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When You Want “Custom Furniture” But Don’t Have The “Custom Budget”: How To Hack IKEA Products From Storage Cabinets To Custom Built-Ins

Hello internet friends!! We’ve got a fun topic for you all that involves a highly popular Swedish budget furniture store…any guesses??? Here’s a hint: you can buy meatballs there…you guessed it…IKEA! Also, did you know we’ve all been pronouncing IKEA wrong? Small side tangent, anyway we’re here today to show you how you can turn boring (but affordable) IKEA products into actually awesome, totally custom works of art that scream “you.” Here it is:

Storage Cabinet Hacks

Here’s a really great cane DIY done by the boutique design firm, House of Hawkes. The possibilities with this DIY are truly endless, you could create it with light cane in the middle and paint the wood black (which would look awesome) or you could paint the entire thing one color (including the cane). There are SO many opportunities for personalization & cane is SO pretty and adds instant texture so go for it.

Another thing that’s highly attractive in design is the fluted wood trend. I mean, who doesn’t love a gentle groove texture in wood…it’s TOO GOOD. This awesome DIY cabinet was done by 2 really great bloggers. Here’s the Kismet House’s version from TikTok if you want to watch a video on how it’s done (technically not with an IKEA cabinet btw) and then here’s a full blog post over on Peony and Honey if you want a more detailed step-by-step with an IKEA cabinet 🙂

via decorlovin

Okay this is SERIOUSLY GOOD. I’m getting total Kelly Wearstler vibes from this lil lady and I am INTO it. Can you seriously believe this is IKEA?? I’m shook. All it takes are some IVAR cabinets and these sexy little legs from Pretty Pegs. DONE. (Btw these legs fit on the Besta unit and a couple of others too!!)

design and photo by make it boho

This hack is another IVAR cabinet upgrade but with a little added compartment on the bottom making it totally unrecognizable and chic! This just shows what a couple of power tools and cane can do:)

Window Bench Hack

design and photo by hydrangea tree house

GENIUS. How cool is this window seat?? Kelin hacked these pre-made IKEA drawers into an expensive-looking wall-to-wall window seat. It’s so epic.

design and photo by that homebird life

Here’s another awesome window seat hack done by that homebird life and boy is it also good. Plus, who doesn’t love a little leather pull tab hardware situation mixed with a moody navy window seat?? I’m falling in love fast. Oh and don’t miss that natural wood toe kick. It takes “the IKEA” right out of it.

Credenza/Sideboard Hacks

The Skinny Sideboard

design and photo by gloribell lebron

This hack is a genius solution to creating a wall-mounted credenza that’s skinny enough to fit anywhere. The wood addition on top makes this piece look so much better than your average IKEA console!! Speaking of skinny wall-mounted sideboards…

design by velinda hellen for ehd | photo by sara liggoria-tramp | from: sara’s living and dining room reveal

Sara’s house is filled with some pretty awesome hacks (shoutout to the designer, Velinda!), including this genius shoe storage solution for Sara’s narrow entryway. The cabinet is wall-mounted and super narrow, so it can work in virtually any entry –– plus this is the easiest hack ever (and I briefly mentioned it above): just swap out the hardware and TADA. Instantly more custom.

There are a couple of different ways you could update a basic IKEA unit…one of them was done by EHD alum and friend, Arlyn Hernandez, from her all-around epic makeover takeover you may remember she did a while back…

design by arlyn hernandez | photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: “arlyn’s moody dining room reveal is all about the power of paint”

Arlyn worked with Semihandmade and Park Studio to give this baby the makeover of a lifetime and AIN’T SHE PURTY? If you haven’t heard of Semihandmade before, then hold on to your butts because they will change your life (as well as a few other IKEA-compliant companies:)). They basically create awesome cabinet fronts that attach onto IKEA cabinet bases, so it’s easy to make your products feel custom and all-around awesome. The whole company is one giant life hack and we love it. Arlyn went with their beaded front in desert gray from Sarah Sherman Samuel’s line with the brand paired with handles from Park Studio. We’ll show you one more example of this very easy hack:

design and photo by sarah sherman samuel | via semistories

I mean how could I bring up the subject of IKEA hacks and not talk about queen Sarah Sherman Samuel’s console??? She seriously hacked the BESTA unit by adding wooden balls she found on amazon and then (obviously) she used her own line from Semihandmade for the doors. GEN-IOUS. Also, do you know how easy it is to swap out IKEA legs through Pretty Pegs?? Their options are all so good and they’re specifically made for IKEA products!! And it’s not just for consoles…you can swap out sofa legs, bed legs, really any legs you wanna swap, they got you covered.

