When we finally moved into a flat that would be our home for at least 5 years, we wanted to have some unique, quality furniture. It was the old story – IKEA had done the trick when we were young, skint, and in temporary dwellings but we wanted to move on a bit. However, finding affordable solid wood shelving that would meet our book and media storage needs, be flexible, and be transported and installed with relative ease was perhaps unsurprisingly difficult. My dad hit on the Ivar units at IKEA, since they are solid pine and all ready to be stained/painted. You buy the frames and shelves individually, so it’s easy to buy exactly what you want.

IKEA offers Ivar in three heights, two depths, and two shelf lengths. We bought two of the mid-height (70”) shallow units (12″ deep) with 6 shelves for each, and two of the lowest height (49”), deep units (20″ deep) with three shelves for each. We got the longer of the two choices of shelves. We had decided to put the two short, deep units beside each other, so we only needed three of that size leg/frame. The Ivar legs have two rows of holes for pegs, meaning one leg frame can support shelves on each side.

IVAR media console

We cut the deep short units down by about 20″, so that the TV sitting on the top shelf would be an appropriate height (28”), and we cut the back legs off about 12″ from the ground so that they would sit nicely over our heating baseboards.

We painted the legs/frames white, and stained the shelves an oak-ish colour – I was inspired by a lot of pieces on Ikea Hackers that had mixed wood tones with white frames for a mid-century vibe. They only required one coat, which was a bonus, and it went on very easily. We used a tin and a half of ‘Early American’ stain from Home Depot to do all the shelves and the remnants of a can of white paint for the legs.

IVAR media console

We screwed the leg units into the wall which gives them a nice, stable anchoring, while having the front feet on the floor means they aren’t putting all the weight on the wall. We also put a similarly modified short deep unit in our bedroom desk area. Once we have sorted out our media as we want it, we’ll probably put half-moon cuts in the shelves to thread cords through. We already had the 4 Ikea storage boxes, and they fit under perfectly.

We are incredibly pleased with the results, and it ended up cheaper (and easier) than even just buying lumber to fully DIY it.

~ Stacey Berquist

Jules Yap