20 Amazing IKEA Hacks You Should Try

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sturti/iStock via Getty Images / sturti/iStock via Getty Images

IKEA furniture is affordable and attractive as-is, but to really make your living space unique, customizing the basic pieces is the way to go. Read on for some of our favorite IKEA hacks from across the internet—and if you need more inspiration, check out these additional ideas.

1. Turn a bookshelf into a padded bench.

Use the IKEA KALLAX series for more than just book storage. Check out Ikea Hackers to learn how to turn a bookshelf into an upscale kitchen bench for your breakfast nook.

2. Transform cotton rugs into pillow covers.

Instagram user Low Tide Living was unhappy with how expensive decorative pillow covers were getting, so she decided to do something about it. At IKEA, she found some affordable cotton rugs (like the SÖLLINGE or TÅNUM varieties) that she transformed into one-of-a-kind pillow covers. (Fun fact: Game of Thrones costume designers used IKEA rugs to make those fancy capes you saw so many of the characters wearing. IKEA even created instructions for how to do it on your own.)

3. Basic bookcases create custom built-ins.

This Instagram Reel shows you how to turn IKEA’s iconic BILLY bookcases into custom shelving using an easy, step-by-step process. Instagram user DIYIneriorMakeover took these low-cost items and revamped them into a classy display for books and art.

4. Turn a bed into a castle for Sleeping Beauty.

Looking to customize or redecorate your little princess’s bedroom on a budget? Check out this YouTube video by Eric Strong, in which he starts with IKEA’s KURA platform bed and transforms it into a castle fit for a queen.

5. Make a mini-greenhouse out of a glass cabinet.

If you love your plants but aren’t sure where to keep them in the colder months, why not create your own indoor greenhouse? Reddit user MzWeffie shows how to turn IKEA’s glass-paneled FABRIKÖR cabinet into a miniature greenhouse to keep succulents and cacti happy all year long.

6. Construct a DIY headboard.

Upgrading the look of your bedroom is as easy as creating a headboard out of an IVAR side unit. Check out Copenhagen-based DIYer Julie Katrine Andersen’s tutorial for her mid-century-inspired project on Domino.

7. Fashion a kid’s raincoat from an IKEA bag.

Show your loyalty to your favorite store and keep your kids dry with this adorable project. IKEA Hackers’s Jules Yap shows how to upcycle the famous blue bag (a.k.a. the FRAKTA) into a custom-made raincoat.

8. Build a built-in desk.

Chic work-from-home spots are all the rage now, so why not save some dough on your new office? Pick up the ALEX under-desk drawers the next time you are at IKEA and follow along with designer Hydrangea Treehouse’s tutorial on YouTube.

9. Customize cabinets on the cheap.

Taking your BILLY cabinets from dull to dazzling is easier than you might imagine, thanks to this quick video from Pinterest user With Daniela. Just add OXBERG doors, attractive drawer pulls, a contrasting wood top, and some decorative objects to create a unique piece of furniture.

10. Create banquette seating from basic cabinets.

To avoid a situation where you run out of seating, look into making a custom banquette with IKEA’s HAVSTA line of cabinets. This tutorial from Hydrangea Treehouse breaks down each step, so you can create a beautiful and cozy nook.

13. Design a unique dresser from, you guessed it, a BILLY bookcase.

There is no end to the creative ways you can use a BILLY bookcase. Kaleidoscope Living shows readers how to take this basic piece of furniture and transform it into a high-end dresser.

12. Upgrade a plain mirror.

Bump up your home’s personality by putting a boho spin on a basic LÖNSÅS mirror. This DIY project is a cheap and chic way to decorate your space. To pull off this IKEA hack, all you need is the tutorial from TrytoDIY and the urge to experiment.

13. Make a statement with a reimagined mirror.

The Sorry Girls designed a stunning statement mirror that will drop jaws with few packs of IKEA’s LOTS mirrors and some plywood. This hack is simple and cost-effective—the perfect DIY project.

14. Cook Up a Chic, Modern Play Kitchen.

Upgrade your kids' predominantly beige DUKTIG play kitchen with a coat of eye-catching paint, a backsplash made from adhesive wallpaper, and other fun touches that will keep budding chefs entertained. This description from Lucky Andi shows you how to do it.

15. Create a Personalized Catio.

Your cats deserve the best. Having a safe, engaging environment—like a catio (cat patio)—is important for their mental as well as physical health. With two HEJNE shelving units from IKEA, some chicken wire, and a few creature comforts, you can create a fun space just for your favorite furry friends. Watch the tutorial from YouTuber Cuteness.

16. Store shoes smarter.

Don’t take up valuable closet space with a messy pile of shoes. This IKEA hack from Lavender Julep shows you how to update the HEMNES shoe cabinet into a sleek piece that can fit in tight spaces—and make any entryway look stunning

17. Revamp a dresser into a showcase piece.

TARVA wooden dressers are sold unfinished, meaning they’re blank slates for any upgrades you care to apply. With this tutorial from Bay on a Budget, you just need some colorful paint and new drawer pulls to design a gorgeous new piece for your home.

18. Add faux cane doors to cabinets for a timeless look.

Ready to upgrade your IKEA KALLAX shelves with a nod to classic design? Posh Pennies takes the boxy, minimalist bookcase and reimagines it with faux wicker doors. Watch the IKEA staple go from drab to fab on YouTube.

19. Create a rustic storage unit to hide clutter.

Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, farmhouse-inspired décor has infiltrated our homes—and isn’t going anywhere. If you want to mimic their barnwood-and-brass aesthetic on the cheap, pick up a slim KALLAX shelving unit and add dark-stained cabinet doors. Home Made Lovely shows you how.

20. Add a finishing touch with a fabric-backed bookshelf.

Open shelving is inexpensive and seems to take up less space than heavier and bulkier pieces of furniture. Adding a DIY fabric back to the shelves will pull the whole unit together. Honey We’re Home updates a KALLAX bookshelf with a regular bedsheet to demonstrate how this versatile furniture can stand out or blend in.