When we think of our dream home, we don't necessarily think IKEA is going to be where we find the products that are going to furnish it. IKEA is amazing for super affordable and functional pieces, but they don't necessarily have that 'je n'ais ce quoi' that you look for in special furniture pieces that give the designer finish.
So, you want the budget price, but not the budget look? Add that certain something and extra flourish yourself! Don't dismiss DIY just yet, as you could double the value of your basic IKEA furniture in just a day. We've collated our favourite updates for you to hopefully inspire, recreate or just get your creative juices flowing.
Scroll on to see your these IKEA classics get given a new lease of life...
1. TARVA 5-drawer chest
Shop: TARVA Chest of 5 Drawers
Get a handle on it
Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel
The above chest of drawers has just been painted a bright white, so it looks clean and fresh. To add that extra bit of lux, just changing the handles/knobs can give the chest of drawers a totally different look.
If you're sporting brass accents, then brass handles is the perfect way to create fruition in your room. Here, the legs of the chest have also been sprayed/painted in a gold finish for a super cohesive look.
Use your imagination
Image credit: Petit and Small
The pine TARVA chest of drawers is prepped and primed, ready for a fresh lick of paint. This makes them the perfect canvas for turning your furniture in artwork or creating an inventive scheme for a little one.
Mountain ranges, flowers or even a whole solar system can be painted on the chest to satisfy your children's dreams and imagination.
Image credit: The Navage Patch
No we're not talking about what type of produce to pick up from the veggie isle at the supermarket (although, you totally should go organic). We're talking about giving the look of a natural finish to your chest of drawers. This could be done by staining the existing wood, cladding or even just using a wood effect vinyl adhesive.
This is a super simple way to make your IKEA furniture match or complement existing wood finishes within your room scheme.
Image credit: Hunker
Attaching panelling to the front of your chest, and then painting it in to the main chest is a super simple way to get that designer look. Whether your 3D finish be traditional panelling, a modern geometric or a nod to the 1920s, your chest will instantly look more £999 rather than £99.
Try some tiling
Image credit: The Pursuit of Handyness
We love this herringbone look. Cut some thin parquet style tiles to size and clad them to your drawer to seriously upgrade your simple chest of drawers. The additional texture will add so much more depth and dimension to your room and will also look like a one off piece rather than a mass produced unit.
2. BESTA Burs Desk
Shop: BESTA Burs Desk
Tone down the high-gloss
Image credit: Happy Mundane
Once upon a time, high-gloss finishes was the epitome of a super modern look, but like all fads, they go in and out of fashion. High-gloss in large amounts can often date an interior now, but with the need for sustainability and no-waste greater than ever, it seems a shame to throw out all this perfectly functional furniture, doesn't it?
So, what's the solution? Upcycling, duh. Tone down the gloss with adding a wood effect, or any natural finish adhesive to part of the desk, whether it be the front (as shown above) or the worktop.
3. LINNMON/LERBERG Desk
Shop: Linnmon/Lerberg Table
Image credit: Stadshem Design
'Trouble' is probably the wrong word, as this IKEA does quite the opposite. By using two desks (or two worktops and just two legs) plus a storage cabinet in the centre, you can double the work space whilst incorporating storage. Win, win!
Love your literature
Image credit: Livet Hemma
Stack books or magazines as an alternative to a desk leg to give a quirky, creative edge to your desk. Have a colour scheme that you want to stick to? Make sure the book covers follow the colour scheme, or just paint those hardbacks too!
Add some luxe
Image credit: Luisa Design Blog
Bring in some brass to your room design by spraying/painting the legs in a gold effect finish. For an ultra modern finish, choose the glass worktop! Just be prepared for the dusting and cleaning...
4. BILLY Bookcase
Shop: BILLY Bookcase
Image credit: The Makerista
If you box BILLY Bookcases in, you create a completely cohesive, finished bespoke look. This can be done in traditional styling or in a sleeker modern finish. Add a ladder for that extra flourish!
Join the rattan trend
Image credit: House of Hawkes
Rattan is super on-trend at the moment, and your basic IKEA furniture is the perfect opportunity to include it in your interior. Cut some panels out of cupboard doors/plywood and attach the cane in the panels. Voila, a stylish rattan effect cupboard.
Image credit: Lonny
A simple way to upgrade your bookcase is to frame it, whether this just be painting it or building out with panels and painting these to make more of a statement. Try a dark grey, navy or black for a bold, stand out look or a pastel, off-white or pale grey for a more understated look.
Give it some glass
Image credit: IKEA
Just like the rattan bookcase, panel cupboard doors with glass to create a display cabinet. This gives the perfect combination of neatly closed away storage and also the opportunity for some gorgeous 'shelfie' styling.
A grand entrance
Image credit: Harlowe James
Adding some partially hidden storage with some cupboard doors creates the perfect entryway in terms of style and function. No more tripping over shoes in the hall or just dropping bags on the floor, now they'll have their own dedicated space that also looks GORGEOUS.
Focus on the background
Image credit: IKEA
One of the quickest and simplest updates is painting the back panel, behind the shelves. This can add a splash of colour, an understated contrast and depth to the bookcase. Love pattern? Opt for wallpapering the back panel for even more character.
5. MALM Bed Frame
Shop: MALM Bed Frame
Image credit: wohngoldstueck.de
Clad the headboard with a light wood to give a rustic, natural Scandinavian look. This will give a light, clean and bright finish to the room. Want to go that one step further? In the same pine material, build a matching bedside table as an extension of the bed frame.
Finish it in fabric
Image credit: IKEA
Using foam and a fabric of your choice, you can transform your simple MALM bed frame into a beautiful, high-end upholstered bed frame. Go for light linen for a fresh, modern look or a luxurious velvet for a more lavish look.
