New IKEA Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Updated 11/10/16
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Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

When we need furniture, and we need it fast, there's no better place to go than IKEA. Its flat-pack system guarantees you can grab and go with whatever you need, from dinner napkins to entire sofas—no lead times or delivery schedules required. But our love for convenience has sometimes trapped us in the originality department—a feeling we know all too well when walking into a friend's apartment and seeing the exact same furniture as in ours.

There's a better way—with the help of a hex key, a glue gun, and a needle, we can now transform our beloved IKEA favorites into unrecognizable pieces that look deceptively chic and expensive. Such was the philosophy of Elyse Major and Charlotte Rivers when they released their book I Modify IKEAThe two women, who shared a passion for IKEA hacks, combined their efforts into a book featuring over 50 IKEA DIY projects that anyone crafty can achieve at home. Give some of our favorite hacks from the book a try—and turn your IKEA basics into statement pieces.

If You're Feeling Cold

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Want to give your bedroom a worldly vibe without scouring the souks of Morocco? Turn a simple throw into a chic pom-pom throw to layer at the end of your bed—and rival the most luxe bohemian bedrooms out there.

What You'll Need:

  • IKEA Gurli Throw
  • 28 pom-poms
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread

Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

Step 1: Lay your throw out on a flat surface, and position your pom-poms around the edges. To evenly spread your pom-poms around the throw, leave a 9-inch gap between each pom-pom. Alternate the colors as you go, or keep it monochrome for a more minimal look.

Step 2: Pin each pom-pom in place around the edge of the throw.

Step 3: Now you are ready to sew each pom-pom to the throw. Place a pom-pom flush to the edge with the loop sitting to the back of the throw. Insert at least six stitches into the base of each pom-pom to securely attach them to the throw.

Step 4: Once the base is secure on the edge of the throw, you can sew the loop neatly to the back of the throw. Repeat for all 28 pom-poms.

Designed by Charlotte Rivers 

IKEA Gurli Throw $10
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If You're Entertaining Soon

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Just in time for the holidays, transform a regular secretary desk into a swanky bar cabinet to impress all your guests. Just add barware, bottles, and glassware to complete the look.

What You'll Need: 

  • IKEA PS 2014 Secretary
  • Découpage glue or sealer
  • 1 yard of fabric
  • Paintbrush
  • Scraper
  • X-Acto knife

Time: 6 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

Step 1: First, assemble the unit following the instructions. Apply découpage glue to the bottom of the desktop (the most visible portion of natural wood when the desk is closed). 

Step 2: Place your fabric on the wet découpage glue. Adjust and straighten it as necessary. 

Step 3: Apply pressure with your hands to secure the fabric to the découpage glue. Use a flat edge, such as a scraper, to smooth out any wrinkles and to ensure a good bond between the fabric and glue. Leave to dry.

Step 4: Trim away excess fabric using a sharp pair of scissors.

Step 5: Apply a generous coat of glue over the fabric to act as a sealer and allow it to dry.

Step 6: Trim the fabric with an X-Acto knife to get a clean edge.

Step 7: Repeat steps 1–6 to cover the side and back of the interior of the cabinet with fabric.

Designed by Jessica Mayhall

IKEA PS 2014 $199
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If You Love Game Night

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Make large floor cushions to add extra seating to your living room for guests during your holiday parties. Since the Signe rugs are long-lasting, you can repurpose them outdoors when summer rolls around again.

What You'll Need: 

  • 3 IKEA Signe rugs
  • Quilt ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Filler

Time: 4 hours

Difficulty: Advanced

Step 1: As the rugs aren't exactly straight, take your quilt ruler and draw a straight line at the edges of each of the rugs. To ensure the line is straight, line up the top of your quilt ruler with the top end of the rug. Then cut these edges off—this will include the tassels and the sewn secured edge—to give you three neat, rectangular pieces of fabric.

