80 Amazing IKEA Hacks to Celebrate IKEA’s 80th Birthday
IKEA furniture looks great whether it’s left as-is, modified a little with paint or new knobs, or used as the foundation for something totally custom. Indeed, there are all types of IKEA hacks out there — and all types of IKEA hack appreciators, too!
You might be looking for ideas for your next DIY, you might have a very specific piece from the retailer you’d like to upgrade, or maybe you just want to smile at the creativity of a project but want to leave your staple piece as-is. Or maybe … just maybe … you gave up on assembling your IKEA find and the flat-pack pieces are still in the box (we won’t tell).
For every level of DIY and every level of DIYer, Apartment Therapy has rounded up 80 incredibly clever IKEA hacks in honor of the brand’s 80th birthday. (Cue kazoos and party horns, please!) These will have you inspired to re-open that box, get your screwdriver, and get to building.
1. A $60 Redo Gives a MALM Dresser a High-End Look
2. Lucite Legs and Curvy Lines for This RAST Dresser
Connecticut-based DIYer Charlotte Smith’s ultra-colorful entryway wouldn’t be complete without this chartreuse RAST dresser. To create the cool curved design on the front, Charlotte used flexible half-round trim. She painted the MALM yellow-green, used low-profile brass pulls, and added acrylic legs similar to these to elevate it — in more ways than one!
3. Wooden Appliques Add Whimsy to a TARVA
4. An Upscale Brutalist Mosaic-Front Dresser
It’s almost hard to recognize IKEA in this piece. Designer Jess Goodwin added 1/2-inch-thick pine appliqués in an almost-patchwork pattern to the front of this IKEA TARVA to create a Brutalism-inspired dresser. She then stained the entire thing a rich brown. One thing to note if you’re considering replicating this geometric DIY yourself: Goodwin says it’s easier to stain the appliqués separately before gluing them to the dresser.
7. Marbled (and Compact!) Cabinets
Marble countertops are commonplace in kitchens, but floor-to-ceiling marble cabinets are a little more statement-making. One-bedroom apartment renter and designer Kim White transformed her kitchen cabinets with bold, beautiful marble wallpaper, and that’s not even the real hack here. Because she was working with a small space, she actually opted for smaller, more shallow bathroom cabinets (GODMORGONS) in her kitchen as opposed to full-size kitchen ones. Studio and one-bedroom dwellers, take notes!
8. An IKEA MILSBO Gets a Custom Glass Front
IKEA hacks aren’t just for MDF pieces; glass-topped IKEA finds can get upgrades, too. Take this MILSBO project, for example. It looked nice before, but DIYer Jen Rothbury (@crack_the_shutters) made it look ultra-chic by adding black plywood details to the fronts and fluted glass film to the sides. Her materials cost about $50.
9. An Expensive-Looking BESTA
“I had grand plans for an IKEA BESTA flip that would look like a high-end store cabinet, and I think I achieved it!” Apartment Therapy contributor Caroline Mullen writes about the cabinet she DIYed for her New Jersey apartment. “I got the BESTA cabinet for free on Facebook Marketplace, then spent a ton of time cutting and layering individual pieces of wood to get it as close to the inspo as possible. The whole thing got sanded and painted matte black, and the handles are just made from plywood and marble contact paper.”
10. A Show-Stopping Red HAVSTA
This fire-engine red IKEA HAVSTA is brought to you by red chalk paint (Vintro’s Valentine), garden canes, semicircle plywood handles, and chunky feet. Interior designer and color-loving homeowner Hannah Drakeford knocked out the middles of the HAVSTA doors, lined up and glued in the garden canes instead, attached her handles, and set the HAVSTA on top of rectangular feet. Then she painted the whole thing red. It’s a far cry from the plain gray cabinet it once was.
13. A Fiery Red Bar Cart
If a hack is a trick that cleverly upgrades a piece of IKEA furniture, then sometimes the perfect paint color counts as a hack. In decorating her rental apartment, AT contributor Caroline Mullen used a bright-red spray paint on her IKEA FABRIKÖR. “I knew I wanted to bring some red and retro vibes in,” she tells AT.
14. A Pink EKET Cabinet
Adding a butcher block countertop, new sides, paint (Behr’s Sweet Chrysanthemum), and wooden legs to this IKEA EKET foundation turned it into the perfect pink prep station for Francisco of @ciscosews. If cocktails aren’t your thing, this setup would also be great for a coffee bar, standard kitchen prep, or board game storage.
