Top 10 Ikea hacks: imaginative and cost-effective ways to transform furniture

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Ikea is the UK's go-to shop for the most affordable and practical furniture. In fact, it's safe to assume that's the case worldwide, with stores Toronto to Bangkok.

The problem is they sell exactly the same minimalist goods in every shop. For that reason we've dipped into the blogger phenomenon of Ikea hacking and selected the 10 best ways to make mass produced Ikea furniture your own.

  • Before: Hemnes white bedside table


  • After: paint-dipped nightstand

    Blogger Katie of lifestyle blog Twin Stripe was having trouble finding a perfect nightstand in her price range. She transformed her Ikea purchase with a bright shade of paint.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Layout all pieces of the nightstand

    Step 2: Use masking tape to mark off the area you do not want to paint to achieve the dipped look.

    Step 3: Prime the furniture using Zinsser Cover Stain Primer White (£12.99)

    Step 4: Once the cover stain is dry, paint two coats of your chosen colour.

    Step 5: Once dry, assemble the pieces and remove masking tape.

    Read full instructions at

  • Before: Tarva Chest of 5 drawers


  • After: White dresser

    In order to keep the dresser from taking up to much visual space, Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio painted the bulk of it white. She then added hints of gold for a touch of character.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Before assembling, paint the entire dresser white

    Step 2: Cut about two inches off of each leg

    Step 3: Painted the base pieces with a metallic gold spray paint

    Step 4: Swap the wooden handles out for brass ones (from £1.72 each)

    Step 5: Assemble the pieces according to Ikea instructions

  • Before: Lack Side table


  • After: Gilded bedside table is a wedding website, but every now and again founder Abby Larson will put her creative hands into interior design. Her transformation of an inexpensive Ikea table is beautiful.

    How to do it

    Step 1: Assemble the side table according to the Ikea instructions. Lay the table top down.

    Step 2: Use woodglue to carefully stick on 8 corbels or wooden wall brackets along the legs and the underside of the table. (Sand down any bits of glue that have shown up on the exterior)

    Step 3: Spray the table and underside with 2 light coats of white paint. Let dry 1 hour.

    Step 4: Paint glue onto the underside of the brackets and the side of the legs and gently press sheets of gold leaf onto the tacky areas until completely covered. (Use a paintbrush to brush away any excess leaf)

    Step 5: Spray a light coat of clear acrylic to seal it

    Read full instructions at

  • Before: Rast drawer chest


  • After: Ornate chest

    Naomi Stein runs a home renovation company with her father in Philadelphia but she also logs her own design work on her blog. After being inspired by an old antique Chinese cabinet, she set about transforming her Ikea purchase to look like it.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Before assembling, apply 1st coat of paint and sand it.

    Step 2: Repeat step 1, then apply a third coat of paint

    Step 3: Glue decorative brass corners to drawers (from £4 for 8) and add replace handles with pulls of choice.

    Step 4: Assemble together and insert drawers

    For full instructions visit

  • Before: Harry chair


  • After: Printed chair

    Interiors blogger Caitlin Wilson used a black Sharpie pen to very quickly add a 'Les Touches' pattern to a plain Ikea chair. The result is a chic statement piece.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Print out a large image of the Les Touches pattern

    Step 2: Use a Sharpie to draw on the print

    View more images at

  • Before: Vittsjo laptop table


  • After: Bar cart

    This trendy bar cart be a permanent fixture in your living room or kitchen, perfect for when friends come over.

    How to do it

    Step 1: Assemble the desk without glass top

    Step 2: Spray paint the metal frame

    Step 3: Cut acrylic sheet to be 39⅜”x14⅛” with the glass cutter and drill in holes for wheels

    Step 4: Drill wheels into the sheet and drill the sheet into the metal legs

    Step 5: Flip the table over, place the glass top and style with your favorite cocktail accessories

    Read full instructions at

  • Before: Billy bookcase


  • After: Stencilled bookcase

    Brittany of Britanny Makes blog was sick of the sterile nature of her apartment's white walls so she decided to make her new Ikea bookcases pop.

    How to do it

    Step 1: Use a pencil and ruler to draw guidelines on the backboards of where your stencil should go

    Step 2: Test your chosen stencil on a sheet of paper

    Step 3: Take your time painting each stencil and printing it on the backboard, washing the stencil regularly to keep it smooth. Once completed let it dry overnight.

    Step 4: The next day, erase the pencil lines and accessorise shelves.

  • Before: Karlstad sofa


  • After: Mid-century sofa

    The couple behind blog Our Mid Century have a firm appreciation for mid-century furniture designer such as Ernest Race and Charles and Ray Eames. Their take on an Ikea sofa hack is chic and contemporary.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Tuft the seat and back cushions using a DIY video or have it done professionally.

    Step 2: Switch the Ikea sofa legs for mid-century tapered legs

  • Before: Forhoja kitchen trolley


  • After: Vintage kitchen trolley

    Ikea's trolley is great for extra storage and counter space in small kitchens, but as Kristin at The Hunted Interior found out, it looks best when it's customised to your kitchen.

    How to do it

    Step 1: Glaze drawers and worktop with a wood varnish and paint the remaining wood with your chosen colour (pictured yellow)

    Step 2: Ask local liquor stores for wine crates they might be tossing out. Cut the board of the wine crates into the size of the drawer door.

    Step 3: Paint your new doors with a coat of wood varnish and stick onto the old using Liquid Nails (£5.33).

    Step 4: Fasten your choice of drawer cup handles (from £3.84) onto the drawers

  • Before: Ivar shelf and Ekby Bjarnum brackets

    £5 for shelf; £12 for 2 brackets

  • After: Distressed wooden shelves

    The hefty price tag comes with reclaimed wood isn’t affordable, so the DIY-geniuses at blog Sugar & Cloth have worked out a way to get the look with a bit of DIY.

    How to do it:

    Step 1: Using random tools and utensils, such as screws, a hammer or sand paper, begin marking and scraping the wooden shelves.

    Step 2: Use sandpaper to round out the edges and smooth out any bumps caused from distressing the wood

    Step 3: Brush wood glazing paint (£6) onto the shelves, allowing it to dry to the touch.

    Step 4: On the second coat only apply paint in certain areas. Use the hand towel to blend the edges of the second coat into the first.

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Stylist Team