Before and After: An IKEA Hack Saved this DIYer Thousands on Their Living Room Makeover

published Jan 19, 2024
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

Sometimes, rooms in homes are “partway there” for a long time. Maybe you love your coffee table and rug, but someday you’ll splurge on a new sofa. Maybe you love your countertops and hardware, but someday you’ll paint your kitchen cabinets

In Kelly Kahn’s (@no2threestoryhome) living room, which she shares with her husband and sons, she loved the wallpaper and color scheme, but she’d always envisioned built-in shelving along the TV wall. “We liked media walls we had seen and knew that this would give us more storage,” Kelly says. 

The only problem? When Kelly and her husband got a quote for custom built-ins, the total came out to £2,500, or about $3,200 USD. With the help of Kelly’s dad (and IKEA), the Kahns made built-ins for £800, or about $1,000. 

Credit: Kelly Kahn
Credit: Kelly Kahn

The built-ins are made up of IKEA pieces. 

First, they built a framework for IKEA BESTA units to sit atop, and this stretched all the way along the base of the wall. 

They used three of the two-cube units for cabinet storage (with HANVIKEN doors) at the bottom and cut openings in the back to account for outlets. An extra-clever IKEA moment in this media wall is that for the vertical pieces of the unit, they used IKEA LACK shelves rotated 90 degrees (they also used some of these horizontally), and the thinner shelves that are BERGSHULTs.

Kelly’s best advice for someone taking on a similar project is to “measure and create a plan first,” and she says the biggest setback for her and her dad was that the wall wasn’t completely straight, so they had to fill in some gaps with caulk. 

Credit: Kelly Kahn
Credit: Kelly Kahn

The living room feels more complete. 

Kelly says if she could change one thing about the project, she’d add cornice molding at the top of the unit to make the room feel more complete, but she’s happy with “how [she] can style the shelves and hide toys!” 

“The room has a focal point,” she adds. Complete with the Laura Ashley wallpaper and Pale Linen paint, the cozy rug, and the new furniture, the living room looks meant-to-be.