17. An IKEA BILLY Flip with Serving Bowl Feet
The chunky feet on this BILLY-turned-sideways media console are actually wooden serving bowls from H&M Home! (You can find similar ones at IKEA, too, if you want to do all your shopping in one place.) Because hollow bowls can’t actually support the weight of a fully stocked media console, DIYer Dalia Aly drilled holes in the bowls for real furniture legs to fit through perfectly.
18. A $12 Pleated Front for a KALLAX
Plenty of DIYers find ways to cover their KALLAXes and BILLYs with either homemade or IKEA-supplied doors, but Matt Tran gets creative brownie points for using accordion-fold curtains, which cost only $4 from IKEA. (Tran used three SCHOTTISes for his.) He also covered his KALLAX in oak-looking vinyl and added black metal feet.
19. Faux Fluted Glass Elevates This BESTA
The black paint, minimalist semicircle door knobs, and, most importantly, the fluted glass film, make this IKEA BESTA sophisticated, and the whole thing cost about $300 — a fraction of the cost of DIYer Amy’s inspiration piece.
20. A Groovy Burl Wood KALLAX
This “burl wood” KALLAX by writer and DIYer Cat Meschia looks super expensive, but it only cost about $260 (not including the tools). Cat wrapped a KALLAX with cabinet inserts with contact paper that mimics the swirls and shades of shiny burl wood, built a base and wrapped that in metallic gold contact paper, and added gold pulls, which she calls “the finishing jewelry” of the piece.
21. Hot Pink Banquette Seating
The base of this hot pink bench seating in Jasmine Hart’s apartment is actually an IKEA BESTA where she keeps her shoes. (The shoes are concealed by a pink velvet skirt that velcros on!) On top of that is a hot pink velvet cushion, and behind that is a hot pink-upholstered foam back for the bench. “It’s very much so like a headboard,” Hart explains of the back on TikTok. “It’s essentially this big piece of foam, and then the fabric is wrapped around, stapled to that, and anchored to the wall.”
22. A Low-Budget Leather Chair
Whether you’re looking to add some rustic wood tones to your space or looking for a solid foundation for a DIY, IKEA offers tons of plain pine furniture. Monica Karlstein, DIYer and author of the book 99 Hacks (currently only available in her native German), added some sophisticated texture to a plain pine HEMMAFIX chair from IKEA with very few tools required — just some leather (or faux leather) strips, scissors, and a staple or two.
24. A Channel-Tufted BESTA
Another BESTA banquette FTW! This one is in designer Kim White’s former studio apartment. She’s since moved to a bigger place, but while she was tight on square footage, this tufted bench with drawers was a lifesaver. Each channel is made from plywood and poly fill wrapped with a nude suede fabric. White attached the channels to the back of the BESTA with scrap wood pieces and staples and to the front of the BESTA with staples.
25. A Leather-Clad LOCKSTA
You might have a more vintage/retro/dated piece from IKEA that you’re looking to upgrade — after all, the company is 80 years old! — like Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty. Abby took a plastic IKEA LOCKSTA (now discontinued, but kind of similar to the NOLMYRA or TEODORES, silhouette-wise) and made it into a faux leather beauty using leather fabric, her sewing machine, and velcro.
26. A New Top for a NORRÅKER
27. A Table with Magnetic Doors
This hack adds fluted texture via an IKEA product itself, the flexible RÖDEBY armrest tray, which is a great alternative to pole wrap if you only need to cover a small surface. DIYer Luisa treated the RÖDEBY with a beech wood stain, then wood glued it to the sides of a metal IKEA KNARREVIK and made functioning “doors” in the front with magnets.
28. A Revived Tabletop
This project is another win for IKEA table bases. After a few years of wear and tear, this IKEA tabletop had seen better days, so this Reddit user decided to upgrade it with paint stirrers that are sanded down, smoothed together, and stained. The result? A one-of-a kind, artisan kitchen table for a fraction of the cost.
Desks and Worktops
30. A Corner Desk for a Small Bedroom
Homeowners Sarah Wissinger and Nick Malburg wanted to get more bang for their buck in their guest bedroom, and they were also desperate for a WFH space. To knock out two goals with one redo, they used an IKEA hack to help them squeeze a small workspace into the redesigned guest bedroom. This wooden desk is made from an IKEA IVAR and plywood, plus attachers.
