IKEA furniture hacks come in particularly handy when you have your eye on that high-end designer piece – but you don’t quite have the budget to match.
Interior design-lovers can still achieve an upscale, bespoke look with a little creativity and elbow grease (and, if that’s not for you, companies like Superfront and Semihandmade will be right up your styling street).
Thanks to the soaring popularity of IKEA hacks amongst influencers and interior designers alike, it’s now easier to get top-notch tips for a professional finish.
Whether it’s a cool credenza, style-saturated sideboard, or design-driven dresser, there’s a multitude of clever ways to get a luxe look for less.
IKEA furniture hacks for design-led looks
With inspiration from the likes of top designers such as Sarah Sherman Samuel and Tiffany Leigh, we’ve curated our favourite IKEA furniture hacks below to inspire your next project.
1. Transform a basic IKEA Koppang dresser into a standout nightstand
‘Everyone loves our olive green nightstands and almost no one can believe that they are IKEA hacks – they look convincingly high-end!’ says Tiffany of @TiffanyLeighDesign. IKEA dresser hacks are a category in their own right, and this overhaul proves why.
‘I purchased and hacked these IKEA dressers over five years ago when I was still in design school and was on a tight budget. They’ve held up well, moved apartments with me twice, and got a new paint job in our latest home. This is proof that high style can be achieved at any budget with a little elbow grease.’
Tiffany used a decorative trim and a mitre box to cut the corners, wood glue, Zinsser shellac based primer, furniture paint (Vegetarian by Beauti-Tone Paints), and added new knobs for an upscale finish.
2. Create a contemporary credenza with the IKEA Sektion
Another impressive designer IKEA hack for the ultimate inspiration is this ultra-chic credenza by Sarah Sherman Samuel.
Sarah used IKEA Sektion wall cabinet frames and IKEA Maximera drawers as the base for this look. She then transformed the cabinets with Night Sky Beaded Door for Sektion and Night Sky SSS Beaded Drawer for Sektion (a gorgeous collaboration between Sarah Sherman Samuel and Semihandmade) and beautiful knobs and handles from Sarah’s line with Park Studio.
The white top, frame and legs are also from Semihandmade. So all you have to do is fit them – the perfect job for the DIY beginner.
3. Fashion the IKEA Brimnes into a fluted wooden cabinet
Modern storage solutions can often sit on the expensive side, so an IKEA storage hack can allow you to give your interiors a refined refresh without breaking the bank.
Jo, of @jo_at_sixty8, transformed an old IKEA Brimnes cabinet into this fashionable fluted masterpiece for the perfect small living room furniture piece.
She says: ‘We removed the doors and handles, and cut lots of D-shape molding strips to size (using a miter shear, I believe). Then glued them to the door and reattached them to the cabinet, before adding the new handles at the top.
‘We did also replace the top of the cabinet with some painted MDF so the front sits flush with the doors as the molding added depth, but this wasn’t necessarily needed – just a picky visual thing.’
And it’s those little details that elevate a piece to a designer-worthy statement.
4. Relax on an elegant Scandi-style chaise longue
Looking for a little laidback luxe in your home? This gorgeous chaise longue IKEA furniture hack would make a sophisticated addition to any home.
The earthy hue and texture of the linen has transformed an IKEA Söderhamn into a thing of relaxed beauty, making it one of the most stylish of living room ideas.
Niki, of @myscandinavianhome, who is also the author of Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life, says: ‘IKEA hacks are one of my favourite past times – In fact, knowing that I can adapt the furniture and accessories in numerous ways changes the way I walk through the store and eye up each piece!
‘We’ve had an IKEA chaise longue for years – but since discovering Bemz design covers, the piece is almost unrecognisable as a high-street brand. To achieve the look, I picked a Söderhamn chaise longue from IKEA (without a cover) – you can also buy one secondhand – and then selected the Loose Fit cover in Pebble Brera Lino linen from Bemz, which gives the chaise longue a soft, more relaxed look and feel.
‘It’s one of my favourite corners of the house! Since I have children, I can easily take it off and wash it, too.’
5. Add a smart desk area to a children’s room
If you’re on the lookout for pretty yet stylish girl’s bedroom ideas, this revamped desk area is sure to be just the ticket.
‘Keen to utilize the wasted space of an alcove next to the fireplace in my daughter’s room, I created a desk area using a plain white IKEA worktop cut down to size and two of the IKEA Eket range cabinets each side to support it,’ explains Leoma @styletheclutter.
