The 5 Most Versatile Ikea Pieces to Hack

posted: 07/02/15
by: Blythe Copeland

If your idea of a space furnished with Ikea is more first-college-apartment than grown-up home, it may be time to take another look at the build-it-yourself products from the Swedish powerhouse. Many of the most popular items are a DIYer's dream: simple lines, unfinished wood or muted colors, and a nearly endless number of ways to make the piece match your personal style. Here are some of the most versatile.

1. Latt table and chairs

The kid-size Latt table and chairs ($25) are made from unfinished wood with a wipe-clean fiberboard tabletop and seats. It's a cute set that, when placed in your living room or family room, doesn't compete with more adult furnishings -- but it's also easily customized. Try contrasting paint colors; a dipped look on just the table and chair legs; covering the seat and tabletop with fabric ; adding chalkboard paint to the tabletop; or replacing the plain top with a map.

2. Malm dresser

The plain white Malm dresser comes in three-, four- and six-drawer versions ($80-$169). Its basic rectangular shape and lack of hardware or other decoration make it a simple piece to upgrade: Knobs, pulls, or handles make a big impression without a big investment of time or money, but more ambitious hackers have trimmed the drawers, attached geometric designs from O'verlays, painted the dresser, upholstered the drawer fronts, and affixed monochromatic letters and numbers for a nursery.

3. Bekvam stool

Buy the Bekvam step stool ($15) in unfinished wood and you can do just about anything to change the look. Use contrasting stain and paint; add bright colors and patterned wallpaper; or add a simple stripe. And you can use the Bekvam for more than reaching higher shelves: It's just the right height for a side table in the living room or spot to stash extra towels in the bathroom, and you can even add an extension to turn it into a toddler activity tower or rework it to become a play kitchen.

4. Bekvam spice rack

The Bekvam spice rack ($4) is a design so simple you can use it almost anywhere in your home. It works for spices, of course, but it can be repurposed in plenty of other ways: Use two to store cutting boards on the inside of a cabinet door, install one upside down to hang baby clothes or doll outfits, or use several on a wall to store kid's books facing forward so little ones have an easier time seeing their favorites. They also fit toiletries, nail polish, and makeup in the bathroom to help keep counters clear.

5. Kallax shelf

One of Ikea's most popular bookshelves, the four-cube Kallax ($60), formerly the Expedit, is a favorite of Ikea fans and DIYers. You can purchase doors or drawers that fit in the cubes, customizing it for your own storage needs, and then add your own decorating touch. Attach legs and a wooden frame for a mid-century look; top with a cushion to create a window seat; or combine two with a counter to make a kitchen island.