If you don’t want to splurge on new furniture, but equally aren’t a fan of budget-friendly pieces that will result in you having a carbon copy of your friends’ living room, bedroom or home office, take a look at these striking Ikea hacks that are cheap and easy to do.
You take a best-selling IKEA basic and give it a new lease of life – turning it into a ‘where did you get that?” feature in your home. Best of all, these simple ideas require next to no DIY skills. What’s not to love?
Get handy with projects and advice from our DIY and Decorating advice section
With a little bit of upcycling and personalisation, you can transform these simple IKEA pieces into unique and expensive-looking features in your home.
1. Add a pop of fun fluoro
We love this funky spin on Ikea’s simple Ivar cabinet. Cut four wooden spindles to length using a handsaw to make legs. Sand, then cover with Rust-Oleum pink neon spray paint. Apply several light coats. Once dry, attach the legs to the cabinet.
Buy now: Ivar cabinet, £45, Ikea
Buy now: Rust-Oleum neon pink spray paint, £4.99 for 150ml, Homebase
2. Mix and match Billy bookcases for bespoke storage
Think outside the box with the much-loved Billy bookcases. Use a single width bookcase attached to the side of a double width version to create an ‘end’ so to speak. This then frees up a side panel on which to mount a cut-to-fit vinyl chalkboard sticker – making it even more versatile and useful.
In addition to providing all the storage a busy household needs, there’s now a memo board to jot down all the necessary family to-do lists etc.
Buy now: Billy Bookcase, from £45, IKEA
3. Customise a toy cupboard
Update a basic pine cupboard with a lick of paint. With just a few tester pots and a bit of Frog tape the plain pine unit can be transformed to a welcomed colourful addition to any room that requires toy storage. Wall-mount it to maximize floor space for play also.
Buy now: Ivar Cabinet, £45, IKEA
4. Fashion a work space with painted panel and floating shelves
Create the ideal place for youngsters to work from with this simple hack. Dedicate an area of the room by painting a panel section, cleverly mounting two floating shelves to create the illusion of a wall-mounted unit. Complete the space with a wire memo rack, compact desktop and a chair to provide everything they need. Adding clever magnetic strips helps to store everything from toy cars to pens.
Buy now: Lack Shelf, £10, IKEA
5. Create a simple and stylish media unit
The Bekvam birch step stool is a resident hero in most households (everyone on the team has one!). But never before has it been used to such an extent as this. Thanks to two Fonnes wardrobe doors through the middle a simple pair of steps are now acting as a bespoke media unit. This design could also be made using sheets of MDF, salvaged floorboards or scaffolding boards – providing they can safely support the items placed on top, anything goes.
This clever and not to mention affordable storage solution can be updated further with a splash of paint, to disguise the different elements altogether.
Buy now: Bekvam Step Stool, £13, IKEA
Buy now: Fonnes Door, £12, IKEA
6. Mount a rail to display houseplants
Here’s a fine example of when something so simple becomes something so unique. The IKEA Racka curtain pole takes on a new life as a bespoke hanging plant rail. The simple curtain pole, sold complete with fittings, comes in black, white or grey and can be easily used to create a wall display of plants.
Simply affix to a wall and suspend your macramé plant hangers at different heights to create an interesting wall display.
Buy now: Racka Curtain Rod Combination, £7.75, IKEA
7. Hang a handy kitchen roll
The stylish leather cabinet handles are transforming kitchens in more ways than one. Here we’re used the attractive Osternas leather handles to fashion a home-made kitchen memo board. Fix two of the cabinet handles to the wall and slip in a wooden dowel to make a stylish holder for the kitchen.
You could also use this quirky idea to attractively store your kitchen towels, baking paper or foil.
Buy now: Osternas Leather Handles, £10 for 2, IKEA
8. Make a bespoke lampshade with a basket
Never have natural materials been more popular as home accessories. This clever hack turns a simple storage basket into a designer-look lampshade with very little effort. We started with an IKE Snidad rattan basket, removed the handles and sprayed it black to instantly transform it. You could leave it in it’s natural state to retain a more natural element in your decor.
