Creative Creative Works Ikea

Ad of the Day: Shelter’s squalid Ikea bedsits show grim reality of temporary housing


By Amy Houston, Senior Reporter

March 15, 2023 | 3 min read

The campaign aims to reveal the dire state of the UK housing emergency and its effect on vulnerable people.

Ikea x Shelter 01

These rooms are based on real stories / Ikea

According to research done by Swedish retail giant Ikea, one in five Brits are worried about losing their home, with half stating that if they did find themselves homeless, they would struggle to find somewhere else to live. The stats also found that, staggeringly, one in every 208 people in England are currently experiencing homelessness.

It’s a worrying situation and one that housing charity Shelter is conveying with a harrowing installation at a handful of Ikea stores in the UK. In ‘Real Life Roomsets,’ visitors will be able to witness for themselves just how cramp, damp and dingy these living conditions really can be.

The tiny rooms are based on real-life accounts and starkly contrast with the usual well-designed showrooms Ikea customers are accustomed to. In each bedsit, shoppers can read true accounts from locals and also donate through Shelter’s website through a QR code.

Ikea x Shelter 02

One of the participants is a qualified nurse and teacher called Kate who became homeless when she lost her job during the pandemic. She moved into a room like this with her 24-year-old daughter after someone set fire to the tent they had been living in. “It’s like a nightmare we can’t wake up from,” she said.

The room was so dirty, the carpets were stained and the curtains fell off the rails. There was also no kitchen, microwave or fridge to prepare meals.

Shannon Woodbine, marketing co-worker at Ikea Wednesbury, said: “The representation of these living conditions truly is heart-breaking. The stark contrast to this versus our typically inspiring room sets which are immediately next to it is particularly hard-hitting, and customers stop to simply take the significance of the ‘real life room set’ in.”

The project is part of Ikea’s longstanding partnership with Shelter, demanding 90,000 social homes to be built a year by 2030 to help address the housing emergency.  The installation will be in store until the end of March.

Shelter’s stark photo campaign stresses homeless crisis.

Creative Creative Works Ikea

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