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 16 IKEA hacks to try for yourself or inspire your own original design.
A Brass-Knobbed Dresser
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.
A Professional 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.
A Built-In 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.
A Rolling Desk
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.
A Round Belted 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.
A Faux-Marble Desk
A Striped Textile Pot
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.
A Reclaimed Wood Stikwood Headboard
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.
A Modern Nursery Dresser
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 Fresh Set of Kitchen 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.
A Custom Nightstand
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.
A Floating Credenza
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.
A Wood Nightstand
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.
A Refrigerator Cabinet Window Seat
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.
A Midcentury-Modern Shelving 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.
A Midcentury Modern 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.
Head to IKEA to begin your own DIY project and transform home décor staples into unique and tasteful design elements using these genius IKEA hacks.
This post was originally published on April 28, 2016, and has since been updated.