The Most Underrated Items at IKEA, According to Expert-Level DIYers

published Jul 2, 2020
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Credit: Sarah Crowley/Apartment Therapy

It’s no secret that IKEA is a gold mine for affordable, hackable home decor. And in its massive catalog, there are a few tried-and-true favorites that always seem to rise to the top. These classics are classics for a reason: From the storage-packed BILLY bookcase to the endlessly customizable BEKVAM spice rack, they’re all super versatile in terms of both function and style. While there’s nothing wrong with re-visiting the hits, there are plenty of equally great IKEA products that fly under the radar. Seasoned DIYers know where to find those hidden gems—and what to use them for. Here, 7 of their favorites you might have overlooked.

FLÅDIS belly basket

Not only are these collapsible seagrass baskets great for dealing with clutter, says Geneva Vanderzeil of Collective Gen—they’re also perfect for making boho-style lampshades. And at just $9.99 each, it’s worth picking up a few.

Credit: IKEA

HEAT cork trivet

Even if you never cook, these three-for-$4 cork trivets deserve a place in your shopping bag, says Faith Towers-Provencher of Design Fixation. “Because they’re made from cork, they lend themselves to being punctured with items like nails or thumbtacks,” Towers-Provencher says. She took advantage with one of her own projects, creating a cute metallic mirror by inserting silver-toned thumbtacks around the perimeter of the trivet and gluing a small craft mirror to the center.

OSTBIT bamboo plate holder

“It’s often the little products that cost under a tenner that are infinitely hackable,” says Nomita Vaish-Taylor of Your DIY Family. For example, these OSBIT bamboo plate holders (only $2.99 each). Vaish-Taylor used one to make the minimalist magazine rack above, but you could also use it to hold an iPad or cookbook. Hung on the wall, they become a rack for lightweight items like jewelry.

Credit: IKEA

BROR work bench

If you’re looking for a kitchen island or table, consider popping into the utility section of the store. Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY used the sturdy $149 BROR work bench, pictured above, to make a stylish and functional island for her kitchen. “To give it some character and make it look more expensive than it really is, we added hooks to the side, used peel-and-stick tile to upgrade the base, and stained the top a rich color,” she says.

Credit: IKEA

Curtains (any kind)

“IKEA curtains are great, large swatches of fabric,” says Catherine Meschia of ctrl + curate. “I like to use them as is for extended shower curtains or photo backdrops or use them for various sewing projects. This deep green velvet one would be perfect for an oversized lumbar pillow cover!” The cheaper white options go as low as $8.49 for a pair—ideal for experimenting with dye projects.

RÄCKA curtain rod

Another underrated basic in the curtain section? The curtain rods! “IKEA has so many basics for really cheap, so using them in unique ways can totally change a room,” says Arin Jura of Arin Solange at Home. “My most popular IKEA hack is my wall mounted easel. All but one tiny piece of craft wood is from IKEA for such a small price tag, but most people just wouldn’t think to use it this way.”

Credit: IKEA

LINMONN tabletop

When it comes to creating work spaces, it’s hard to beat the glossy LINMONN tabletop. Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth says it’s one of her favorite pieces to use for projects because it’s so versatile—you can add whatever legs you want to make it any height you want, from coffee table to bar. The glossy finish is also perfect for creating dry erase work tables or boards, Rose says.