31. A Kids’ Desk from a TARVA
If you’re looking for an even more petite version of that grown-up desk above — more magic markers, less Macbook — check out this little floating desk made from an IKEA TARVA and a piece of plywood. DIYer Autumn Tokijkla (@autumntokijkla) made this kids’ corner extra cozy by painting the lower third of the wall and the desk the same color — a green mix that she already had.
32. Repeated HEMNES Dressers Make Two Desks
If you have multiple kids who work on homework side by side, or if you and your partner or roommate enjoy working in close quarters, check out this IKEA HEMNES hack from Emily Lex of Jones Design Company. Emily laid two long 98-inch countertops from IKEA along three HEMNES dressers with their legs sawed off and their tops not attached for a desk setup that works double duty.
34. A Kitchen Island Chock-Full of Drawers
Two IKEA METOD drawer sets, some additional MDF, trim, and a marble-look countertop make for a (storage-packed!) kitchen island in this project by Pramela Morgan. For the countertop, Morgan actually used an extremely large (approximately 47 by 24 inches) floor tile that was already cut.
35. A KALLAX in a Wall
The KALLAX is one of IKEA’s most recognizable pieces. You’ve probably seen the grid-shaped shelving before, but have you ever seen it embedded in a wall? “When the developer was rehabbing the space, I asked him if he could build my existing IKEA bookcase right into the wall between my kitchen and bedroom,” apartment owner Scott Kangas explains in his house tour. “It’s accessible from both sides and is deep enough for a double row of books, which is much-needed by me.”
36. A “Built-In” Corner Shelf
37. Arches, Cute Knobs, and Fluted Doors, Oh My!
This cute little kitchen cabinet started as a plain IKEA BILLY bookcase. DIYer Julia Cole (@twentylot) painted the iconic bookcase navy, added textured trim to the door fronts, and completed the piece with daisy drawer pulls from HomeGoods. Because it was her first time flipping an IKEA piece, Julia sourced the BILLY secondhand on Facebook Marketplace, which is a great tip for future IKEA hackers out there. You don’t always have to find IKEA from IKEA.
38. Scalloped Shelving
Fact: Attaching laser-cut scalloped appliqués to a standard MOSSLANDA picture ledge will up its adorableness by 100 percent — and it’ll only cost you about $20. Here, DIYer and writer Chelsea Angelos painted wood scallops from Amazon and a picture ledge white and then combined the two in a playroom for cute and custom-looking shelving.
39. Scalloped Shelving Part 2
You can also use BILLYs to create wall-to-wall “built-ins.” Here, DIYer Selma Chatto created a pink wall of shelving — with scalloped trim tops for her plants to peek out from.
41. A KALLAX Coffee Bar
You can turn your KALLAX cubes into coffee cup or wine bottle storage with drill-on additions like these hooks, this wine glass holder, or this bottle organizer. Your dimensions just need to be 13 inches or under to fit inside the KALLAX cube. Above, Ashley Nariman (@clearspacesorganizingco) added hairpin legs, hooks, and a towel peg to a four-cube KALLAX to create a cute little morning brew station.
42. Spice Rack Shelves
IKEA’s BEKVAM spice racks make great shelving for all sorts of things. Spice things up (pun intended) and use them to store toiletries, pencils, craft supplies, and more. Because they’re relatively small, BEKVAMs make for especially great organizing tools in kids’ spaces. Mount them from a wall, or if you’re a renter hang them from a pegboard like Steph Bond-Hutkin did here. You can paint them or leave them bare.
44. Bed Slats-Turned-Office Organization
“You probably recognize the LURÖY slatted bed base from IKEA.com if you own one of the Swedish retailer’s bed frames, as it’s usually located underneath a heavy mattress to add support,” DIYer Kristina Steinmetz writes on her blog. “But instead of hiding this item, which features pieces of pine wood connected by two pieces of cloth, I transformed it into a stylish wall hanger with the help of two wall hooks.”
45. VARIERA Hanging Storage
IKEA’s VARIERA is meant to corral plastic shopping bags — and it’s great for that, although if you’ve (smartly) pivoted to paper bags or, better yet, reusable canvas totes, you can still use your VARIERA to stay organized. Above, it’s used as a cleaning supply command center. It’s also great for storing wrapping paper rolls or yoga mats.
47. An IVAR Vanity
48. An “Oak” Vanity for a Fraction of the Cost
Solid oak vanities are beautiful — and rather trendy right now — and as a result, they can be rather expensive. DIYer Farwa Moledina (@thehousewiththepinkbed) found a way to create a $300 version (technically $24 for her, because she already owned the plain white IKEA vanity) of her $930 oak inspiration using peel-and-stick wood-grain film.
