11 Totally Unexpected Uses for IKEA Furniture

The best part about buying IKEA is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. Out of the box, each piece is wildly versatile and can often be used for multiple purposes and in a number of different rooms. But sometimes you need a special design to suit a tricky problem area that's unique to your home—something so specific that even an IKEA piece won't quite fit the bill. Fortunately, with a little customization, you can make it happen. The simplicity of the brand’s designs makes them easy to hack and reinvent to meet your needs. As these 11 clever ideas show, all it takes is thinking outside the (flat-pack) box.

  1. Cat Fancy

    DIY Cat Bed

    Cats have a reputation for wanting to be the center of attention. Use the Bekvam Kitchen Cart to create a lofty cat bed that puts your cat right where all the action is. All you need is two scraps of sturdy fabric (also sold at IKEA) cut to fit the space above the slatted shelf. Then, using a fabric stapler, secure the material in place at a suitable height.

    Related: 10 Over-the-Top Ways to Pamper Your Pet


  2. Bed Basics

    IKEA Underbed Storage

    There’s an art to maximizing the storage space in your home. Keep the area beneath your bed extra organized with help from the drawers in your old Tyssedal dresser. Simply measure the height between the floor and your bed frame, then select the drawers that best fit the space. Now, for the genius part: Use a hot-glue gun to attach felt to the bottom of each drawer, creating the perfect no-scratch solution for your floors.

    Related: Underbed Storage—8 Helpers to Buy or DIY


  3. Window Unit

    DIY Window Bench

    More toys, more problems. To avoid losing space in your child’s bedroom to bulky storage units, try this furniture combination. You'll need two Alex drawer units and a Bestå cabinet to create a window storage bench that keeps toys out of sight. Keep the cabinets from sliding around by attaching them together with screws. Then, re-cover a couple of old couch cushions, and you’ve got a clutter-busting spot that’s also a comfy place to sit.

    Related: 15 DIY Storage Ideas to Help Corral Your Kids' Clutter


  4. Sitting Pretty

    DIY Pouf

    A pouf is great if you're looking for a stylish place to rest your feet. If you can’t find one that perfectly fits your decor, you can use a rug from IKEA (like the Stockholm, shown here) to make your own. Simply fold the rug in half lengthwise, and then cut out two squares (for the top and bottom) and four rectangles (for the sides) to suit your desired dimensions. Sew the pieces together, then stuff with foam filler. Done!

    Related: 10 Doable Designs for a DIY Rug


  5. Cocktail Hour

    DIY Ottoman

    Entertaining is much easier if guests have a place to set their drinks. Rather than spending hundreds on a cocktail ottoman, repurpose a set of Vittsjö nesting tables by spray-painting them the color of your choice and adding an upholstered seat. Bonus: The fabric color is completely up to you.

    Related: 16 Designs for a Low-Cost DIY Coffee Table


  6. No-Mess Mudroom

    Mudroom Storage Bench

    Your foyer is a catchall for all the activities of daily life, which is why you need to take extra care to keep yours well organized. This setup—built using a couple of Stuva storage benches—will accommodate the basics: Shoes, coats, hats, and more. Cover the top of the bench with grooved pine planks (available at your local hardware store), and hang a few hooks for jackets, purses, and backpacks.

    Related: 7 Ways To Transform Your Mudroom in 48 Hours


  7. Table Talk

    DIY Marble Table

    If you love the look of marble but can’t afford the price tag, this quick and easy hack will let you create the end table of your dreams. All you need is the Grundtal laundry bin, a wooden shelf, and a roll of peel-and-stick marble-patterned contact paper. Cover the wooden shelf with the paper to create a faux-marble tabletop, and no one will know the difference!


  8. Hang Loose

    Hanging Table

    Do you think you don't have room for a bedside table? This smart solution may prove you wrong: Pick up a chopping board from IKEA (whatever size or shape you prefer), then hang it from the ceiling using nothing more than steel wires and a hook. Very chic!


  9. Gorgeous Garden

    DIY Herb Garden

    Set up your own indoor herb garden using the Råskog kitchen cart in mint. Next, decorate with washi tape for added style, then fill the cart with your favorite herbs. The best part of this project is its portability: Roll it into the kitchen when you’re cooking, or over to a sunny window if you notice that your plants are starting to droop.

    Related: Your Easiest-Ever Garden—7 Planters That Do All the Work


  10. Fancy Faucet

    DIY Bathroom Vanity

    Build a better bathroom using the Rast three-drawer dresser, the Blanda blank serving bowl, and a few Lansa handles. To add the side shelves, simply extend the chest using wood from your local hardware store, then drill holes in the bowl and dresser where the plumbing will need to go. When you’re finished, give the whole structure a fresh (and pretty) coat of waterproof paint.

    Related: Make Your Own Vanity—12 Inventive Bathroom Rehabs


  11. Desk Detail

    DIY Standing Desk

    We spend countless hours seated at the computer, yet studies show that we should stand frequently throughout the day for better health. Use IKEA’s Sektion system to design a desk to suit your space, then install a linear actuator and rocker switch to lift and lower the desk during your workday (find the full technical instructions here).

    Related: 10 Space-Smart Ways to Squeeze In a Home Office


  12. Don't Miss!


    Even if you've got your heart set on hardwood flooring, it's worth considering the alternatives. Sometimes, materials that only look like wood can be just as good as—or even better than—the real thing. Explore your options now!