Projects & Improvements

10 Clever IKEA IVAR Hacks You Can Use All Over the House

updated Jan 12, 2023
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IKEA IVAR bookshelf made from IVAR frames and 3-drawer chests.
Credit: IKEA

IKEA carries tons of totally hackable products, from the tried-and-true BILLY bookcase to cheaper items like the $10 LACK side table. But IKEA’s IVAR system is, by design, modular and customizable — which makes it particularly fun to see all the ways it gets wrangled and reshaped by its buyers. It turns out there’s a use for it in pretty much every room in the house! Skeptical? Take a look at these 10 inspiring IVAR projects — and then start dreaming up your next hack.

1. Put them together to make a large console. 

We love the way @Styleandsugar has placed two IVAR cabinets side by side with a third separated by shelving to make a massive living room storage piece. In this IKEA IVAR hack, she painted her custom furniture white in keeping with the rest of the room’s light, minimalist look. 

2. Create a cool loft bed with storage underneath

One of our favorite small bedroom storage ideas is to raise up a bed to create a space to store items underneath. That’s what @our_life.story did in this kid’s room, lining up three IVAR cabinets in a row to create a makeshift loft for the twin-sized bed. 

3. Give it a mid-mod makeover. 

By adding a set of funky legs, @und_anne_so_yeah gives her IVAR cabinet a unique hack that fits perfectly into the rest of her living room. Of course, the bright orange paint job on the furniture legs doesn’t hurt either! 

4. Turn it into a breezy room divider.

Studio apartments or other open floor plans can benefit from a little division, which helps make areas cozier and less cavernous. Here, the IVAR becomes a functional “wall” that still lets enough light through to the rest of the eclectic loft space.

5. Give it tiny pops of color.

IVAR is, of course, a super practical and affordable storage spot. What makes this setup at Joy Cho’s studio special? The hints of color used on just the edges of the shelves, which provides the teeniest bit of color against the natural wood.

6. Add fluted wood details.

Trendy fluted wood decor is totally DIYable — and there’s no better base for the trend than the flat-front IVAR cabinet. Here, Becca added brass pin legs to give the cabinet a little lift, and used individual pine half-round moulding to make the fluted pattern on its doors. A sweet pink color makes it look super delicate; for a moodier take, you could paint the results black instead.

7. Make a mimalist geometric design.

The cool geometric design on the doors of these IVAR cabinets? It’s made with metallic bronze tape! Setting the cabinets together and making a design that spans both makes them look like a singular unit. The DIYer, Anna-Vera, also added legs with a gold cap — the perfect metallic complement.

8. Craft a retro bar cabinet.

Interior designer Melanie affixed curved pieces of MDF to the doors of this IVAR cabinet before painting it a vintage-inspired mint green. Then, she added glam gold knobs and legs, plus racks for glassware inside — the perfect finishing touch for this cheery bar cabinet.

9. Hack a dining room credenza.

Two IVAR cabinets side-by-side are the exact right size for a dining room credenza. DIYer Catarina made hers by painting her cabinets deep blue and adding gold legs. The result is an affordable credenza that also offers tons of storage.

Credit: Megan Bell

10. Install cane webbing on the doors.

The caned decor obsession is still going strong, but off-the-shelf pieces can be pricey. Megan Bell got the look for less by installing cane webbing in the doors of her IVAR cabinets. Painting the frame white and adding gold legs makes the look totally fresh.

Credit: IKEA

11. Turn the cabinets into wall art.

Try painting a mural over IVAR cabinets for storage that doubles as art. Even better? Mount the cabinets directly on the wall for a unique look that saves on floor space.

12. Give cabinet fronts a ribbed look.

Call this ribbed style the edgier cousin of fluted wood. It works great for adding texture to IVAR cabinet fronts for a look that’s minimalist-with-a-twist. Here, Emma gave her IVAR cabinet an on-trend ribbed look using stripwood. She left it unstained for a natural look; you could also stain or paint it a color for a bolder style.

Credit: Karen Palmer

13. Turn it into a vanity.

This $500 bathroom makeover includes a vanity made by hacking an IVAR cabinet. With some cuts made for plumbing, a sink on top, and a new coral color, the cabinet is totally unrecognizable.