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High/Low: IKEA Office Style


High:Low Series - The Learner ObserverIt’s time for another High/Low post!  I love, love, love, love doing these so much, but they can be a little time consuming, which is why this is only the third ever High/Low (first came the bedroom, then the living room).  But it’s back!  And I want to make this a monthly series, so I’m going to need your help.  More on that shortly…

I have been dreaming of an office since the day we first saw our house.  As it stands, it’s a bit of a disaster zone with all of my to-be-completed-someday DIY projects.  So until the day comes that I can make over my little space, I’ve made up a (pretty girly) office for us all to swoon over.  No inspiration picture like on the last High/Low.  This time I just started picking items I loved and putting them together.  You can imagine how long it took me to choose some of these…

So here is the first office:

Office for less by The Learner Observer

And here is the other:


High End Office by The Learner ObserverAre you an IKEA addict like me and were able to see right away which one is the high vs low?  No?  Ok… Let’s see if this makes it easier

Office High:Low - The Learner ObserverSide by side better?

I gave myself a challenge that helped me pick out specific pieces – I challenged myself to design the “low” version of this office using ONLY IKEA ITEMS!  Crazy right?  Me?  IKEA?  I know!  The best part about this project was realizing just how well I have all of their products memorized in my brain, as I looked at something I liked, paused to go through my mental catalogue and decided either “yes, IKEA has something like this” or “move along… this isn’t IKEA material.

 Alright.  Let’s go ahead and reveal the high vs low, followed by the price difference which shocked even me this time!



Now for the moment of truth: the big price reveal!

High End Office - The Learner Observer1. Sundown Retreat Sideboard: $1,509.00   –  2. Scout White Office chair: $298.00  –  3. Pompidou Desk: $836.00  –  4. Julia Wong Scale Cream Rug: $1,500.00  –  5. Noir Elm Bookcase: $1,188.00  –  6. Chamber Desk Lamp: $325.00  –  7. Tonal Stripes Wallpaper: $112.00  –  8. TPS mint file cabinet: $159.00  –  9. George Swivel chair: $1,321.00  –  10. Artcraft on the spot black floor lamp: 217.91  –  11. Sheepskin rug: $215.00

TOTAL: $7,680.91

Office for less - The Learner Observer1. LIATORP:$399.00   –  2. LILLHÖJDEN: $79.00  –  3. VITTSJÖ: $39.99 plus VITTSJÖ: $19.99  –  4. GÅSER: 199.00 — 5. VITTSJÖ: $90.00 plus 3x West Fraser plywood: $74.25  –  6. FORSÅ: $29.99  –  7. Paint: $50 –  8. HELMER: $49.99  –  9. STRANDMON: $299.99  –  10. HEKTAR: $89.99  –  11. RENS: $39.99

TOTAL: $1,460.19

Here it is.  The price difference.  A whopping $6,220.72!

Admittedly, I did not include ALL of the items you see there.  Most of the accessories are not included in the price, mainly because they are things that can come from one’s own home by shopping the house, and special items that I believe should be a collection of your own personal taste.  However, in case you are interested in where some of these precious little items came from, here’s a source list.

Heart pink hook pillow: $48.00, Arabella Tufted storage ottoman: $165.00, Areaware – Bank in the form of a pig: $200.00 (But CB2 has gold pig bookends for a fraction of the price at $34.95), Harley The dog Bookends: $120.91, Gold Cucu Wall Clock: $585.20.

The pillow and the ottoman I would definitely consider using, but the rest?  Not so much!  If there’s something you see that I did not source, ask away.

So how did I do for this month’s edition?

Low with prices - The Learner ObserverOh, if you’re wondering how you can help me with this (hopefully) monthly series, I need you to tell me what you’d like to see.  Have a room you’re considering decorating?  Colour scheme you want to try, but you’re just not sure?  Or maybe you just want to see a certain style done for less and you want to challenge me.  Well… challenge me!  I’m thinking next month will include Holiday decor for more and for less.  A little Christmas High/Low!  Sound good?

I can’t wait to hear from you.  Seriously!


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  • Reply Johanna

    I, too, am an IKEA addict, so I knew immediately that the right one was the low because that lamp, duh. Another useless skill for my resumé, yaaaaay! haha

    Excited for a Christmas edition! I think that’s a neat idea. I’d love to see some fun seasonal or themed rooms. Like Lauren’s doing a nautical bedroom make-over (how excited are we for this?!?!), and you could do others.. safari, art deco, all the different seasons, Hollywood glam… I dunno, I just really like a good theme! :)

    November 11, 2013 at 11:30 am
    • Reply Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

      Okay, just seeing my name pop up in your sweet comment, Johanna, and hearing about your enthusiasm about my nautical bedroom makeover gives me the warm fuzzies all over. How blessed am I to have bloggy buddies around the globe who actually care about these minute details of my life!? SO blessed. Hugs to you, friend.

