We love IKEA for its affordable prices, modern design, and cutting-edge product releases. However, given that the Swedish mega-retailer prints more copies of its catalog than there are sales of the Bible each year (yes, really), it's only natural to worry that your new flat-packed furniture won’t look unique when millions of home decorators are buying the same thing.
Enter: The IKEA hack. These simple upgrades instantly elevate your affordable finds into stylish, expensive-looking décor. Whether it's IKEA shelving, cabinets, or desks, you can transform the functional pieces into furniture so chic no one will think you bought it at IKEA. All it takes is a little know-how and an eye for design. Here are 20 IKEA hacks to try for yourself or inspire your own original design.
The IKEA Product: Tarva 5-Drawer Chest
The IKEA Hacks: Tarva 5-Drawer Chest
Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel used a few simple design hacks to turn a standard wooden dresser from IKEA into a clean, fresh-looking piece of furniture. You can use white paint, brass knobs, and metallic gold spray paint to replicate this contemporary look.
Or, opt for a stain and switch out the hardware like Cherished Bliss.
The IKEA Product: Bestå Burs Desk
The IKEA Hacks: Bestå Burs Desk
Upgrade any IKEA desk with this simple contact paper hack. When the all-white, glossy look feels tired, find some walnut contact paper to give your drawers the illusion of a wood finish. You'll be left with a more refined, dynamic design.
Add a touch of luxe to an IKEA desk with gold spray paint.
The IKEA Product: Billy Bookcase
The IKEA Hacks: Billy Bookcase
Custom built-ins don't come cheap, so we love The Makerista's genius idea to put three of IKEA's popular Billy bookcases together. A solid baseboard and crown molding were added so it blends perfectly with the period style of this home. Memorize this IKEA shelving hack for an easy upgrade.
You could also add a sliding door to the Billy bookcase to keep clutter out of sight.
The IKEA Product: Tarva 3-Drawer Chest
The Hacks: Tarva 3-Drawer Chest
Rather than simply refining the aesthetics of a regular IKEA dresser, take your DIY skills one step further and upgrade the function as well. Diane of In My Own Style managed to transform a dresser into a rolling desk with some swivel wheels, brakes, hinges, and a few panels of extra wood. The final product looks like a refurbished vintage file cabinet that's full of character.
Use an overlay, a new paint color, swivel wheels and bold knobs to makeover the Tarva 3-drawer chest into a beverage or dessert cart.
Completely revamp an IKEA dresser into a luxe piece fit for the master bedroom using this IKEA hack from DIY pro Erin Spain. Use a fresh coat of paint, new handles, and legs to get the look. We love the deep navy color, upgraded legs, and brass hardware of the finished product.
The IKEA Product: Stockholm Mirror
The IKEA Hack: Stockholm Mirror
By attaching some affordable leather belts from H&M to a round mirror from IKEA, Swedish designer Sarah Widman created an insanely stylish accent piece.
The IKEA Product: Linnmon/Lerberg Table
The IKEA Hacks: Linnmon/Lerberg Table
One clever DIY-er gave a simple IKEA trestle desk a luxe makeover by simply covering the top with marble-printed contact paper (available in hardware stores or online). Fooled us!
A stack of books and green paint give the Linnmon / Lerberg desk an unexpected look.
The IKEA Product: Aina Fabric
The IKEA Hacks: Aina Fabric
Wash and tumble the Aina fabric and use it as a blanket over the bed, or as a throw blanket over the couch.
One area of IKEA you've most likely overlooked is the fabric section. We love this hack that uses IKEA's textured raw cotton, Minna, to make textile pots. Sew the fabric into a simple shape and place it around basic planters, before painting with stripes of varying hues.
Add a pop of color wherever you need one by putting out a plant in a colorful pot.
