IKEA IVAR “Hide and Peek” cabinet hack

I recently hacked an IKEA IVAR cabinet into a drinks and display cabinet. It features gold leaf on the back which creates a striking backdrop for bar accessories. I replaced the door with ‘hit and miss’ mouldings. “Hide” for behind the door and “peek” through the display bars. 

hide and peek
IKEA items:
Other materials:

IKEA IVAR bar cabinet hack instructions

Do not assemble the IVAR yet. Resist the temptation.

Prepare for paint

To minimise the knots bleeding through the paint work, I first applied 2 coats of Dixie Belle stain block primer. I used a microfibre roller to ensure a smooth flat finish. Let dry and then lightly sand with a sanding sponge. Then, dust down.

dixie belle stain block primer

Related: DIY wooden wine glass rack to fit the IKEA IVAR

Next I worked out where the shelves should go and marked the necessary dowel holes. Then, filled up all the others with wood filler as I did not intend for the shelves to be adjustable. On hindsight, I should have done this before priming. Once dry, I touched up the filler with the same primer.


I used a soft muted mauve (Fusion Mineral Paint Damask) for the cabinet. I applied two coats of the mauve and finished with 2 coats of a flat finish High Performance Topcoat. By now, every square inch of the pine is primed, painted and finished.

Now, turning to the backing board, which is the brown foldable fibre board which slots into the grooves at the back of the cabinet.

I coated it with a warm yellow paint called Prairie Sunset. After that, I applied gold metal leaf on this board. The yellow paint makes any rips and tears in the gold leaf less noticeable. It also makes the metal leaf more vivid in colour.

Assemble the cabinet

With all the painting done, it was time to build the cabinet. I installed the legs and attached glass holders. Also threaded the wires for the light through the holes I made earlier to the backing board.

wine glass holder

Next I added moulding to the doors. I applied Gorilla wood glue to the door and laid each moulding strip one at a time secured with panel pins.

ikea bar cabinet door moulding

Related: How to close the IVAR gap

Lastly, I gave the doors two coats of the primer and then, the same mauve paint.

I attached the doors to one half of the cabinet. The other half was where my ‘hit and miss’ mouldings were going to go. And voilà!

ikea ivar bar cabinet hack

Now fill your IKEA bar cabinet.

ikea ivar bar cabinet hack

See the complete step by step instructions of the IVAR cabinet hack and more photos on our blog.

~ by Paul Estall (Percy and Albert Interiors)