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16 IKEA Alex Desk Hacks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized

large alex desk

Jessica Welling Interiors

We're constantly inspired by what people have done with commonplace IKEA products. We've seen simple bookshelves be transformed into designer-worthy built-ins and utilitarian cabinets turned into luxe-looking storage systems—and that's just the beginning!

Given how key it is to have a functional at-home workspace, especially these days, we're taking a look at creative IKEA Alex desk hacks. There are so many different ways to use this affordable IKEA piece to your advantage when setting up a home office.

Take a look at 16 of our favorite ideas below.

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Supersize Your Desk By Adding a Kitchen Counter on Top

ikea desk with countertop

Kaleidsocope Living

Get creative by combining multiple IKEA pieces to create a workspace that is totally custom. You might never guess, but the top of this desk is actually an IKEA kitchen counter. The end result is a desk that's ultra sizable and perfect for two family members to share.

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Or Try a Natural Looking Piece of Plywood

plywood desktop

Jessica Welling Interiors

Plywood will also come in handy if you're looking to build an oversized desk like this one shown above. You can paint the wood if you wish, but leaving it natural is also fair game; it all depends on your desired aesthetic. Here, natural wood looks excellent in this boho style space.

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Place Two Types of Alex Pieces Side by Side

alex desk with drawers and shelf unit

Hydrangea Treehouse

The various Alex pieces make it easy to design a workspace that 100 percent meets your storage needs. For example, if you're looking to tuck away lots of file folders and some bulkier items, the Alex drawer unit is a great pick.

If you just need to house some notebooks and writing utensils, you can likely get away with just the Alex shelf. Or you can even craft two connected work stations using a combination of both of these pieces, as seen above.

04 of 16

Jazz Up Your Desk Drawers With Some Cane Webbing

ikea cane desk

The Hardins

Who doesn't love cane furniture? This style has been popular for decades and isn't going away anytime soon. While cane furniture can oftentimes cost a pretty penny, you can save big by DIYing your own with some cane webbing. Here, it was applied to a standard Alex drawer unit, believe it or not!

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Try This Simple Yet Impactful Wallpaper Hack

ikea drawers with contact paper

Grillo Designs

If you're not loving the look of the plain Alex drawers but don't want to take on too much of a DIY, try covering them with contact paper. Simply choose a pattern that speaks to you and get to work designing a personalized work station. Best of all, you can complete a project like this one in less than an hour.

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Get Dotty With a Bit of Paint

polka dot alex desk

Prepford Wife

While contact paper can liven up your desk in an instant, paint can do the same. Coat your Alex unit in a solid hue or pick a color (or two) and add polka dots to your drawers and desktop. Working from home just got way more fun.

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Or Find Dotted Wallpaper for a Similar Look

wallpapered desk drawers

Semigloss Design

Finally, wallpaper is another fabulous way to add some punch to Alex drawers. Use a peel and stick option to make the DIY process a bit easier. This finished unit is full of pep.

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Try This Rustic Hack

rustic drawers

If Only April

If you enjoy rustic style furniture, you may wish to hack your Alex pieces to make them appear more weathered. You can do so by building your own drawer fronts and staining them in the finish of your choice. Then add some pulls that match; brass is always a classic pick.

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Grab Some Butcher Block

ikea desk with butcher block top

The Homeblondy

This desk was also made using a butcher block countertop from IKEA. It's sleek enough to live behind a sofa in the living room but is lengthy enough to stash away plenty of documents and provide space for two to work side by side. Talk about a win-win!

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Add a Moody Touch to Your Alex Pieces

navy desk with plywood top

Boxy Colonial

Plywood also looks excellent when placed atop IKEA Alex drawer units. The units are available in black/brown, gray/turquoise, and white, but you can always opt to spray paint yours to meet your needs. Here, a navy blue looks super elegant.

If you have extra paint on hand from coating walls in your home, you can make use of that to paint your Alex drawers.

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Create a DIY Standing Desk

standing alex desk

Melissa Dinwiddie

This standing desk makes it possible to stretch your legs a bit as you tackle work projects. It features the Alex shelf as well as a swing out pencil drawer. The absence of drawers below makes it easy to walk about a bit without feeling too cramped.

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Or Get Your Sweat on With a Treadmill Desk

ikea alex treadmill desk

Melissa Dinwiddie

Of course, if you really like to move about as you work, there are ways to take your work station to the next level. This Alex desk is actually a standing treadmill desk, making it easy to get those steps in as you plug away on emails. There are still plenty of drawers present off to the side.

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Add Trim to Your Drawer Fronts

alex desk with trim

Painting by the Penny

Zhush up your Alex drawer fronts by adding trim to them and then painting everything in the color of your choosing. A dreamy blue like this one looks so luxe and welcoming. We'd truly never guess this setup originated from IKEA pieces!

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Design a Mini Vanity

ikea dressing table

Renovation Bay-Bee

Who says the Alex desk parts have to be used to create an actual desk? They can result in a fantastic dressing table, too. And the best part of a setup like this one is that it doesn't take up much space.

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Build a CEO Worthy L-Shaped Desk

alex l-shaped desk

Leah Remillet

If you have a larger office space, an L-shaped desk offers plenty of room to spread out. Why not make your own with various IKEA pieces? Here, an Alex drawer unit

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Organize Supplies to Maximize Drawer Function

diy drawer organizers

Jennifer Maker

Part of the fun of the Alex drawer unit is how wonderful it is at making any space appear more organized. Here, it provides tons of space for craft supplies of all kinds. Consider adding drawer dividers to maximize efficiency.