigm of regimented order and organization they now depict what can only be called contrived disorder.

Through my extensive IKEA research I have discovered that the most overwhelming home decorating trend for 2011 appears to be the comfortable lived-in look, or at least the illusion there of. While it may be fashionable to casually toss your favourite blanket on your chaise lounge when you are done using it instead of folding it up and putting it away, the look will not be pulled off if the rest of the room is in the same dishevelled state. The next year will not be a full on rebellion from the previous year’s meticulous order, the familiar clean lines of previous years must be observed for the confined chaos to have the desired effect. For example, IKEA seems to love playing with the idea of a bookcase, with its strong, bold, perfectly straight, level and uniformed selves, housing a curiously careless disarray of books and other random relics. For the room to look right, items can only be placed haphazardly if they are on or near highly structured pieces inhabiting the same room.

The primary victim of my experiments in decoration is my fiancé, who often teases me on the fact that my second favourite colour is white, “you can’t choose white, it’s not even a colour, it’s a shade!” says the man whose favourite colour is black. Lucky for us, this means that when we merge our styles, we come out with a beautiful black and white background to apply our more daring palate of tastes. Fortunate again for us, IKEA designers have embraced this style as a good thing. Throughout the pages of the 2011 IKEA catalogue, almost every glossy picture shows a room full of large, standard pieces of furniture in neutral and natural colours like blacks, whites and browns while leaving the new, exciting, avant-garde colours to the small, dynamic accessories.

The fresh edge for 2011 is that this year, red will be considered a neutral in home decorating. This means that larger, more enduring décor can be brought into the home without fear or hesitation. This also means that colours once though to clash with red, blues and greens for example, can now be seen together without glare. This holds true whether the colours are coexisting in the same room or on the same cushion.

Although IKEA offers many differing objects in many differing styles, and in my eyes, sets the home décor standards, if you fill your home with these treasures to the point that your house reeks of IKEA, it won’t hold much intrigue or integrity. The trick to it is to draw inspiration from many sources and find your pieces from even more sources. If you really want your home to express your creativity and individuality, the best place to find your furniture is used, vintage or antique stores, and sometimes – if you’re really lucky – out front the home of a less creative person with a big “free” sign attached to it. Then you can refinish or reupholster it any way you like, you can even buy your fabric from IKEA if you so desire.