Before and After: A $50 Hack Turns This Plain Glass IKEA Cabinet into a High-End Statement Piece

published Jan 23, 2023
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Before: IKEA MILSBO standing against wall
Credit: Jen Rothbury

Statement-making china cabinets have re-entered the design world as a kitchen staple — and understandably so, since they offer tons of vertical storage and can work for both renters and homeowners. But even if you don’t have room for an almost armoire-sized piece of furniture in your kitchen, dining, room, or living room, a petite glass-front cabinet to show off dishes or decor can be a great design move, especially if that cabinet has cool hardware, etched or fluted glass, or cool wood details and displays a cool collection inside.

Credit: IKEA

Here’s how Manchester-based DIYer Jen Rothbury (@crack_the_shutters) elevated a glass-front IKEA MILSBO (in the small size) to get the look in her living room. “I’d seen a black glass unit with reeded glass for sale for £800 [about $988 USD], but I didn’t want to spend that amount of money, so I decided to give it a go making my own for just over a quarter of the price,” Jen explains.

Credit: Jen Rothbury

She started by buying the IKEA MILSBO in the smaller size, which is $260 USD; then, she cut MDF arched details for the front doors using a jigsaw and painted the arch cutouts black using Rustoleum’s matte black all-surface paint to match the frame of the cabinet. She used adhesive to secure the pieces to the cabinet doors.

Credit: Jen Rothbury

What really makes the piece stand out, though, is the reeded glass detail on the inside of the cabinet. Jen didn’t have to replace any of the glass to the get the look — instead, she added peel-and-stick film with a fluted glass pattern, which she was able to cut to size with a utility knife. (Jen’s fluted peel-and-stick is from Glass Film Europe; outside of Europe, you can find similar from Amazon.)

The best part of this project was how quickly it came together. “It took just one afternoon — the longest part was building the unit itself,” Jen says. “It was an easy and fairly cheap bit of DIY which has given me a unit that I love!”

The after is a more visually interesting, expensive looking version of her basic black cabinet — all for about £250, or $310. “Just give it a go,” Jen says to those considering an easy-yet-chic IKEA hack like this. “It’s so straightforward with some very basic tools and skills.”