10 of the Best Double-Duty Items at IKEA
Multipurpose seems to be in IKEA’s DNA—the Swedish brand is always churning out collapsible, mobile, and transformable products with handy features. Design chameleons, as I like to call them. You think something’s a table, then all of a sudden, pull the pieces apart and you’ve got a storage basket and a tray. IKEA also seems to understand that small space living is on the rise, and this trend calls for items with dual functionality. Because if you only have 500 square feet, your stuff has to work harder than ever before to earn its floor (or wall) space. So when it comes to double-duty furniture on a budget, no one really does it like IKEA. And for that, I salute these ten pieces, a few of which I own myself—and know will be coming with to my next home and the one after that. Because these IKEA gems will make themselves useful there, one way or another.
1. RÅSKOG Utility Cart in Dark Blue, $30
There’s no better place to start than with the RÅSKOG cart. Overexposed? Maybe, but for good reason. It can be extra storage for things like spices and such in the kitchen. But it’s great for art supplies or toys in a playroom too. I’ve seen more than one chic salon use this cart to corral hair products and nail polishes, and have you thought about using a pair as nightstands? Genius. As an editor, I’ve used RÅSKOG in countless stories and shoots, and it is, without question, the one item everyone seems to want to take home from set. If you’re on the fence about buying one of these, just do it.
2. FLÅDIS Basket, $13
I hoard candles, blankets, and baskets like it’s nobody’s business. And the most practical of the three are baskets, of course, because they can hold the other two. When IKEA released the FLÅDIS, I scooped two up, and they’ve never disappointed. First and foremost, they look way more expensive than they are. You can use one handles-up for throws in a living room or linens in the bathroom. But you can also turn the handles down and use it in its half-collapsed form to hold utensil sets at a party or even for serving bread.
3. SATSUMAS Plant Stand, $40
This plant ladder looks like something Joanna Gaines has propped with on “Fixer Upper”—pretty sure she used this exact piece in a children’s space to hold crayons and markers. But you can get even crazier with this one. My first choice is using it as a vertical herb garden, filled with plants in your kitchen. But keep in mind that those little planters are totally optional. So this could just be a ladder leaning against the wall in your bedroom to hold purses and scarves. Or maybe it’s your guest bathroom towel rack. Or did you want to hang magazines and newspapers from one in the living room? Up to you.
4. SKÅDIS Pegboard, $10
I’ve preached about the utility of pegboards before and honestly had no idea that IKEA added one to their back-to-college offerings. What can’t a pegboard do? Obvious choices—jewelry “box,” pot rack, place to hang ribbons and rolled papers if you’re a serious crafter. But I also wonder if a few of these mounted side-by-side together could be a cheap headboard alternative. Or hung vertically, a back-of-door closet organizer. The possibilities are endless.
5. KALLAX Shelf Unit in White, $109
Airy room divider? Entryway cubbies for a makeshift mudroom? Bookcase? You decide with KALLAX shelving, IKEA’s latest incarnation of the once beloved EXPEDIT system. This 4×4 cube square packs the most storage bang for your buck and is the best option for room partitioning. But you can also find smaller, rectangular KALLAX configurations, which can be used either standing or lying on their sides.
As an apartment dweller, I wouldn’t buy a coffee table that doesn’t have something beyond its surface to offer. With its built-in wire basket, this shiny steel model on casters reminds me of a cross between a commercial kitchen island and an old school locker bin, and I’m not mad at those industrial vintage vibes. You could use one of these in just about any room.
7. SVARTSJÖN Hook Rack, $6
When seeing this wall-mount hook rail in the store, you probably think it’s just for hanging jackets, bags, keys, and maybe pet leashes. But why not coffee mug rack or bathroom towel holder?
8. VILTO Storage Stool in Black, $35
Similar to my logic above about shopping for coffee tables, I wouldn’t buy a foot stool that didn’t offer some kind of storage. The VILTO comes in two colors and but has multiple functions: foot rest, magazine holder, bathroom caddie, you name it. I’d also keep my tablet and tv remotes here.
9. KOMPLEMENT Multi-Use Hanger, $7
Although it takes up the space of one regular clothes hanger, this organizer has 18 (yep, 18!) circular slots for things like scarves and belts. But it’s also kind of perfect as an entryway wall organizer. Post notes and reminders here, stash a grocery tote and even your keys or the dog leash. All you need is a hook or nail to hang it from.
10. KALLAX Wire Basket, $12
I’d snap one of these gold boxes under a kitchen cabinet, and use it to keep my aluminum foil and plastic wrap handy. But it also works to add a glam vibe (and extra storage) to KALLAX shelving unit above!
Well, IKEA’s double-duty game is certainly strong. Can’t wait to see what multi-function item they cook up next.