If you're super lucky, you live within a reasonable drive of an IKEA. Much has been written about their awesomeness ... couples are even taking advantage of the free childcare and semi-decent cafe for recession-friendly date nights.
If you're a fan of modern, clean-lined furniture, then you could probably furnish a whole house with IKEA goods without going broke. But some people take that a step further. Creative-minded sorts are either embellishing their IKEA finds to make them a little more stylish, or repurposing them as pieces in larger, fancier projects. They're called IKEA hacks, and they're all over the Internet.
The picture of the cool table above is an example of their fine handiwork. Some hacks took one of IKEA's super-plain, super-cheap coffee tables and embellished it with wrapping paper and shellac. It looks like this could be done over a weekend with the paper of your choice, and then voila, stylin'.
More examples below:
Bedside tables are a problem in small rooms, especially if you need two of them. Finding well-made small ones is a huge challenge, but Apartment Therapy user Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan hacked two wooden Frosta tables to make unique glass-topped tables.
This project cleverly uses a picture frame lined with wallpaper and a laptop table to make a portable workstation that hides all your messy office stuff stylishly.
If even artsy design blog Design*Sponge is featuring these hacks, they are really a trend: One user transferred images onto the plain white Celeber food jars to make a very cool shelf full of kitchen storage.
There are tons more at IKEA Hacker, which is devoted to posting examples of these projects. Thinking creatively can net you a really cool piece for not a lot of money or effort.