Drill a small hole in the base to add a bulb and hanging cord and presto – cool basket lampshade complete.
Buy now: Snidad Rattan Basket, £25, IKEA
9. Fashion a hairpin-leg console table
Transform shelving units into a sleek hairpin-legged console table for a hallway or living room. Double-stack the shelf units and attach the metal legs to create a one-of-a-kind space-efficent and stylish storage solution.
Buy now: Ekby Drawers, £44, IKEA
Buy now: Adjustable Hairpin legs, £70, Wicked Hairpins
10. Give a chest of drawers an industrial luxe look
For this hack, you’ll need a Malm chest of drawers and a bit of confidence with a screwdriver. First attach a set of hairpin legs in your choice of metallic finish – The Hairpin Leg Co has a wide selection. Then paint the strips between the drawers with paint to match – we recommend going for gold for the ultimate glam look.
Buy now: Malm Chest of Drawers, £80, IKEA
11. Fake a high-end, marble-topped side table
Glam up a table with metallic paint and marble-effect sticky-backed plastic. Carefully remove the table’s glass top, and spray the frame with Plastic-Kote metallic paint, making sure you pick a well-ventilated spot that’s protected with newspaper.
Measure the width and length of the glass top, adding 5mm to each side. Cut your plastic to these dimensions (including the mm allowance). Peel and stick the plastic to the top, allowing the 5mm to overhang. Smooth off with a cloth as you go. Finally, trim away the excess with a craft knife and replace the top.
Buy now: Vittsjo Nest of Tables, set of 2, £45, IKEA
12. Give a desk a glam makeover by spraying it rose gold
Give your home office a stylish feminine makeover by spray-painting your desk with rose gold paint. Remove the glass top from your desk, and take the frame to a well-ventilated area. Clean the frame with a damp cloth, then leave to dry.
Spray with primer, leave for four hours, then spray with metallic spray paint. Leave to dry for 24 hours, then place the glass back on top an admire your brand-new desk.
Get the look
Buy Now: Vittsjo Desk, £30, IKEA
13. Sew small mats together to make a bigger rug
Need a large rug but don’t have a large budget? Follow the lead for this clever homeowner, who, desperately wanting a floor covering to cosy up her bedroom, had this genius idea! To save money, she took nine £1.90 Ikea mats and sewed them all together to make a larger rug.
14. Use kitchen and bathroom storage in your home office
Repurpose basic Ikea kitchen storage into a wall-hung system for your workspace. Give a scoreboard and a spice rack a complete overhaul with a simple lick of paint that tones in with your colour scheme.
The spice rack transforms into a shelf, while Stugvik bathroom holders become storage for bits and pieces that can clutter up a drawer. Simply tap a nail into the wall to hang them up.
15. Build a storage headboard
Build a storage headboard by stacking Ikea Trones shoe cabinets and fixing to the wall for safety. You can then use them to store bedding pyjamas and out-of-season clothes where they are easy to grab. Changing the sheets just got a whole lot easier!
Buy now: Trones Shoe Cabinet, £22, IKEA
16. Use furniture wax to transform a simple desk organiser
Give an untreated wooden desk organiser a luxe makeover by staining it with finishing wax. Give the drawers a wipe over with a damp cloth and leave to dry. Using a paint or wax brush, apply finishing wax all over the item, then immediately wipe away any excess using a clean rag. How much wax you remove is up to you – we applied plenty to give a lovely deep colour. Leave to dry, and then buff to a soft sheen.
Get the look
Buy Now: Moppe mini Chest of Drawers, £18, IKEA
Buy Now: Furniture wax, £9.20 for 400ml, Rust-Oleum at B&Q
17. Paint an office shelving unit gold for a style upgrade
Cover the shelves of the unit with newspaper and tape down with masking tape. Wipe down the frame with a damp cloth and leave to dry. Spray with a metal primer spray, then spray with a metallic spray paint. Leave to dry before applying a metal sealer.
