Before and After: A $60 No-Power-Tools Hack Turns a Plain IKEA KALLAX into a Luxe Media Console

published Jan 4, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Mid-century Modern
Organic Modern
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: White four-cube IKEA KALLAX

Some of the most creative furniture hacks we’ve seen at Apartment Therapy take inspiration from popular store pieces and then put their own special twist on them. This Studio McGee-inspired nightstand made from an IKEA MALM has even more drawer space than the original, for example, and this Anthropologie-inspired DIY vanity goes slightly more bold than the original — plus it’s the perfect size for its intended space.

Whether your motive is staying on budget, creating custom sizing, or just challenging yourself to try a new project, there are plenty of reasons to take inspiration from something you’ve seen in the store and make it your own. For Ashley Carnes (@makingourplaceahome), who was in the market for a new media console, the main motivation was budget. She saw the perfect console in a home decor store and completely fell in love — but hit a snag. “Unfortunately it was out of my price range,” Ashley says, “so I started thinking about how I could create it.”

She realized the IKEA KALLAX was about the same size as the fluted wood piece she’d had her eye on, and that she could add her own pine screen moulding from Home Depot to create the same textured door fronts she loved so much.

Ashley started by assembling the body of the cabinet, leaving the doors and drawers off. Then, she cut the moulding and attached it to the door and drawer fronts using wood glue.

To make the KALLAX match the height she was going for, Ashley attached legs underneath its base. The tapered brass style she chose has a little mid-century modern flair and gives the otherwise otherwise blocky piece of furniture some added elegance. Ashley also added the rest of the hardware — the door hinges and drawer slides — during this step. “Because of the moulding, you will have to install the doors deeper into the cube than the IKEA instructions say,” Ashley advises. This means the hardware for the drawers had to scooch a little further back, too, to create the perfectly flush finished look. Once that was done, Ashley installed the doors and drawers to complete her project.

“It was quick to make, and I get tons of compliments from guests,” Ashley says of the finished product, which came to just $120 total (including the KALLAX). “I love the fluted detail of the wood moulding. Also, the color looks amazing against the white. I had originally wanted to paint it white but decided against it when I got it.”

Ashley’s tips for applying fluted texture to furniture doors are to use weights while the glue dries to make sure your moulding attaches well and to spray a sealer over the doors when they’re finished. One other thing to note about adding texture to furniture doors using sheets of moulding: “You can make this even if you don’t have a saw,” Ashley says. “You can use shears!”

Thinking of adding a bit more dimension to furniture that falls flat in 2023? We can’t wait to see!