I love mixing beautiful designer pieces with vintage finds and DIYs. I think that’s how you get the best results without breaking the bank and it really adds some personality and uniqueness to a space.
Hacking IKEA furniture into custom pieces is one of my favourite types of DIY projects. The possibilities are almost endless and these projects are not overly complicated as you don’t need to start from scratch.
There are dozens of pieces from IKEA that can be hacked or customised but I have 8 favourites:
- The BILLY Bookcases
- The IVAR Cabinet
- The BESTA TV Bench
- The PAX Wardrobes
- The TARVA Chest of Drawers
- The SEKTION cabinets
- The Godmorgon vanity
- The Soderhamn Sofa
1. The BILLY Bookcases
These are definitely my favourites and I’ve hacked quite a few already. These are some of the projects I’ve done using BILLY bookcases:
Here I turned the BILLY Bookcases into statement built-in bookcases to display my favourite books and décor items.
I created a very on-trend arched freestanding bookcase to fill an awkward corner in the living room of our new apartment.
I made custom built-in shelves to hide our laundry and add extra storage in our bathroom.
Here I converted them into custom storage for our entryway to hide shoes, umbrellas and all the things you do not want to display.
2. The IVAR Cabinet
I love how easy these cabinets are to customize as they are ready to paint. Paint them the colour you want, add beautiful pulls and legs and you will have a completely personalised cabinet. You can combine two or three to suit your space and they exist in two different depth depending on what you need.
Here’s a sideboard I’ve made using these cabinets:
The IVAR cabinets are also great to build a custom desk or can be stacked for extra storage.
3. The BESTA TV Bench
These are great to create either a custom TV unit or a built-in banquette seat.
To customize it as a TV unit, simply add statement pulls, legs (or you can wall mount it) and potentially a table top. You can combine 2 or 3 together to make it look custom made and cover your entire TV wall. A great way to personalise them is with beautiful doors from companies such as Semihandmade that sell custom doors that are made for IKEA cabinets.
In this example, I’ve simply added doughnut legs, rattan pulls and an MDF board that I painted with a concrete look paint:
The BESTA TV benches also make great banquette seating. They can be used as a window seat in a bedroom, as a bench seat in a mudroom or as a banquette seating in a breakfast nook for instance. Run the same skirting boards around the units as what you have in the rest of the room and it will instantly look like a built-in piece. Then you just need to add some foam wrapped in a beautiful fabric and you’ve got a beautiful custom banquette!
Here I’ve used it to add some extra storage and seating next to this beautiful sage kitchen:
In this kitchen, I’ve used it to create a cosy dining nook (and the back is made from pool noodles!):
4. The PAX Wardrobes
I often recommend IKEA Pax wardrobes to my clients as they have lots of different options so you can really create your dream wardrobe with lots of drawers, shoes racks and accessories trays.
You can make them look built-in by adding trims and mouldings and you can personalise them by painting them or by adding some beautiful pulls and knobs
Not really a hack but this is how they look in our walk-in closet:
Some great built-in options:
Photography: Apartment Therapy / Fronteriors / Erin Kestenbaum
5. The TARVA Chest of Drawers
Like the IVAR cabinets, these chests of drawers are made from raw pine so they are ready to paint and don’t require to be sanded. Paint them your favourite colour, replace the knobs, change the legs and you’ve got a unique chest of drawers for your bedroom or nursery.
Photography: Sarah Sherman Samuel / Lone Fox
6. The SEKTION cabinets
Renovating a kitchen can be very expensive. A great way to save money on your kitchen renovation is by using IKEA cabinets and customize them with custom doors and beautiful handles. The cabinets won’t be visible so no one will be able to tell it’s an IKEA kitchen and they come in a wide range of sizes so they can work with almost any layout and design you have in mind.
You can either get your carpenter to create completely custom doors for you or you can purchase them from stores such as Semihandmade and Allstyle Retrofit.
Depending on where you live, the cabinets are either called SEKTION or METHOD.
Here’s an example of a kitchen I have designed using IKEA cabinets:
7. The GODMORGON vanity
These are very easy to hack, simply add a beautiful stone or timber benchtop, beautiful pulls and no one will be able to tell it’s an IKEA vanity. You can also personalise it with custom doors for a more custom look.
In this bathroom, I’ve simply added some statement rattan pulls and a reclaimed wood benchtop:
A few built-in options for larger bathrooms:
Photography: Sarah Sherman Samuel / Jenna Sue Design
The SEKTION cabinets can also be used to make custom vanities.
8. The Soderhamn Sofa
Probably the easiest hack on the list. Simply replace the covers with beautiful linen or velvet covers for instance and you’ve got a whole new sofa! You could also easily replace the legs. Comfort Works and Bemz are two great suppliers to get your covers from and they have a wide range of fabrics available.
This is a great hack if you have young kids or pets (or if you’re a red wine amateur) as you can always replace the covers if needed.
This hack can be applied to any IKEA sofa but the Soderhamn is my favourite!
Here are two examples of living rooms where I’ve used this hack. The first one has linen covers from Bemz and the second from Comfort Works.
I hope this inspired you to try some of these hacks! Let me know which one is your favourite 😊
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