50. A Designer-Inspired Floating Nightstand
Here, Marcusi Merta chopped off the legs of a standard VIKHAMMER, painted it a shiny pink, and created a cool floating nightstand using a furniture mounting kit to attach it to the wall. “I love everything about it,” Marcus says of his project. “It’s so perfect, and it always looks better when it is a DIY!”
51. A MOPPE Makes Petite Bedside Storage
The cute little IKEA MOPPE also makes for a cool floating nightstand — especially if you have lots of little things you want to keep track of, like reading glasses, nighttime meds, your go-to sleep mask, a pair of fuzzy socks for when your feet hit the ground in the morning, and more. Crafty renter Haley Boyko painted the one she uses in the bedroom of her apartment a mint-meets-seafoam green.
52. IKEA LACK Linen-Wrapped Nightstands
When the linen-textured nightstands of DIYer Yurie’s dreams cost $1,000 apiece, she turned to IKEA LACK tables, which cost $17. First, she filled the hollow legs of the LACKS with wood so she could drill into them. She made two nightstands, and for each, she stacked one normal-sized LACK on top of one chopped-down one to create a table with double-decker shelving. She also added drawers to each table. After the bodies were assembled, she wrapped her creations in faux grasscloth wallpaper in a calming light blue shade.
53. A $5.50 Furniture Flip
Graphic designer and blogger Megan Keough of Crafty Bobby upgraded this plain pine IKEA TARVA by gluing a bamboo placemat to the front, painting the bottom white, and Gorilla gluing on a semicircle handle (IKEA’s BEGRIPA). AT writer Cori Sears says it best: “The handles give the piece major Sarah Sherman Samuels vibes for only $2.50. And the rest of the materials cost $3!”
54. An Organic Modern Nightstand for an Eclectic Bedroom
55. A Shift in Perspective for This RAST Dresser
When DIYer Kara Estes (@beglorifiedhome) told her husband she wanted to flip this dresser upside down to create a nightstand with storage, she “definitely got some skeptical looks,” she recalls. Because the top of the original RAST is inset just a bit and Kara wanted an overhanging top, she decided to use the top piece as the bottom. She used the bottom piece as a support for a new overhanging top made from plywood. The lesson here? Although that trusty IKEA instruction pamphlet is helpful, if you have a vision, sometimes you can rewrite the rules.
Beds and Headboards
56. A MALM Headboard’s Glam Glow-Up
57. A Woven Headboard Made from a TARVA
“This amazing headboard is NOT one of those IKEA hack projects that takes a million hours to complete,” homeowner Mariana Cotlear Vega told AT about the cool woven headboard spotted in her house tour. “It’s actually pretty quick! These are just canvas strips interwoven and stapled onto the back of the frame.”
59. A Gorgeous GJORA
DIYer and pattern-filled apartment renter Imani Keal stained her plain birch GJÖRA bed frame in a chocolatey brown to make it look more like an antique or heirloom. She also flipped the “head” side of the bed toward her front door to hang umbrellas and purses and coats. Two smart ideas to steal from Keal!
60. A Headboard Made from a Bench Cushion
Hanging cushion headboards often retail between $150 and $200, so this approximately half-the-price version that homeowner Nasozi Kakembo made using a long IKEA cushion is worth celebrating. To get the look, you could use an AXFRYLE or two smaller cushions like JÄRPÖNs, plus a wooden pole, leather strips, and mix-and-match knobs.
61. A Leather-Upholstered HEMNES with Sneaky Storage Behind
In a one-weekend project, DIYer Robin of And Then We Tried upholstered an IKEA HEMNES bed when the leather beauty she saw while shopping was out of her budget. She attached a pegboard to the front of the headboard so it was a flat rectangular surface and then added her foam, batten, fabric, and upholstery buttons. Behind the headboard is some slender shelving made from 3-inch MDF boards.
62. A Storage-Packed KALLAX Bed
Caroline Sølver (@carolinesoelver) lives in a 600-square-foot apartment in Copenhagen, so she has to sneak in storage where she can — including under her bed. In fact, her bed isn’t a bed at all. It’s a mattress atop some IKEA drawers.
64. A High-End HUTLET Light Hack
65. Stainless Steel Bowls Make for Sleek Lighting
These cool metallic pendants are made using a combination of lamp pieces (pipes, cords, and plates) and spray-painted IKEA BLANDAS. The largest pendant cost $77 to make, and the smallest one cost $47 — a far cry from the $2,345 fixture that inspired New York City-based couple Justus’ and Carla’s DIY.