The IKEA Product: Malm Bed Frame
The IKEA Hacks: Malm Bed Frame
Any furniture hack that doesn't involve a drill is one we definitely want to know about. Blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth used a little Stikwood adhesive and some wood panels to spruce up her IKEA Malm bed frame. The end result is a reclaimed wood look with little woodworking involved. It does require a rotary saw to get the length right, but that's nothing you can't handle.
For a warmer aesthetic, one DIY-er used grey wood vinyl planks to create a rustic look.
The IKEA Product: Tarva 6-Drawer Chest
The IKEA Hacks: Tarva 6-Drawer Chest
A coat of soft green paint and a set of brass bar pulls transform IKEA's wooden Tarva dresser from something plain into something photogenic. This adorable dresser looks far from a budget buy and fits right into the nursery décor of this space.
A new paint job involving a stain and a coat of cheery green paint is anything but boring.
The IKEA Product: Sektion Cabinets
The IKEA Hacks: Sektion Cabinets
For those who want the look of custom cabinetry without the cost, Semihandmade doors are the answer. The company produces doors, panels, and drawer faces designed specifically to fit IKEA cabinets, and as you can see by these pretty sage cabinets, they look quite luxurious.
Metal pulls upgrade Ikea's Sektion base cabinets.
We would never have guessed that this sophisticated and contemporary window seat fit for storing shoes, coats, and kid's backpacks, is actually an IKEA refrigerator cabinet. Tim Hutchenson of NWhomeworks proves that it's incredible what some creative reuse IKEA shelving can produce with this masterful hack.
The IKEA Product: Bestå Shelf Unit
The IKEA Hacks: Bestå Shelf Unit
By hanging IKEA's Bestå shelf unit on the wall and topping it with a stained wood panel, you can create a floating credenza that looks way more costly than it actually is. Look to Ashley of Sugar & Cloth to master this IKEA shelving hack.
Top the Bestå shelving unit with a fitted, light-colored wooden plank for a modern media console.
The IKEA Product: Granboda Nesting Table
The IKEA Hack: Granboda Nesting Table
A little contact paper and spray paint went a long way to transform one basic and modern IKEA side table into a nightstand with a luxe vibe. Use any marble, wood, or copper contact paper and your choice of spray paint to achieve a similar look.
The Rissna nesting table is no longer available but you can still achieve a similar effect on these minimal Granboda tables.
The IKEA Product: Kallax Shelf Unit
The IKEA Hacks: Kallax Shelf Unit
Take a simple IKEA shelving unit and turn it into the midcentury-modern storage item of your dreams. The DIY pros behind The Surznick Common Room used mounting plates and wooden taper legs to create this seriously upgraded vinyl record holder.
Use the shelf as part of a home office with stylish file boxes and folders.
The IKEA Product: Lack Coffee Table
The IKEA Hacks: Lack Coffee Table
It's amazing what a set of tapered legs can do to a piece of furniture. Kirsten of Triple Max Tons used this simple IKEA hack to create a midcentury-modern look out of a standard white IKEA coffee table. Since IKEA furniture is built to be assembled, all you have to do is remove the original legs and screw in your new set.
Pick up some brass corners to instantly add flair to a Lack table.
The IKEA Product: Ingo Table
The IKEA Hacks: Ingo Table
Top the Ingo table with a marble slab and add casters for a functional and stylish work table, which is great for small spaces.
Go midcentury aesthetic and stain your Ingo table for a well-worn look.
The IKEA Product: Fintorp System
The Fintorp series is a collection of rods, hooks, and baskets typically found in Ikea's kitchen section, though the possibilities for utilizing the system for your needs go beyond culinary practicalities.
The IKEA Hacks: Fintorp System
Create a coat rack for the entryway with Ikea's versatile Fintorp system.
The IKEA Product: Borby Lantern
The IKEA Hack: Borby Lantern
Follow Thou Swell's lead and turn Ikea's lantern into an Instagram-ready terrarium.
The IKEA Product: Ekby Alex Shelf
The IKEA Hack: Ekby Alex Shelf
Add tapered legs to reimagine the Ekby Alex Shelf as a modern vanity.