Ok, last one with a similar (ish) concept that was done by Ohana House Co. The main difference here is that she used regular wood from The Home Depot, so that’s an awesome (and probably even more affordable) way to go if you’re looking for that! Also, you can add a lot more custom personality. Here’s a full youtube step-by-step if you want more deets

The Floating Console

via ikea

Soooo we recently found out IKEA has a DIY blog (and yes it’s in Swedish but your computer can translate it to English… I totally thought this was some sort of scam when I first clicked on it but don’t panic like I did)…it has some of the best, budget-friendly ideas we’ve seen. They created a floating console hack with the IVAR cabinets and it’s pretty epic. All you have to do is paint the cabinets, attach them to the wall and then add cool hardware. BOOM. Floating console-level achieved. You could also totally add a piece of wood or marble on the top and make it a vanity or something 🙂

Kitchen Cabinetry

design and photography by sara liggoria-tramp | styling by emily edith bowser | from: sara’s not done (but updated) kitchen

Remember that cool Semihandmade thing we were talking about?? Well, another company we LOVE that does IKEA cabinets fronts out of Oregon is Kokeena. We’re firm believers that this will get you the quality you want without blowing up your bank account (which already tends to happen regardless whenever you’re attempting a kitchen reno). We’ve done this strategy in many projects…like Sara’s kitchen above and in Velinda’s client’s builder-grade budget kitchen reno below.

Now, since we are talking a lot about IKEA kitchen renos I just wanted to throw out that if you’re considering going full-blown IKEA cabinetry all the way…here’s an honest IKEA cabinet review one year later that describes whether or not it’s worth the savings… FYI she used just IKEA so it’s a total review on their products.

design by amanda holstein | from: “are ikea cabinets really worth the savings?”

Custom Built-In Hacks

The BILLY bookcase seems to be the go-to bookcase by a variety of DIY interior design bloggers. Considering it’s pretty much the most standardly shaped (and affordable) bookcase on the internet, AND it has lots of storage, it’s pretty clear why it’s so transformable. Wanna see??

design and photo by the makerista

An oldie, but a goodie from The Makerista. This BILLY bookshelf hack is iconic and looks AMAZING. This is a great way to go if you have an older home and want to add an architectural feature that looks like it’s original. Also if you’re going historic, we highly recommend adding the rolling ladder…we’re suckers for a good ladder over here. If you’re looking for a less fussy and more contemporary version of the built-in bookshelf look (or if you just want to do it faster & cheaper), then check out this incredibly smart hack by Elise Joseph which they accomplished for less than $500 and in 1 day:

Then lastly, if you’re a renter, here’s a genius renter-friendly version from Grillo Designs. Technically she doesn’t use IKEA cabinets, but if you’re set on using IKEA then don’t sweat, you can still use the BILLY bookshelves and follow the same steps. Oh and by the way, if you don’t follow her on IG, then I suggest ya do because she has lots of awesome tips and hacks that are all renter-friendly!

via new swedish design

By the way…if you want to throw in a fun little situation for your cat at the bottom of your BILLY bookshelf, this Swedish company has got you covered. It’s so cute and budget-friendly.

Coffee Table And Side Table Hacks

design and photo by made by carli

This coffee table hack is SO much easier than it looks and it’s a super simple way to add a fun little wood texture into your home. You could stain the top really any kind of wood color you’d want, so the opportunities are pretty much endless here.

design and photo by lone fox home

The tiled side stable has truly taken the social media world by storm, so if you want to attempt this hack your gen-z child will appreciate you so much. IKEA has a version of this DIY on their swedish blog where they tile a side table with legs, but you could also attempt the BESTA unit version that Lone Fox Home does in this photo above (here’s the full tik tok tutorial btw).

The tile trend doesn’t end there guys. You can pretty much tile anything and everything –– I think this coffee table would work super well tiled and so would this desk/console table (btw these are selling for like $500-$2000 so if you want to start your side business now is the time).

So that’s it for the IKEA hacks, I hope this was helpful…if you’re planning on attempting any of these (or if you have attempted them…) drop a comment below! Oh also feel free to link more cool IKEA hacks. Okay, that’s all. Bye!

Opening Image Credits: Design and Photo by That Homebird Life

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Annie
2 months ago

I have absolutely NO DIY skills–like I can’t sew, I can’t do construction, my handiness taps out at, well, putting together ikea furniture. But even I was able to make a window bench with two kallax units, the corresponding drawer units and cushions I bought on etsy (for literally less than the cost of the foam stateside). The only thing I did was switch out the hardware for ikea’s plockar knobs, which I think are really meant for kids furniture, so they are oversized and add a slight but fun weirdness. Sometimes you see ikea hacks that require not just imagination but also serious skills (like most of those in this post). But I just want to say that while it may not be *quite* as impressive as some of these creations, even with no relevant skills to speak of, you can do a lot to customize ikea.

