16 Ingenious IKEA Hacks

Custom furniture is expensive. And let’s face it, while many of us have custom tastes, we don’t have custom budgets. Enter, IKEA— the Swedish furniture company that designs and sells furniture and accessories, most of which are ready-to-assemble— and at a fraction of the cost you’d pay to custom order at a traditional furniture store. The beauty of IKEA’s designs is their simplicity— which makes them utterly and beautifully hackable into an array of other things. The IKEA hack has become a bona fide design category all on its own. Whether you’re working with a bookcase, desk, or dresser, there’s more there than what meets the eye. A kitchen cart can deftly masquerade as a bathroom vanity. That candle dish is just begging to be a bird feeder. Be it Rast, Lack, or Expedit, many of IKEA’s designs can be modified, reworked, finished, refinished, or all out tricked out for your unique needs. We’ve found some of the coolest and best IKEA hacks from around the web. Which one will inspire you to do your own IKEA DIY?

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BIGARRÅ Bird Feeder

The Art of Doing Stuff

Intent on building an inexpensive birdbath for her backyard, Karen simply placed the BIGARRÅ candle dish ($9.99) on a trio of wood dowels for a casually elegant solution.

Related: The 10 Best Bird Feeders for Your Wintertime Yard

BEKVAM Bath Vanity

Ikea Hackers

To save money after shelling out for a rather costly vessel sink, Nick converted a BEKVAM kitchen cart ($59.99) into a bathroom vanity with open shelving.

Related: Vessel Sinks: 10 Works of Art

Copper Shelves


A lackluster shelf gets a shot of glamour with the exact application of copper contact paper (or gold or silver, if you prefer). The simple and clean lines of the shelf make for an ideal application but if doubt your handiwork, the same look can be achieved with metallic spray paint.  

Related: 5 Creative Ways to Build Shelves



Another makeover that yields glamorous results is the upgrade of the Maskros pendant lamp. The addition of paint and glass fixtures (actually small glass bowls) yields an elaborate sputnik-like chandelier.

Related: 11 Eye-Popping Chandeliers Made from the Everyday

Patterned ERSLEV Rug

Hayley Anderson Photography

Using just latex paint and Scotch tape, Hayley added her own design to the inexpensive, off-white, 100% cotton ERSLEV rug ($39.99).

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Own Rug

RAST Console Table

Refreshed Designs

After buying it on sale, Kelly turned the RAST chest ($34.99) into a sleek, industrial-look entryway console, perfect for corralling loose change, incoming mail, and house keys.

Mail Organizer


If you don’t have room for a complete entryway, the Knuff magazine holders can form the base of a nice landing pad to collect keys and mail. Vertically aligned under a shelf, they both support and organize your by the door catch-all. 

FJELLSE Trundle Bed

Stitches and SNPs

Using two simple FJELLSE bed frames ($39.99 each) and basic woodworking skills, Ellen managed to create a compact and budget-friendly trundle bed for a small guest room.  

Related: Sweet Dreams: 16 Inventive Beds You Can Make Yourself

Rustic Card File


If you crave a vintage or rustic look, Ikea might be the last place you’d think to go, but sometimes all it takes is a good stain and brass pulls. In fact, they’ll have your Moppe drawers looking like a one-of-a-kind antiquing find.

GORM Cold Frame

Planted at Home

GORM shelving ($29.99) has been taken apart and put back together again to create this cold frame, an outdoor enclosure for protecting plants during fall, winter, and early spring. Visit Planted at Home for project details.

LACK Table

Architecture Furniture

This handsome coffee table is the result of Matthias joining two shelves from the LACK series ($14.99 apiece) over a set of six legs.

UNG Corkboard

Suze Geeks Out

Combine a few dozen old cork stoppers, spray paint, and the $29.99 UNG frame to create your own corkboard. Head over to Suze Geeks Out for step-by-step instructions.

Related: 5 Things to do with… Wine Corks



Katie (from matsutake) transformed a simple, unfinished pine table (INGO, $69.99) into a decorative yet functional desk. All it took was a few strips of wood to embellish sides, some diligent sanding to prepare the wood surface, and four coats of high-gloss paint to complete the look.

Related: 6 DIY Standing Desk Projects

Modified MALM Bed

Heath Ashli

The MALM bed frame ($149.00) appeals with its clean, modern lines, but Heath Ashli sought to improve the design by adding hinges to carve out an internal storage cavity.

Nail Head Table


The nail head Lack table is a quick and simple Ikea upgrade that requires little more than strips of nail heads and a hammer. When you’re finished the table will read less modern and more Hollywood glamour. 



If you’re looking to make a big impact on a low budget, the combination of a Hemnes tv unit, two Hemnes bookshelves, and a bridging shelf can be assembled to mimic a built in mudroom.  

Related: 17 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways

For more…


If you’re looking for more inspiring ideas for repurposing and up-cycling, consider:

Get Organized: 20 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage

Buy ‘Em or Build ‘Em: 10 Desks we Love

5 Things to Do with… Shipping Pallets