12 Brilliant IKEA Hacks for Your Kitchen

Do you have Pottery Barn taste but a flea market budget? Kitchen renovations can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you can hack your way to Pinterest-worthy design in a weekend with a few IKEA basics and a little elbow grease. Here are 12 projects to get you started.

1. BILLY BOOKCASE ISLAND


Courtesy Golden Boys & Me

On her blog Golden Boys & Me, DIY genius Courtney Affrunti shares how she turned three IKEA Billy bookcases into a gorgeous kitchen island. She fastened the bookcases together using screws and topped them with a butcher block countertop. Add decorative siding (Affrunti used bead board), molding, or doors to give your new kitchen focal point some personal flavor.

Buy from IKEA: Billy bookcase ($50), Ekbacken countertop ($99)

2. KALLAX SHELF ISLAND

 

For their IKEA-hacked kitchen island, Minneapolis-based home reno duo JP Strate and Liz Spillman (The Rehab Life) used the Kallax shelf as their base. They then sanded and stained plywood to create a custom base, backboard, and countertop.

Buy from IKEA: Kallax Shelf ($65)

3. FAUX MARBLE COUNTERTOP

 

Prefer the look of marble to wood, but can’t afford Carrara? Stick some marble-patterned contact paper on your inexpensive IKEA shelf for an instant upgrade.

Buy from IKEA: Hyllis Shelf ($15)

4. UPGRADE YOUR JOKKMOKK TABLE


Courtesy Regina Morrison for Acute Designs

A sleek dining table with hairpin legs could cost you nearly $1000 from a trendy furniture store. On her blog Acute Designs, Regina Morrison shows how she made one for herself for under $300 by adding some hairpin legs she bought on Ebay (you can also find them on Etsy) to a $150 IKEA table.

Buy from IKEA: Jokkmokk Dining Set ($150)

5. RIMFORSA PLANTERS

 

Create a striking accent wall or in-kitchen herb garden by repurposing IKEA’s Rimforsa container holders as planters. The Rimforsa line includes two sizes of holders, a hanging rail, and glass containers. If you want to do some comparison shopping to save a few bucks, you could purchase discount glasses or cups separately to place in your holders.

Buy from IKEA: Rimforsa Holder ($11) and Containers ($17)

6. VURUM WINE RACK HERB GARDEN

A photo posted by Shawna (@sevenofstars) on

 

For another clever herb garden option, turn the $10 Vurum wine rack on its side, mount it on your wall, and add your own glass vases.

Buy from IKEA: Vurum Wine Rack ($10)

7. KALLAX SHELF BAR

Photos by Jennifer Kathryn Photography for The Everygirl; Styling by Alaina Kaczmarski

The cubed Kallax shelf is a favorite of IKEA hackers for a reason—it’s just so versatile! The Kallax’s four cubbies make stylishly displaying your bottles, glasses, and barware simple. The Everygirl’s Alaina Kaczmarski transformed the simple unit into an expensive-looking bar by adding metallic legs (she used the Estelle legs from Pretty Pegs, but you could easily paint simple wooden legs found at any hardware store for a more budget-friendly option). Use wheels instead of legs and add a rail (like the Finrop) and your bar is now a cart.

Buy from IKEA: Kallax Shelf ($35)

8. CHILD’S LEARNING TOWER

A photo posted by Anja Keks (@keks_dose) on

 

Combine the Bekväm and Oddvar stools to help your tot safely reach the kitchen counter. The Oddvar doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S., but you can find directions and dimensions for adding your own plywood railing here.

Buy from IKEA: Bekväm Step Stool ($20), Oddvar Stool (£7)

9. DECORATIVE PAPER SCROLL

A photo posted by Kristin (@kjrobson) on

 

Wall-mount the Mala tabletop paper holder for the perfect place to leave family notes, make grocery lists, or let the kiddos scribble while you cook.

Buy from IKEA: Mala Paper Holder ($8) and Drawing Paper Roll ($5)

10. STACKED BOWLS

 

Keep your counters tidy with this space-saving storage unit created using three Rundlig bowls and the Hilver cone-shaped leg. When entertaining, fill each level with different chips or sweets for easy grazing and an eye-catching display.

Buy from IKEA: Rundlig Serving Bowl ($13), Hilver Cone-Shaped Leg ($25)

11. LEKSVIK CUP RACK

A photo posted by lealiveblog (@lealiveblog) on

 

Sometimes the best hacks come from finding unexpected uses (or places) for common items—no tools required! Move your Leksvik rack from the entryway to the kitchen and you have a great place for storing mugs, teacups, or pots and pans.

Buy from IKEA: Leksvik Rack ($13)

12. TOWEL RAIL POT LID HOLDER

 

Similarly, move a towel rail into your kitchen and you have a perfect place to store your pot and pan lids. Install the rail inside a cabinet or pantry door to keep them within reach but out of sight.

Buy from IKEA: Balungen Towel Rail ($15)

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

It’s now possible to learn guitar from home with the Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle, which is currently on sale for $29. Grab that Gibson, Fender, or whatever you have handy, and learn to strum rhythms from scratch.

The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.

 

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle - $29

See Deal


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11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Chesnot/Getty Images News

They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.