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The 9 Most Unconventional Ways to Use an IKEA Shelf

Who doesn't like a good IKEA hack? If you've got an IKEA hack itch to scratch, take a look at these brilliant if unorthodox uses for IKEA shelves. They might just inspire your next IKEA shopping spree.

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On the Rocks and Roll

An IKEA KALLAX bookshelf is transformed into an elegant and modern bar cart with the simple addition of oversize drawer pulls above and casters below. Aside from the hardware, all you need is a drill and a screwdriver to pull off this IKEA shelves hack and get your home ready for a classic cocktail party. Martinis, anyone?

Related: 14 Retro Home Trends It’s Time to Revisit


Those who harbor eclectic tastes won’t find much worth their while at the famously minimalist IKEA—until now. IKEA’s simple aesthetic makes their furniture the perfect base for just about any imaginative accent, provided you have vision and the right materials. Case in point: This BILLY bookcase was transformed into a quirky dresser with the addition of handmade, hand-painted drawers embellished with offbeat knobs and pulls.

Related: 10 New Uses for Old Dressers

Sneaky AC

This brilliant IKEA hack provides decor and storage as well as a hideaway for an ugly air-conditioning unit. A portion of the back of this BILLY bookcase was cut away to make room for the AC unit, while the front was fitted with doors cut to size from plain boards bought at the hardware store. With the addition of a few hinges and knobs, the doors can be left wide open in the summertime to let cool air flow, and closed for the other nine months to conceal the bulky eyesore. With a smart IKEA shelves hack like this, you’ll never need to compromise on style for the sake of comfort.

Related: 7 Ways to Hide the Ugly Things Your House Can’t Do Without

Hack a Workshop

Two IKEA KALLAX shelving units form the upper cabinets in a garage workshop consisting almost entirely of IKEA buys, from the lower cabinets assembled from dressers to the white desktops above. The transformed KALLAX shelves are heavy duty, and the roomy cubbies offer plenty of space to store everything from paint to power tools. Hung on the wall with toggle anchors, they perfectly frame the tool-toting pegboard between them.

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Island Oasis

Clad in beadboard and trim, and topped with a butcher-block countertop, three BILLY bookcases form the base of a classic kitchen island IKEA shelves hack. Here, shelves are left open to allow easy access to staples and supplies, but with a little more effort they could be covered with custom doors for a cleaner look. 

Related: 12 Vintage Kitchen Features We Were Wrong to Abandon

Little LACK

The slim profile of this wall-mounted console table proves that you can add surface space to just about any narrow entry or tiny bedroom. Fashioned from an IKEA LACK shelf and two ADILS legs, this slender table rings up at just $22, making it friendly for skinny budgets as well as skinny rooms.

Related: 8 Unique Ways to Build Your Own Table

Turn the Tables

What do you get when you add up one IKEA LACK shelf, four NIPEN table legs, and 10 minutes of your time? A functional and fashionable sofa table, of course. This narrow piece is the perfect answer to the common design conundrum of what to do with a living room that can’t comfortably fit end tables next to a sofa. 

Related: 16 Designs for a Low-Cost Coffee Table

Striped Seating

Turned on its side, the KALLAX shelf unit makes a sturdy base for an entryway bench or breakfast-nook seating. With the addition of an upholstered plywood back and a box cushion for a seat, this innovative IKEA shelves hack can serve as a practical place to park your caboose as well as any supplies you’d like close at hand but out of view. 

Related: Designers Reveal Their Top Ten IKEA Go-Tos

Change a Changing Table

Love the functionality of an IKEA shelving unit but not the laminate finish? No problem! Just wrap the outside with something you like better, as seen on this EXPEDIT shelf unit turned changing table. The rustic stained-pine facade on this IKEA shelves hack gives a grown-up feel to the budget buy and ties it in with the wood frames of the artwork above it.

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