      November 12, 2013 at 12:30 am
      • Reply Thalita

        Johanna is the sweetest, isn’t she? I think you have LOTS of friends around the globe excited for your room reveal… and like everything else you will ever do!

        November 12, 2013 at 10:18 am
    • Reply Thalita

      We can BOTH put that skill on our resumes then! Honestly, it’s not completely useless… I’m sure we can find someone to appreciate it! Though as a teacher, that may be hard for me to do…

      Glad you’re into the Christmas idea, and YES, I am SOOOOO excited to see Lauren’s room! Awesome ideas on the themes!!! You have already given me a lot to work with! Thanks, girlfriend!

      November 12, 2013 at 10:07 am
  • Reply Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

    LOVE Ikea! I noted a few items I recognised, but was momentarily confused because the all Ikea room looks classier and more expensive than the expensive one. I should never doubt Ikea again! hehe You did a great job, Thalita. I really like what you put together. Looking forward to seeing more of these posts :)

    November 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      OH EM GEE did you just say the IKEA room looked MORE expensive? I LOVE IT! It’s kind of awesome how selecting the right IKEA pieces can not only save you money, but maintain the look you want. I am and will forever be an IKEA lover!

      November 12, 2013 at 10:09 am
  • Reply Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    I saw my beloved Strandmon and knew right away which one was Ikea. I cannot get over the price difference though. That’s huge!

    What about a high-low holiday table setting? Linens, dishes, cutlery, candles etc. can really add up quickly. It’s not a whole room (although you could do a dining room), but it would allow for a lot of creativity, I think.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Oh yes, how could I forget you have that chair!!!

      Honestly, sometimes I think it’s crazy what some people are willing to spend on rooms that (like this one) may need to be transitioned into another bedroom, or a nursery, or whatever a family may need.

      Ok, your idea to do a table setting has me seriously giddy with excitement to get going on the next High/Low post!!!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!

      November 12, 2013 at 10:12 am
  • Reply Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    I guessed it! I guessed it! (But only because the white sideboard looked familiar.) I kept having to scroll between the two to even see the difference. And you managed to save over $6000 with this high-low? That, my dear, is some major skill! Plus, you made IKEA look, well, not IKEA. Which is pretty stinkin’ cool.

    Cannot wait for more of these! (And yes, a Christmas edition would be swell. Perhaps non-traditional Christmas decor like all metallics and neutrals?) Pretty much anything you do, I’m gonna love!

    November 12, 2013 at 12:29 am
    • Reply Thalita

      YESSSS!!!! It’s not a bad thing that you guessed. There’s gotta be at least one item from IKEA people would recognize! I do always pride myself in finding the IKEA in any room I see! Honestly, the difference this time shocked me! Big time! I think sometimes we get too hung up on being either all IKEA or nothing. Maybe the trick is some IKEA with personal touches so your house is still you, and not looking like it all came out of a flattened box (even if it did!).

      Yep, loving your idea for metallics and neutrals! I may attempt a DIY High/Low one day with knockoffs. Ohhhh…. wheels are spinning… I must write this down…

      November 12, 2013 at 10:17 am
  • Reply Danica

    What a great series!!! I love seeing High/Low differences!

    November 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Danica!!! They’re one of my favourite things to put together :)

      November 14, 2013 at 12:04 pm
  • Reply Krista @thehappyhousie

    What a great inspiration board. I LOVE High and Low- it is always one of my favourite parts in Style at Home. You did an amazing job at it Thalita. And I might just like the low one better:) I do love Ikea.

    November 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      I look forward to it every month! Thanks so much, Krista! I, too, love my IKEA!!!!

      November 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm
  • Reply Emily @ Two Purple Couches

    Whoa!!!!!!!!!! That’s quite a difference! You’re giving me hope that maybe I can do my own office makeover for less than I think it’ll cost! I adore the color palette you’re going with… I want to do something kinda girly in mine as well (I keep telling my husband he has no say in what I want to do for my office, because it’s MY space!).

    December 2, 2013 at 10:05 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Right?!?!?! Amazing what IKEA can do, I tell ya! I LOOOOOOVE the girly colours for the office. It’s the one place I can totally get away with pink in the house because it’s also the only space that is just mine, so I am 100% behind your girly office! Own it with your girlyness!!!

      December 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm
  • Reply Jessie

    Hi there! I am stopping by from the Show Me What You Got linky party.
    Wow. I must say, this is freaking awesome! I am going to check out your other High/Low projects right now!

    December 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much Jessie!!!! :)

      December 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply The DIY Homegirl

    Very lovely moodboards. Not a big pink fan, but it looks lovely with the gray. I did guess which was Ikea, but that’s probably only because I’m a big fan of them. So naturally, I like the “low” board better. Thanks for sharing!

    December 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much for checking it out! True Ikea fanatics would know that low board anywhere, right? :)

      December 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm
  • Reply Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

    Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party. Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

    December 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm
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