Clever hacks to glow up 7 of Ikea’s most popular furniture pieces

Ikea customers push carts teeming with Ikea products.
Ikea customers push carts teeming with Ikea products.

  • Ikea is the largest furniture retailer in the world with stores in 52 countries and sales of $44 billion.
  • Ikea hacking is the practice of modifying or up-cycling shelves or storage from the flat-pack giant.
  • We rounded up seven ideas for projects that start with some of Ikea’s most popular products.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Odds are you own a piece of Ikea furniture, or have owned some in the past.

The Swedish company is the largest furniture retailer in the world with stores in 52 countries making a combined $44 billion in annual sales.

Its mainstay products like the cubic Kallax bookshelf or minimalist Hemnes dresser can start to look out of place compared with more stylized pieces from higher-end brands.

Ikea hacking is the practice of up-cycling products from the flat-pack giant, and in recent years the idea has gone mainstream. A few businesses are even dedicated to custom accessories and modifications for Ikea furniture, while many hacks can be accomplished with little more than a trip to the hardware or craft store.

A recent survey of readers at The Hustle found that half of respondents had heard of the concept of Ikea hacking, while 43% had tried it for themselves. A similar percentage said they had updated an old piece of furniture during the pandemic and more than 9 in 10 said they could consider doing it.

The community at IkeaHackers.net has been gathering a lot of great ideas over the years, and here are eight ideas for easy to moderately challenging projects that can put a unique spin on some of Ikea’s most common classics.

Simple workspace with Alex drawers and countertop

This one is about as easy as it gets. Take some drawers, add a countertop or tabletop, and you’re done.

Slim entryway storage with Stall shoe bins

The Stall shoe bin is by far one of the most popular items to hack, with most projects replacing the top, refacing the bins, and adding some unique hardware.

 

Glamming up the Scandinavian minimalism of the Hemnes dresser

Adding trim or other facing to flat-fronted drawers can give the simple design a more luxury look.

Platform storage bed from Kallax shelves

Another power tool-free project turns a few Kallax shelves and a piece of plywood into a platform storage bed for a fraction of the cost of a similar item from elsewhere.

 

Entertainment console from Kallax shelf and Frosta stool

The ever versatile Kallax can also be elevated — literally — with a set of legs, which can even be sourced from an Ikea-made stool.

 

Plant station from Hejne shelves

Urban gardeners can use the rugged Hejne shelves to craft a potting and propagation workbench, and a little wood stain helps finish the look.

 

Privacy screen from Ivar shelves

The more we work from home, the more appealing privacy screens are. Ikea does sell one, but custom widths and designs can be made using sections of the Ivar shelf, a few hinges, and your choice of fabric.

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