As art directors, there are many days where we feel like we have the best jobs in the world. We get to go inside some of Chicago’s best-designed homes, meet the talent behind them, and then work with great photographers to feature these amazing spaces in the pages of our magazine. At the end of the day, however, our feelings of inspiration begin to mix with a healthy dose of envy as we return to our own homes. The reality is that appreciating good design, and being able to afford it, is not always a package deal. We certainly get that, especially now—which is why we love luxe for luxe but often live luxe for less. Maybe that’s why a low-budget, high-design store like IKEA is such a mecca. Last week we were invited to test-drive some of their new products in advance of the launch of their 2010 Catalog, and we were excited to see that their commitment to affordable good design is still in check. Not only have they lowered their prices on some of their best-sellers (that’s a new trick!) but they’ve expanded some of our favorite lines, including the IKEA PS Collection. This line includes furniture, glassware, textiles and lighting, and is created by collaborations between designers and students, which gives all of the products a unique and artsy feel. Here are a few items from the PS Collection that we fell in love with. (Not all have hit the stores or the Web yet, call first for availability):

1. A modern version of the Moroccan daybed, the Veranda bed frame is equally at home in the living room or bedroom, $499, stained and clear-lacquered solid pine. 2. Add sculpture to your table with the oversized Spraka spice mill, $19.99 each, of solid birch and feldspar porcelain. 3. We love the mid-century modern look of the Nybygge shelving unit, $229, oak veneer. 4. Keep warm with the super thick and soft wool Vadmal throw, $29.99. 5. Mies Van der Rohe meets Swedish chic in the August bench, $499, of solid pine and leather. 6. Impress guests with a couple of the Bjuda glass carafes at your next dinner party, $9.99 each. 7. No need for flowers with the modern, organic look of the stoneware Stock vase, $24.99 each.