‘The reason I chose the Eket cabinets is that they are only 35cm deep, which worked perfectly for this set up. I also painted up some IKEA spice racks to create little shelves above the desk space.
‘On changing the wallpaper last year, I decided to give this space a little revamp, so painted it all up in Farrow & Ball Hague Blue, a similar tone to the new Riffle wallpaper.
‘Everything was firstly primed in Zinsser Bullseye 123 to ensure the paint sticks. I also added some gorgeous brass handles from Dowsing and Reynolds to the drawers.
‘Not only does this space add storage and a great desk area for homework, now that it’s all in one tone it also looks effortlessly seamless and fitted to the space.’
6. Get a ‘built-in’ wardrobe with the IKEA Pax units
Fitted wardrobes are likely to be the most expensive part of a bedroom renovation. One way to bypass the hefty price tag? Working out how to customize an IKEA Pax.
‘After five years we were finally looking to upgrade our bedroom from student-chic to a really considered and beautiful space,’ says Sophia @1894home.
‘We already had our existing IKEA Pax wardrobes that we actually brought with us from our last house. Although they filled most of the alcove we thought that making them look more built-in would take it to the next level.
‘Using the existing carcasses we put them on a base to raise them up then added batten to the sides and top of the wardrobes. This then allowed us to face that off with MDF we had cut to size at our local timber yard.
‘We added a wooden cornice to the top and skirting to the bottom before priming, painting and changing the handles.
‘We’re super-pleased with the outcome. We used our existing IKEA doors but you can easily make your own and create different styles.’
7. Show off a practical yet pretty display cabinet
We love nothing more than when form meets function in furniture, and this ultra-handy display cabinet does just that.
‘This is an IKEA Havsta hack,’ says Jen @crack_the_shutters. ‘I wanted a glass display cabinet that also covered more unsightly things like board games on the bottom half.
‘So I added reeded pine moldings to the bottom section of the glass and cut MDF into arches for the top glass panels and used No Nails glue to secure to the glass.
‘I then painted it in Farrow & Ball Pigeon and added brass handles from Plank hardware – and it looks like a new unique piece of furniture.’
8. Turn an IKEA Rast into a design-forward dresser
IKEA bed hacks are often accompanied by ideas for bedroom furniture, too.
Marisa, of @oakappledecor, says of this hotel-smart hack: ‘We first painted the IKEA Rast drawers as they come in a raw pine.
‘Then we used wallpaper from Feathr to cover the drawer fronts. We wallpapered the three drawer fronts together and then cut them apart to ensure the pattern flowed.
‘We the added brass T-bar handles from Dowsing and Reynolds. We finished with wood balls for legs, which created a unique finish.’
9. Take an IKEA Malm cabinet from basic to bespoke
‘This was my husband’s beloved IKEA Malm filing cabinet that he refused to part with… So I secretly gave it a little refresh,’ says Eve @newhome_oldhhouse_.
‘The paint we used was the same as we’d used on the panelling in the bedroom shown, which is Crown Period Collection in Velvet Evening. This paint is glorious and literally only took two coats – with NO sanding down and NO primer whatsoever – (I’m pretty impatient for all that). I did give the cabinet a little wipe down first though.
‘Then I bought the beading/molding in long strips from B&Q, just natural untreated wood (and kept it as such). I measured up the drawers and cut the beading strips down to size with my husband’s electric cutter.
‘Then I smoothed a layer of ‘No Nails’ across the front of the drawers and stuck on the cut beading.
‘I continued with giving the edges of the drawers (the tops and tails of the beading) a quick sand with an electric hand sander to give a smoother, uniformed finish post-cut.
‘Then I simply finished up by adding brass handles from Amazon.
10. Get a California cool aesthetic with an earthy storage cabinet
Earthy, organic and textural, the Wood Collection from Superfront is an easy way to carry out your IKEA furniture hacks – and guarantee a finish any interior designer would be proud of.
If you’re not a DIY whizz, companies like Superfront are the ideal pitstop for an IKEA glow-up. This IKEA Metod is given a whole new high-end lease of life with the brand’s vertical fluted doors and handles (in Umber Wood), and Slender Low leg frame in black.
As we all spend more time indoors, we’re seeking to connect with nature, which has seen a rise in the popularity of natural surfaces in everything from furniture to decorative objects (think wood, terracotta and marble).
This cabinet is a chic way to achieve the new organic look without splashing too much cash. Not only is it a stylish storage space, it’s also the ideal spot to display your perfectly imperfect vignettes and objet.