Before and After: This IKEA STÄLL Hack Cost $600 But Looks Way More Expensive

published Oct 23, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly

There are plenty of reasons to try an IKEA hack. Maybe you’ve had your IKEA piece for years and are looking to change up its style, maybe you love a good DIY project and saw a cool hack online you want to replicate, or maybe you saw a (much more expensive) piece of furniture in a store or catalog that you want to create the look of for a fraction of the cost. 

For Alicja Dvorak, the latter was true. “Cabinets like these can cost over $2,000, so this cabinet costing $600 is a win in my book!” Alicja says. She started with two IKEA STÄLL cabinets — which cost $150 apiece — and then she used about $150 for each cabinet’s trim, glue, and paint. 

Alicja says the cabinet was perfect for her and her fiance’s narrow hallway, but as-is, it looked a bit “boring and dull.” 

Each door got a fluted trim treatment. 

“I wanted it to look custom and add some texture to the front cabinets,” Alicja says. “This was my first time transforming a piece of furniture on my own.”

First, Alicja cut fluted trim paneling from The Home Depot (each panel was about 10 feet long) to the size of the STALL doors with a handheld electric circular saw, and then she clamped and glued those to the door fronts with Gorilla Glue. She covered the STALL’s old handles for opening entirely because she knew she was going to add new gold hardware afterward.  

“I was so nervous I was going to measure the fluted trim wrong or that it wasn’t going to hold up,” she says. “I ran into some dilemmas with the doors not opening after I added the trim and had to figure out a solution. Thankfully my brother came to the rescue and gave me a hand by helping shave off a sliver at the bottom of each cabinet door.” That was a slight challenge, as was sanding.

Sanding, painting, and hardware came next. 

Alicja recommends that anyone looking to do a similar hack sands the fluted wood paneling before adding it to the doors. She did it after it was already glued, and it was the longest step in the process because she had to reach some awkward angles. She relied on both power sanding with an electric sander and hand-sanding with sandpaper sheets. “This process was time-consuming, but a very important part of the DIY!” she says.

After sanding was complete, Alicja finished the piece with primer, off-white paint (Behr’s Swiss Coffee), and brass finger tab pulls from Amazon. “I love how this DIY turned out and how custom this cabinet now looks,” Alicja says. “It completely transformed our space!”