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 30 IKEA hacks to try for yourself or inspire your own original design.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sektion Base Cabinet
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top the Ingo table with a marble slab and add casters for a functional and stylish work table, which is great for small spaces. This simple hack is perfect for a minimalist home, but the addition of marble can also fit in well with traditional or glam spaces. Paint the legs for an even more custom feel.
This hack from Alice Grace Interiors actually uses five Billy Bookcases! Attach them to your walls, upgrade them with a chic paint color, then add a timber frame around them with MDF doors, paneling, brass pulls, and molding.
Create a coat rack for the entryway with Ikea's versatile Finningen bar like A Cup of Jo did. It can create an industrial vibe for your home. Just add some baskets beneath and you've got a perfect entry/mudroom set-up.
Follow Thou Swell's lead and turn Ikea's lantern into an Instagram-ready terrarium. This hack is simple and cost-effective. It's also perfect for those living in apartments without an outdoor garden to tend to.
Ekby Alex Shelf
Add tapered legs to reimagine the Ekby Alex Shelf as a modern vanity, like A New Bloom did. All you need is a chic mirror above it to create a glam vibe. This hack could also work as a desk!
Norse Interiors is giving you a super simple way to upgrade your IKEA furniture—swapping drawer fronts. You can choose custom drawer fronts in a color and pattern that suits your style as well as customize your hardware. The result: a totally custom and unique piece of furniture with a ton of personality
Besta Storage Unit
Sarah Sherman Samuel created the modern console of our dreams with two IKEA Besta units. Beaded doors and wooden balls elevate the basic console to something totally wow-worthy. For around $650, you can replicate her process.
Style Me Pretty turned a basic IKEA desk into a totally glam entry table. It's surprisingly simple, requiring some paint and gold-leafing. Top with a gold lamp to complement the legs.
DIY some gilded vases courtesy of Le Zoe Musings. All you need are some IKEA vases, gold spray paint, and double-sided tape. These vases would make lovely centerpieces for a wedding or party in addition to home décor.
The IKEA Kura bed became a child's sanctuary for designer Molly Guy. The natural wood bed frame gets a warm and welcoming upgrade thanks to custom floral patterns, beaded pillows, and velvet décor. It's a boho dream even adults will love.
Style Me Pretty turned this IKEA cart into a Pinterest-worthy bar cart. Note that the cart comes without a platform base, so a sheet of acrylic has to be drilled into each leg. Finish it off with a bold paint color and add some rolling legs.
Lara Bezzina turned her Billy Bookcases into a scalloped dream that looks like a piece of built-in furniture. A bold, bright color completed the project. Th e result? Simple but completely statement-making.
Kallax Shelving Unit
IKEA's Kallax Shelving unit becomes a minimalistic chic nightstand in this hack by The Everygirl. This one doesn't even require any DIY—just some clever styling! Use it to store your favorite books, a vase of fresh blooms, and add a small reading lamp.
Proppmatt Chopping Board
Take a cue from regular IKEA hacker Livet Hemma and turn an IKEA cutting board into a totally display-worthy kitchen piece. It couldn't easier, all you need are leather straps, rivets, and nailheads. Simply braid the leather, attach a nailhead, and affix the rivet.
Kaari Sommer of The Sommer Home created the built-in bookshelves of our dreams using some Billy Bookcases. Four bookcases plus some crown molding, hardware, and custom cabinet fronts bring her vision to life. Add some brass sconces for fun and function.
Lifestyle blogger Erin Kestenbaum made this IKEA closet system look way more expensive than it actually is. She added recessed lighting, crown molding, custom drawer fronts, baseboards, and more. Everything was finished off with a luxe coat of paint and shiny hardware.