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Im_Nettyy’s IKEA-Worthy BTO Is Our Dream Scandi Home

April 30, 2017

You know you’ve nailed the Scandi-look when IKEA does a feature of your home.

“It was really exciting, but kind of terrifying. In fact, a lot of my stuff was bought from IKEA, so it was an honour that they wanted to showcase my place,” Kai Xin confesses.

Better known by her Instagram handle @Im_nettyy, it is not hard to see why - cool yet laid back, framed with gorgeous greens and insanely cute accents that'll put any Pinterest board to shame, her BTO apartment is a veritable walk-in magazine feature, packed to the brim with picture perfect corners.

IKEA-inspired home

With an easygoing warmth and practicality, Kai Xin embodies the Nordic lifestyle to a tee. What's more? She did it all - with a furniture budget of less than $10,000! Here, the mummy Instagrammer shares her design process, as well as her secrets to achieving a low-cost Scandi abode.

IKEA-inspired home

Qanvast (Q): What was the concept behind your home's look?

Kai Xin (KX): Honestly... I didn't have a concept in mind when I first started out. If anything, it's just a compilation of the things I like and think are pretty, and I just tried to put them together.

IKEA-inspired home

IKEA-inspired home

(KX): But I do have a thing for black and white, and it does run through my entire home, especially my kitchen, so I guess you can say it's a monochrome theme!

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): So, did you seek the help of an interior designer for your renovation?

(KX): We came up with our own design. However, we did hire an interior designer to do some of the basic works like the kitchen, flooring, toilets and a built-in wardrobe in my room. We wanted more loose furniture, as we liked to change our decor frequently.

IKEA-inspired home

(KX): Our interior designer did help us out with picking our flooring tiles, like the honeycomb combination though!

(Q): Wow, what are some sources of inspiration you used for your home's design?

(KX): I scroll through Instagram a lot! Mainly that, actually. Not so much on Pinterest; I feel that pins can look too carefully styled, and far-fetched to achieve. I like looking at real, Scandinavian-styled homes taken by fellow Instagrammers - that's where I actually emulate some of my home ideas from.

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): What made you decide to go for less built-ins for your renovation?

(KX): The main reason was because we wanted something flexible. I have seen friends and family go for extensive built ins and spending a lot of money on them. What happens if 5 years down the road, you feel bored and want a fresh look? Personally, I feel that it's not worth the investment, since I'm always looking to add variety to my space. I'd rather go for more affordable, loose furniture that I could switch out easily (without giving myself a heartache).

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): So, how much did you spend on furnishings?

(KX): I didn't spend much on my furnishings. Definitely less than $10,000, perhaps around $5000 or so? My bed frame only costed us $90, and it's from IKEA! Likewise, my sofa only rung up to about $300. It also helped that many of the items you see here (except for those small little accessories), were either refreshed or passed down from family.

IKEA-inspired home

(KX): For example, the rattan armchair was given by my brother-in-law, while the storage shelves for my plants were initially taken from my service yard. My hubby repainted it, and now it looks as good as new! I guess the key to keeping costs low is to look at your existing pieces and find ways to refresh or improve it to match your style.

IKEA-inspired home
IKEA-inspired home

(Q): Where do you buy some of your accessories?

(KX): I buy bits and bobs everywhere I go, but I do get quite a number of my stuff from this website called Scandinavian Design Center..

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): Are we seeing things, or is your home's layout constantly changing on Instagram?

(KX): Oh yes, it does! (Laughs) I'm glad you noticed! Like I said, I love a bit of variety and I tend to get bored of my layout within a couple of months. Ever since I moved in here more than a year ago, my living space has undergone three major layout changes! My TV console used to face the window, but shifting it closer to the kitchen, and having my dining table flush by the window instead definitely created more space (which I like!).

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): Any styling tips on laying out your furniture?

(KX): Just experiment! It's always been a trial-and-error process for me. Also, it pays to have someone to bounce off your ideas with. My hubby is surprisingly good at visualising the layout, even though I'm the one executing it!

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): Being mum to two twin boys, has that affected the way you style your home?

(KX): Oh, definitely! I want them to have the freedom to run and play about than being confined to a room. So, while they do have their playroom, I try to keep my living space as open and uncluttered as possible. This way, they can have enough space to bring out their toys, and I can watch over them while cooking.

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): What do you love most about your home?

(KX): I would say everything, but I especially love the 'garden' I have outside my living room window! Well, it was a stroke of luck that our first-floor apartment overlooked the landscaped HDB greenery; I love being surrounded by plants, and it makes me feel like I'm living in a lush bungalow, facing my own private backyard! (Laughs).

IKEA-inspired home

(Q): Finally, any upcoming home decor projects in the works?

(KX): Hmm, I'm thinking of changing up my flooring. Initially, we chose cement screed as we liked it's raw, industrial vibe, and also cause it doubles as a good foundation for laying stick-on tiles. So, I'm planning to get some vinyl wood finishes to cover up, and give the home a more cosy, Scandinavian feel!

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