Image credit: Merriment Design
Here you can see a fun fabric sleeve has been made for the MALM bed frame, with a little pouch for toys. This makes it perfect for a little one's room to add a fun splash of colour and pattern and some helpful extra storage.
6. KALLAX shelving
Shop: KALLAX Shelving unit
A comfortable seat
Image credit: Tonic Living
Tip your KALLAX unit on its side and throw on an upholstered seat cushion and/or some decorative cushions on top. Either add cupboard doors, place baskets underneath or add drawers for clothes storage, or use it as another 'shelfie' styling opportunity. This is also great for quirky book storage or for tidying shoes out of a porch or entryway.
Give it some legs
Image credit: dupeitdoux.com
Just by changing the handles and adding some legs you create the look of a completely different piece of furniture. You can buy cupboard door, drawer and shelf inserts directly from IKEA, so no extra carpentry is required! Play with textures and make the eye dance around the sideboard by combining closed, basket and open storage.
Affordable, but make it chic
Image credit: The Pink Dream
Clever panelling can transform your KALLAX unit. The above sideboard definitely has a nod to the 1920s with the style of panelling and gold handles. Finish off the look with a decorative mirror and a statement lamp.
Paint it in
Image credit: The Decorista
We've mentioned the power of paint, but it doesn't always need to be a bright contrast. You can achieve such a sleek and bespoke finish by painting your KALLAX unit in with the colour of the wall. Somehow, this tiny change makes it go from cheap to chic.
Change the function
Image credit: Mikrokosmos
Add a sloped roof and suddenly, your unit has gone from storage to a playhouse. Wallpaper each section and then start decorating with dollhouse furniture. Even add fabric as carpets! This may be something for the children, but we're getting excited at the prospect of another house to update...
7. IVAR cabinet
Shop: IVAR Cabinet
Panel your paint
Image credit: Instagram @xavi.charlie.and.me
In DIY, you will soon find that masking tape is your best friend. Create amazing effects with paint that takes the furniture from low-end to high-end in a few brush strokes. Here, you can also create fun motifs for children's rooms like with the TARVA chest.
You can't go wrong with rattan
Image credit: Hunker
We've already mentioned how fashionable rattan is at the moment. There is a big move towards more organic and 'earthy' interiors, from colours to materials. We can't see rattan going out of style soon, so don't hesitate to order some cane wrapping, cut out your cupboard doors and see your rattan cupboard come to life before your eyes.
Add some hairpin legs to create a mid-century finish.
Built-in and beautiful
Image credit: IKEA
We LOVE this IKEA hack. The IVAR cabinet can be wall mounted, and the above image shows how effective this can be. Pair up your cabinet or use as many as you need to perfectly fit your wall, paint it in with the colour of the wall and add some gorgeous leather handles.
The unit looks especially fabulous here with the wall panelling, it's so bespoke that it looks like a perfect extension of the wall - exactly how built-in furniture should look!
Extend your window sill
Image credit: Instagram @beyondstories.se
Again, we're showing you here how the IVAR cabinet has the incredible capacity to be turned into furniture that looks absolutely bespoke. Multiple cabinets (and at £45 a unit, you can afford to) lined up and boxed in along the entire length of the wall adds a huge amount of storage, yet isn't imposing on the room whatsoever.
The above IKEA hack works especially well at the height of the window sill, as it's the perfect hight for a ledge ready to style.
Want to go that step further? Continue the wall colour and panelling style onto the cabinet for a completely coherent finish.
Frame the bed
Image credit: Instagram - @mamplanstudio
Pair your IVAR cabinet with some pine IKEA chest of drawers for a bespoke wardrobe. In small space areas, framing the bed with your clothes storage is the perfect way to keep as much floor space as possible whilst having enough room to hide away all your gorgeous garms.
We love the paint sectioning in the above room, and how it's continued across the cabinets.
A perfect pantry
Image credit: Our Food Stories
Stack the IVAR cabinets, paint them the colour of the kitchen and voila! You've got yourself the pantry that you've been dreaming of.
A strong foundation
Image credit: Digs Digs
We've mentioned transforming your IKEA furniture with some legs quite a bit and we've also spoken very highly of the effects of a fresh lick of paint. Why don't you do both? Add a fun pop of colour with a bright pigment or just create an understated contrast with a more muted tone.
Maximise your storage
Image credit: Instagram - @mortilmernee
Children have a lot of stuff, don't they? So. Much. Stuff. The IVAR cabinet is perfect for maximising storage as it can be stacked as much as you like. If you have tall ceilings you could create an impressive floor to ceiling storage unit.
An unconventional high-chair
Image credit: Instagram - @jauraispumappelermarcel
We saw a bench seat created with the KALLAX unit, but what children sometimes like the view above. Make an exciting high-seat by adding some steps to reach the top of the IVAR cabinet and throw in some cushions and a throw to make it super cosy.
Geometrics aren't over yet
Image credit: Solebich
Remember when everything was geometric? No? Ok, well we'll paint a picture. Geometric wallpaper, complemented by geometric cushions, embossed geometric furniture and geometric wire frames. Whilst this now seems to be largely toned down, geometric shapes are still a hugely effective pattern in interior design.
This beautiful sideboard is no more than two IVAR cabinets, some gold tape and some added legs. Such a simple, yet effective transformation!
So there you have it, IKEA's most well known pieces, new and improved and all done by you! Any questions? Don't hesitate to drop us a note on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loved this post? Keep your eyes peeled for the next IKEA Hacks instalment: Designer kitchens on a budget.