Ikea hacks – simple updates on bestselling pieces that anyone can do

Check out these simple Ikea hacks for upcycling budget-friendly furniture into unique, statement pieces

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.

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With a little bit of upcycling and personalisation, you can transform simple Ikea pieces into unique and expensive-looking features in your home.

1. Give a chest of drawers an industrial luxe look


Image credit: David Giles

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 six drawers, £80, Ikea

2. Turn a picture ledge into a pretty jewellery display

Ikea hacks

Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

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, £4.95 each, Ikea
Buy now: Painted in Blush, £4 for 100ml, Laura Ashley

3. Fake a high-end, marble-topped side table


Image credit: Max Attenborough

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: VITTSJÖ Nest of tables, set of 2, £45, Ikea

4. 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

Buy Now: Rose gold spray paint, £9 for 400ml, Rust-Oleum at B&Q

5. Create colour-coded dressing areas for the kids


Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

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: BEKVÄM Step stool, £13, Ikea

6. Sew small mats together to make a bigger rug


Image credit: Philip Lauterbach

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.

7. Use kitchen and bathroom storage in your home office


Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

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.

8. Build a storage headboard


Image credit: Simon Whitmore

Build a storage headboard by stacking Ikea Tromnes 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!

9. 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

10. Paint an office shelving unit gold for a style upgrade

Ikea-hack-4-office-shelvingCover 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

11. Do the shelf switch


Image credit: David Giles

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: VITTSJÖ shelving unit, £65, Ikea

12. 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

13. 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

14. Transform a plain shelving unit into an attractive kitchen island


Cover the back of a freestanding kitchen unit with sheets of mosaic tiles. Fix mosaic sheets to the unit using a waterproof wall tile adhesive.

Measure and cut a section from a wooden worktop or an old table top so it will extend out beyond the existing unit top on all sides, with enough overhang at the back to form a breakfast bar. Use a cordless drill to make holes in the table top and screw it to the top of the shelving unit.

15. Paint wooden stools in two colours to match your upcycled island unit


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.

Watch our video for this hack.

Get the look
Buy now: Bosse Bar Stools, £30, Ikea

16. 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.


Watch our video for this hack.

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Hemnes sideboard, £195, Ikea
Buy now: 
Peeling Planks wallpaper, £42.19 per roll, Fashion Wallpaper

17. 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.

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