Accessories and Accents
67. A Clever Room Divider
This cool room divider is made with three IVAR shelf sides. DIYer Shayna of The Flipped Piece stained the pine furniture, stapled burlap onto the back, and added hinges to connect all three pieces. For extra functionality, she slid wood dowels (stained the same shade of brown as the shelf sides) into the furniture’s pre-drilled holes, and now she can hang jewelry and accessories from the dowels.
68. A $120 Fringed MONGSTAD Mirror
Would you believe this maximalist mirror is IKEA underneath? Megan Zietz, DIYer and owner of this extremely colorful home, added 6-inch-long chainette fringe in rows to her MONGSTAD’s frame for a completely new look, and all it took was fabric scissors, a measuring tape, and a hot glue gun. Sadly, the MONGSTAD is no longer available, but if you’re looking for an IKEA mirror with a similarly chunky frame, try the ENHET mirror door; it’ll be smaller in scale, but your fun DIY will pack an equally big design punch.
69. $2 TEKLA Dishtowel Moroccan-Inspired Pillows
When you’re thinking of DIYs you can do with IKEA supplies, don’t overlook textiles. The $2 TEKLA dish towel made for a simple-but-stylish boho pillowcase for Summer Meza of @modernhaus. Although the TEKLA is discontinued, the 20″x28” MARIATHERES or the 24”x18” HILDEGUN will get you a similar look, and they still come with the hanging loops that Summer so cleverly used in her DIY.
70. A DIY Vase
Sculptural vases, ceramics, and stoneware can be expensive, but DIYer Lisa Tisle of We Are Scout made a chic vase with a $2 VASEN (available in the UK), curtain rings, fabric swatches, and decoupage.
71. No-Sew Kitchen Curtains
For those with tiny bathroom and kitchen (or basement bedroom!) windows, this no-sew kitchen SOMAR curtain idea from Kathy Owen of @petticoatjunktion might be your new BFF. You can mix and match colors and IKEA’s tea towel offerings for a patchwork look (especially great for cottage, cabin, or rustic vibes) or keep it consistent across your curtain rod.
72. A Basic Jute Rug Gets a Style Upgrade
Rugs are another great IKEA textile to turn to if you’re looking for your next budget-savvy DIY project. Homeowner and DIYer Kassandra DeFrancis (@yzfhomedecor) gave her woven rug a little more visual interest with a painted-on diamond pattern. Best yet, her redo cost $0 because she already had the rug, the off-white paint she had was left over, and she already owned painter’s tape to create the pattern.
74. An Antiqued Mirror Wall Using IKEA Mirrors
This cool antique-looking mirror wall in designer Kim White’s apartment is actually made of IKEA sheet mirrors (LETTANs) that White hand-painted to give them an antique effect. White says the windows gave her windowless dining nook “much needed pizzazz“ and “a cozy restaurant feel.” She adds that mirrors are a great go-to for making a small space feel larger and for bouncing light around.
75. Little Leggy Planters
Ashley Rose of Sugar and Cloth (making her second appearance on this list!) elevated — literally — her IKEA planters by attaching tapered MCM-style wooden furniture legs to the bottoms. Ashley’s organic-shaped planters from IKEA are sold out, but this would work on almost any of the store’s plant pots, and it’s great for adding a little height variation to your windowsill, porch, or patio display of greenery.
77. A Headboard-Turned Plant Display
In the bedroom showcased in their house tour, Tiffany and Matthew Schlittenhardt actually use a headboard to the left of their bed for a cool plant display. They mounted a slatted IKEA headboard to the wall and then slid in floating shelves for pots to rest on. The NORDLI headboard would work well for this and even comes with accessories to hang from the shelf — perfect for putting a plant or two in.
78. A Hanging Plant Propagation Station
This PRESSA hanging dryer (with its eight arms and 16 clips, plus some test tubes) makes for a great rotating propagation station for beginner plants — or as some commenters on the post from @rogertheplantman are calling it, “a plant chandelier,” a “plantelier,” and “the propagation rotation station for the nation. Finally, some salvation!” Each little stem is sure to get some sunlight.
80. A Planter Made of Under-$7 Bowls
To mimic the look of some dreamy (but expensive) ceramics she’d seen, Tilse of We Are Scout (again!) used a mix of $3 and $6 IKEA bowls, porcelain glue, acrylic paint, and waterproof sealant to create her own curvy planters.