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10 IKEA Furniture Hacks We’re Saving for the Weekend

A fresh coat of paint is just the tip of the iceberg.

July 18, 2019

IKEA furniture. There's simply no escaping it. The ubiquitous Billy bookcase, for instance, never seems to go out style. We are drawn to IKEA products precisely for being simple, cheery, and functional—its hard to argue with a $15 table—but it is also okay to want a bit more personality every now and then. Good thing then, that its no-frill designs need no longer be a limitation. The decision to buy a new IKEA sofa may never be the most momentous decision you will make, but it is something that you can always update and refresh.

A quick internet search will fill your browser with clever ideas and inventive hacks for turning your IKEA basics into statement pieces and customized solutions—and a fresh coat of paint is just the tip of the iceberg. These are just some of our favorites hacks, so consider your weekend plans made, and your home aesthetic upgraded.

A Side Table That Punches Above Its Weight

Photo by Via Style Me Pretty

A little bit of marble contact paper and copper leaf will take that boring side table into Instagram-fodder territory. The foundation is set with any IKEA table’s sleek shape, making an ideal blank canvas for creating the effect of luxe texture and shine—just follow Style Me Pretty’s lead.

The Built-In (Wink, Wink) Shelf Wall

Photo by Via designsixtynine

Things get a bit more involved on designsixtynine. Hacking your way to a wall of built-in shelves (from the Billy line) will probably take up an entire weekend, depending on how handy you are, but it’s surprisingly straightforward and exponentially more affordable than, say, moving to another home with dreamy wall units. The results will transform your entire living room while offering stylish, functional storage.

An Ottoman With Personality

The versatile ottoman not only offers extra seating (and some, even storage space), it also—with the right pop of print and color—immediately livens things up. It’s also much easier (and cheaper) to find your must-have fabric than your must-have ottoman, so take these tips from Kristi Murphy and update your understated IKEA ottoman.

The Desk Of Your Dreams

Photo by Via Addison Meadows Lane

You can never seem find the perfect desk—one that’s spacious enough yet compact, chic yet practical and plentiful in storage. And when you do find one that's both sturdy and spacious, case in point, this IKEA Rast dresser has the solution to all your desk-related problems. You’ll need to get a little crafty, but a desk fit for a boss is just around the weekend.

The Upgraded Drinking Station

Photo by Via domino

Domino’s idea for turning this wheeled table into a chic bar cart is similar to the marble side table makeover, and just as easy. People will either think you worked harder at this than you did, or that you scored the ultimate accent furniture piece. With some wallpaper and attention to detail, this bar cart will liven up aperitivo hour at your home.

A Better Way to Do Mail Call

Photo by Via Instructables

Admit it: You have one of those tables where all mail goes to die. Everyone does. Instructables can help, with a few of these magazine files and any flat shelf. Stained and assembled, you’ll have a clever way to keep your mail sorted and out of sight.

Make Your Own Island (in the Kitchen)

Photo by Via Golden Boys & Me

Does any piece of furniture for the kitchen have bigger MVP status than the island? You can use it for storage, for a cooking and prep surface, and even as a dining space. With a refreshingly undaunting project from Golden Boys & Me, you can build one to the exact specs you want using those good ol' friends of ours—the Billy bookshelves.

Bathroom Storage To Make You Sing

Photo by Via Ich Designer

Ich Designer has an idea for an incredibly quick and easy solution to the problem of ever-shrinking kitchen storage. Cut down a slatted bed base to the size of your choosing and stock up on S-hooks, adding whatever other little buckets, bowls, or planters you wish. This project works just as well for any other room, too.

Your Bedroom, Elevated

Photo by Via Oh Yes Blog

This hack from Oh Yes has a lot going for it: it adds tons of storage space while remaining compact, lends dimension to your bedroom, and if you have a studio, could act as a great space separator. This is definitely an all-hands-on-deck kind of project, but seriously boosts both the form and function of your bedroom with the simple use of some wood slabs and kitchen cabinets.

The “Where Did You Find That?!” Nightstand

Photo by Via Vintage Revivals

It’s a great feeling when someone notices how special a piece in your home is, or is dying to know what estate sale or hidden antique shop you found it. That’s not a reaction you’re going to get out of IKEA's trusty Rast dresser—unless, of course, you spruce it up à la Vintage Revival. Follow the tips on how to execute the perfect sand and paint job, and as a final touch choose the right hardware to seal the deal.

What IKEA hack are you gearing up to tackle? Tell us in the comments!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As a Skimlinks affiliate, Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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  • Miriam
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Courtney Iseman

Written by: Courtney Iseman


Miriam January 9, 2020
I have used Billy bookcases for maximum storage in two rooms of my small cottage. In the kitchen where there was very little storage I lined one empty wall with 5 Billy bookcases with doors. This holds my pantry (both packaged and mason jar for dry goods), and my dishes. In the livingroom I lined one wall with Billys and hung curtains in front and put my sofa in front of that. Cosy, tons of storage and cheap. (I already had 3 Billys from my last place and only had to add one in the livingroom). I did have one space in my kitchen that could use another shelving unit but it was only 25" wide and IKEA simply doesn't have anything that width. Shame. I had to go HD and pay more but I found one that would fit.
Fred M. April 19, 2018
Lot of good tips here..but will like to say big thank you to guru contact [email protected] for your common and corporate hacking problems.. they are very good and reliable, they helped me upgrade my result which i never believed…And also can help in others like Hacking Iphone, emails, Whatsapp..
PHIL January 24, 2018
i did a metal bar cart hack. $30 for the cart and a couple of cans of gold spray paint.