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Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Annie

This is clever and fabulous!

Amanda
2 months ago
Reply to  Annie

This is nice! Can I ask what Etsy store you got the cushions from?

Annie
2 months ago
Reply to  Amanda

Aw, thanks Rusty. Amanda, I think it was gbplf (or something similar)–it was some lady in Belarus and they came insanely well-packed. If you go to etsy, there are a ton of options if you search for “kallax cushions” and these were the cheapest by a fair margin.

DeniseGK
2 months ago

I want to put legs on some bookcases we have. They are all 6ft. tall, and are a mix of wood and wood laminate. They are so heavy. The front is slightly off the floor – less than a half inch – and the unit rests on the bottom of the other 3 sides. They collect so much dust, dirt, and miscellaneous grossness! I really want to put legs on them, but I’m worried about the weight. These are really bookcases- we used them to make a library area in the large family room on the back of the house. I’ve recently learned about cleats by searching “what is the wood on the bottom of danish modern furniture between the legs?” And I guess I would need a kit with legs/feet and cleats. Where would I get something like that? The websites I’ve checked that sell furniture legs don’t sell cleats.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

Have you tried a hardware store? When I was looking for legs, I saw some at places like Home Depot, and I imagine they might have cleats.

Roberta Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  DeniseGK

attach them to the wall as well as using the legs to support them, especially if you live in earthquake country!

Rusty
2 months ago

I love a good hack….thanks!!! Affordable, bespoke, and customised “special” wiyhoutthe ginormous price tag.
Thanks, Mallory.🤗

Aaaaand ‘our’ LovelyofHoneymoonvintage shared her own magnificent Billy bookcase hack a few weeks ago. Brilliant!!!

Cynthia
2 months ago

I’ve been trying to find bathroom makeovers with IKEA cabinet or vanity hacks as I’m looking to renovate my primary bathroom on a budget. Has anyone seen any good ones?

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Cynthia

Google

Holly
2 months ago
Reply to  Cynthia

This may not work for your situation but I just painted the existing cabinet bases to color match doors bought from semihandmade. I ordered the custom doors (for non-ikea cabinets!) which require you to drill the boring, install the hinge and be perfect at measuring. I didn’t want to mess with the existing tile flooring or plumbing by buying new vanities. Now saving for a quartz countertop to be installed next. Anyway, this could be an option if you are okay with current layout and cabinets. I highly recommend semihandmade, it took less than 3 weeks for the custom doors to arrive.

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Christa
2 months ago

I wish I could buy a lot of Ikea cabinets right now but they are having serious problems with their supply lines. I used Ikea kitchens on some apartment building remodels and it was a nightmare getting all the pieces in to finish the kitchens over 6 months. I had to change configurations multiple times and ended up cutting down some 36″ cabinets out of desperation!

Sarah L
2 months ago

I love an IKEA hack! I floated a long series of Besta units along the wall of my long living room. It serves as an entertainment center, toy, school, and art supply storage unit, bar, bookcase etc- in our 1100ftsq 2 bedroom apartment. Mixing the different heights and open/closed storage added visual interest and helped define the TV zone vs the play-magnatiles/marble runs/legos on the floor zone (which becomes the brunch/dinner party zone when we put the leaves in the table and move it from the kitchen nook), while still feeling cohesive and intentional. Floating it left room for the sub-woofer and the roomba I have plans to add a real wood top at some point to cover the seams, and *maybe* upgrade from the cheapest cabinet fronts, but I’m not displeased with the light [faux] wood look plus clean minimal white fronts

Sarah L
2 months ago
Reply to  Sarah L

hmm attachments aren’t working but here it is on IG: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQq9rhLg5_w/

jen
2 months ago

Love a good Ikea hack! I’ve been wanting to upcycle my Billy bookcases to look like that gorgeous cane cabinet!

anon
2 months ago

I bookmarked that site that has the “sexy legs” for IKEA furniture and I clicked through to the Ikea blog.

One of the blogs I followed for a long time is IKEA Hackers https://www.ikeahackers.net/ even if I don’t do what they do it is an inspiration to see people get creative.

CC
2 months ago

What a fantastic roundup – thanks!!

2 months ago
Reply to  CC

yeah that was great!

Nicolette
2 months ago

I will just never understand why the IVAR doors don’t touch in the middle 😩

Susanna
2 months ago

Could we please quit referring to changing out hardware or painting a cabinet as a “hack”? We’ve lost all reasonable meaning for what this word/concept was originally created.

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