Step 2: Now you are ready to measure out the different sections of fabric that you will need. Take your first rug and measure three 10 1/4-inch-wide sections and cut—these will form three of your sides. Take the second rug and measure one 21 1/4-inch square and one 10 1/4-inch section and cut—this is your fourth side and your top. Take your third rug and cut it in half—this will be your base. You should have seven pieces of fabric in total.

Step 3: Lay all the pieces of fabric out, right side down on a flat surface.

Step 4: Using your sewing machine, begin by sewing section 1 to section 2. Then, sew section 3 to section 1. Then sew section 4 to section 1. Ensure you match up the edges of each section and sew a 3/8-inch seam allowance. 

Step 5: Next, you will need to sew all the sides together. Start with sides 1 and 2, and then move on to 3 and 4, then 5 and 6, then 7 and 8. As you go, ensure that you are sewing all of your seams in the right direction (i.e., they should all face inside the cushion).

Step 6: Making sure that the sewn section is inside out, pin your two base sections (6 and 7) to the sewn section. You are creating an envelope back, meaning that the two sections of fabric that make up the base will overlap, and this is how the filler in the floor cushions will remain inside. Pin one side to the sewn section and sew onto the base. Repeat for all four sides of the base section.

Step 7: Turn your cushion the right way out, and stuff with filler.

Designed by Charlotte Rivers

IKEA Signe Rugs $4
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If You Need Multipurpose Pieces

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Transform an unused shelving unit into a practical reading or entrance bench. Store books, toys, or even boots and outerwear, depending on where you place the bench. A reading bench tucks in a window nook perfectly.

What You'll Need: 

  • IKEA Kallax Shelving Unit
  • Medium-density fiberboard: 15 1/2 x 57 1/2 inches
  • 1-inch high-density upholstery foam: 15 1/2 x 57 1/2 inches
  • Fabric: 29 1/2 x 71 inches
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 6 2-inch screws
  • Power drill

Time: 3 hours

Difficulty: Advanced

Step 1: Begin by assembling the Kallax shelving unit following the instructions. Turn the assembled unit on its side.

Step 2: Lay your MDF board out on a flat surface. Place the foam on top of the board and the fabric on top of the foam. Position the fabric so it is centered over the foam.

Step 3: Carefully turn the MDF board/foam/fabric sandwich over. Now, begin to pull the fabric around the back of the MDF and secure it using a staple gun. Go slowly, checking you are pulling the fabric taut to avoid wrinkles. 

Step 4: At the corners, fold the fabric as neatly, as if wrapping a present, then staple in place.

Step 5: Once all the fabric is secured, lay the seat pad face down on the floor (ensuring that the floor is clean), and place the Kallax shelving unit on top. Be sure to line up the shelves with the seat pad.

Step 6: You will see that there are a number of existing holes down one side of the shelving unit. You can use these holes to secure one side of your seat pad to the shelves using a drill and three 2-inch screws.

Step 7: When it comes to securing the other side, you will need to drill yourself three holes down this side and then screw in the remaining three 2-inch screws. Your reading bench is now ready to use.

Designed by Charlotte Rivers

IKEA Kallax Shelf Unit $60
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If You're Searching for Pretty Storage

Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Give your storage baskets a lift by dip-dying them in assorted colors. This is a great project for kids' rooms, log baskets by the fireplace, or anywhere else you need to store linens, toys or outerwear.

What You'll Need:

  • IKEA Fladis basket
  • Tape measure
  • Paint colors
  • Paintbrush

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Basic

Steps 1: Once you have decided on your paint colors, choose the depth of paint that you would like on each basket, using a tape measure against the sides.

Step 2: You can now begin to paint each basket. It is not necessary to mark the paint level with tape as you can simply follow the groove of the basket weave at the level you wish to paint, but feel free to do so if it's more comfortable.

Step 3: Once all the baskets are painted, leave them to dry for approximately 20 minutes and then apply a second coat of paint to each basket.

Designed by Charlotte Rivers

IKEA Fladis Basket $13
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Want to try more IKEA hacks? Pick up a copy of I Modify IKEA

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