Get the look
Buy Now: Fjalkinge Shelving Unit, £115, IKEA
Buy Now: Gold spray paint, £6.29 for 400ml, Plasti-Kote at The Range
18. Do the shelf switch
You really can’t beat Ikea for affordable storage, as these homeowners know well. However, finding the glass shelves of this shelving unit a little impractical – especially when it came to gathering dust – they decided to switch them out. These cut-to-fit plywood shelves are a sturdier alternative.
Buy now: Vittsjo Shelving Unit, £65, IKEA
19. Create colour-coded dressing areas for the kids
Give the kids their own tidy areas by painting wooden stools in bright colours. Ikea regulars will instantly recognise these as the Bekvam step! Once dry, space each along the wall – mark vertical lines just the width of each seat from just below the top step. Use the same colour to create a panel up the wall for a fun finish.
Buy now: Bekvam Step stool, £13, IKEA
20. Turn a boring pine chest of drawers into beautiful storage
Simply cover the chest of drawers in a wallpaper of your choice. Begin by painting the sides and top of the chest of drawers with a furniture paint that has a chalky finish.
Next, remove the drawer handles and cut your chosen wallpaper to fit flush to the edges of each drawer front. Use a ready-mixed wallpaper paste to stick the wallpaper onto the drawers. Finish it off by adding smart ceramic knobs.
Get the look
Buy Now: Tarva Chest of Drawers, £135, IKEA
21. Update a headboard to match your new chest of drawers
Choose a fabric in a co-ordinating shade to the wallpaper you used to transform your chest of drawers. Measure the height and width of your headboard, double the amounts and add 2cm more on each side to allow for a hem.
Cut your chosen fabric to size and machine-sew a 2cm hem. Fold it in half widthways, then sew fabric or ribbon ties a third of the way from the top, and then the same again from the bottom. Slip the cover over the headboard and tie at the sides.
Get the look
Buy now: Bekkestua headboard, £140, IKEA
Read more: Bedroom decorating ideas
22. Paint wooden stools in two colours for a modern look
Give wooden stools a dipped effect by painting them in two shades. Sand the stool all over, then clean it thoroughly to remove all traces of dust. Apply masking tape around the legs where they meet the struts. Paint the top part of the stool white and leave to dry. Turn the stool upside down and remove the tape. Apply fresh tape to protect the new paint, then paint the bottom part of the stool in a mid-grey shade and leave to dry.
Get the look
Buy now: Bosse Bar Stools, £30, IKEA
23. Turn a picture ledge into a pretty jewellery display
Repurpose picture ledges as a jewellery organiser and put all your favourite treasures on show. Make tangled necklaces and missing earrings a thing of the past with the ultimate jewellery organiser. Turning the shelves upside down will double storage space: screw hooks and eyes into the front and back edges for hanging necklaces and earrings, leaving the flat top surfaces free for make-up and accessories.
Buy now: Mosslanda Shelves, £5 each, IKEA
24. Turn a basic sideboard into a coastal-style piece with wallpaper
Use a plank-effect wallpaper to give a sideboard a weathered look. Remove the sideboard’s handles, then sand it down all over. Wipe away the layer of dust, then use a ready-mixed wallpaper paste to stick washable wallpaper onto the sideboard’s front, sides and legs. Apply a decorator’s varnish to protect the wallpaper, then leave to dry. Stick laminate flooring to the top of the sideboard with a high-strength contact adhesive. Paint the sideboard’s original wooden knobs to match your chosen wallpaper and screw them back onto the sideboard.
Get the look
Buy now: Hemnes sideboard, £195, IKEA
Buy now: Peeling Planks wallpaper, £42.19 per roll, Fashion Wallpaper
25. Give a coffee table a distressed look to match your reinvented sideboard
Cover this simple coffee table with textured laminate planks. Choose a pale laminate – you’ll need at least six planks. Measure the table top and shelf, and cut the planks to size. Lay the planks on the table top and on the shelf below to work out how to arrange them to fit. Stick the planks down using a high-strength contact adhesive.
Get the look
Buy now: Hemnes coffee table, £69, IKEA
Feeling inspired? Check out these DIY makeovers that anyone can do
Had a go at any of our IKEA hacks? Let us know how you got on in the comments box below.