Color Month

12 of the Most Colorful IKEA Hacks We’ve Ever Seen

published Jul 23, 2022
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Credit: Photo Courtesy of IKEA

You like IKEA hacks? Us, too. At Apartment Therapy, we’ve shared everything from the best tips to achieving built-ins from BILLYs, to the optimal DIYs for plant and cat parenthood. So it’s no surprise that we’d once again turn to our very favorite Swedish retailer for project inspiration during Color Month.

IKEA is generally known for its neutrals, but a little bit of DIY magic can transform even the plainest of pieces into a color party. If you need inspiration on how to pull it off in your space, you’re in luck. Read on to take a walk over the rainbow and see 12 of the most colorful IKEA hacks around. You won’t be able to resist trying one out for yourself.

1. An Island with Tropical Vibes

An island is a great place to add color to your kitchen — it’s small enough that it doesn’t feel like a major commitment, but large enough that it packs a visual punch. Yes, you can buy, or, like Ananda of A Piece of Rainbow, you can DIY. Ananda used IKEA base cabinets and a wood countertop to create her mobile prep space, then completed the look with a vibrant seafoam hue.

Credit: PMQ for Two

2. A Peppy Retro-Inspired Bar Cart

Paint isn’t the only way to enhance IKEA standards. Another great option, especially if you’re a pattern lover, is contact paper or wallpaper. Here, Ariel of PMQ for Two wrapped her MALM dressing table in a stunning retro-inspired wallpaper to use it as a bar cart (oh yeah, she also added the tiniest, most adorable wheels). The trick to pulling off this DIY with a pro look is to take your time and precisely line up the pattern like Ariel did.

3. A Dramatic Gemstone Side Table

Malachite is a beautiful green gemstone with unique whorls when sliced, and it was a popular way to glam up furniture among 18th and 19th century nobility. In 2022, there’s no need to use the real thing. Instead, take a cue from Jewel of Jeweled Interiors. She achieved the same look by covering her plain MALM dresser with malachite-patterned paper.

4. A Whimsical Faux Sheepskin Rug

IKEA’s faux sheepskins are a classic for a reason: They’re affordable, they’re cozy, and they seem to go with almost anything. And while the standard white is lovely, it’s also a blank canvas to create the sheepskin of your dreams. Brittni of Paper & Stitch took up the call and turned hers bubblegum pink — but with fabric dye and some sweat equity, you can achieve any color you’d like.

5. An IVAR Hack with a Surprise Inside

The quickest way to make a simple cabinet look like a statement piece? Paint it the same color as the wall behind it. This trick gives the illusion that the cabinet is bigger than it is (and can even help free-standing furniture look a little more built-in). Here, designer Magdalena (@alloverthehouse) employed that very technique to this set of IVAR cabinets and shelves using an all-over robin’s egg blue color. For a little extra drama, she chose an equally vibrant tomato red for the inside of the open bookshelves.

Credit: Studio DIY

6. A BESTA that Goes Bold with Color and Texture

Tried-and-true BESTA cabinets can hold their own against IKEA powerhouses like the BILLY and TARVA lines. And no wonder: Their boxy shape gives them a unique silhouette, and the option of doors makes them endlessly customizable. In the case of this hack from Kelly of Studio DIY, the new look is so fresh and unique that it’s hard to see the IKEA cabinet within (it’s there, promise!). Get the look with emerald green paint, statement knobs, new legs, and rattan inserts.

7. A Functional Storage System with a Funky Pattern

The TROFAST system is about as bare-bones as it gets: just a simple pine box outfitted with plain white slide-out tubs. But TROFAST is also a playroom MVP with its ample storage and customizable configurations. Leia (@henry.andhome) punches up the visual appeal of her impressive set with Potter & Mash decals applied over the tubs. In colors complementing the rest of the play space, these decals help the TROFAST look like a statement piece instead of just a workhorse.

Credit: @va_va_room

8. A Monochromatic Set of Built-Ins

If the trick to making your cabinets look built-in is to paint them the same color as the wall they’re on, then the trick to making them look seriously luxe is to repeat that color throughout. Take inspo from this IKEA hack created by DIYer Tori (@va_va_room). Yes, she paints the wall behind the cabinets a matching sky blue color — but she also paints a half-wall accent on one side and a set of stripes on the other in the same hue. Sticking to a core color palette makes the whole space feel cohesive, not chaotic.

Credit: Melodrama

9. Cheery Color-Blocked VALJE Shelving

If you want to introduce maximum color with minimum effort, color blocking is the way to go. It’s easy to pull this technique off with any piece of furniture, but it’s particularly well suited to pieces that have divided sections of various sizes. DIYer Krys of Melodrama used the technique on her hacked VALJE cabinet-turned-bar to highlight each compartment with a different complementary color.

10. A Playful Patterned Lampshade

With all the great furniture hack possibilities, it’s easy to overlook the other treasures IKEA offers. But lighting is another prime opportunity to bring in a little hint of color to your space. This VIDJA floor lamp project, from Claire of Picture Box Blue, features printouts of vintage fish paintings that are tucked inside the shade. Claire’s super easy hack shows how a little creativity can turn a plain floor lamp into a kitschy and whimsical piece of decor.

11. A Statement-Making Wardrobe Surround

The BOAXEL shelving system is a great way to organize a bare closet, but it can also be mounted to any wall with available studs for slim, space-savvy storage. Of course, without a closet the system also lacks a frame — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make one, as designer Judith Achumba-Wollenstein proves in this tween boy’s bedroom makeover designed for a client. The crafted frame packs a big visual punch with a bright red color and a playful shape.

12. An Eye-Catching Upholstered Sofa

Just because you tire of your IKEA sofa’s color doesn’t mean you need to throw the whole thing out. These streamlined couches are a great option for anyone looking to incorporate custom upholstery into their interior design. Designer Christene Barberich recovered her family’s IKEA sleeper in a self-described “1960s atomic Italian modernism” printed fabric for her daughter’s nursery to keep it in use but more in line with the style of the space. This is an especially great hack for reviving sofas that are starting to look a little worse for wear!

Credit: Photo: Alpha Smoot; Prop Styling: Ed Gallagher