Finally! The IKEA way to add legs to the KALLAX

After years of IKEA KALLAX hacks — with a lot legs added to them — IKEA got it. They finally understood, we want a version of the IKEA KALLAX with legs.

Years ago they offered caster wheels for the IKEA KALLAX but the design was, IMHO, not ideal. The wheel mounting hardware extended beyond the width of the shelving unit which I imagine, led to many stubbed toes.

Now, with this new shiny thing, they may have a winning accessory for the Swedish store’s most versatile piece of cube storage. Personally, I can’t wait to check out the leggy IKEA KALLAX. Get here, quick!

IKEA KALLAX with leg base
IKEA KALLAX with leg base | IKEA.com

The base is made from steel with an epoxy/polyester powder coating finish. For me, that translates to solid and sturdy. It should have no issues holding up the shelving unit, even when loaded. The downside to the metal material is you can’t trim down the square legs into something slimmer, if you prefer a more delicate profile.

IKEA KALLAX with leg base
IKEA KALLAX with underframe | IKEA.com

IKEA sells the underframe for $24. Not a bad price and is comparable to a set of 4 metal hairpin furniture legs on Amazon.

Currently, IKEA offers one size to fit the width of 4 cubes across. I hope a base for the smaller unit — the 2- or 3- cube size versions of the KALLAX — is in the pipeline.

As for installation, it seems a breeze. Let’s take a quick look at how it’s done.

How to install the KALLAX shelving unit with legs:

1. You’ll need to assemble the underframe. And the shelf unit if you don’t already have it assembled.

2. Then remove the lower set of screws of the assembled KALLAX and install a special bracket (provided with the base) on to the KALLAX bookshelf.

how to install IKEA KALLAX with leg base

3. Lastly, place the shelving unit above the underframe and push it into place. This should click and lock the unit to the base. No drilling required and no worries about drilling into any hollow sections.

4. As a safety measure, IKEA recommends securing the KALLAX unit to the wall.

5. And this is how it looks with the underframe. Neat!

IKEA KALLAX with base
Photo: IKEA.com
Is adding legs a legit IKEA KALLAX hack?

We’ve known all these years just by adding the legs, we can transform the KALLAX bookshelf into something different.  So now that IKEA offers a leg, is it still a KALLAX hack? 🤔 You tell me.

Anyhow, I welcome it and hope to see more varieties of IKEA legs made specifically for the KALLAX. Until we have more styles, we’ll still need to resort to hacking.

Such as when we want to hack an MCM style KALLAX with hairpin legs.

MCM style KALLAX with hairpin legs and plywood

Or tapered feet.

KALLAX with tapered feet and wallpapered drawers

Read on for the step by step tutorial on adding furniture legs to the KALLAX.

How to add custom legs to KALLAX bookcase:

1. Get a set of furniture legs with metal plates or brackets that you can screw in place. You’ll need at least 4 legs for a 2×2 or 2×4 KALLAX. If you’re using a 1×4 KALLAX as a bench or TV unit with a heavy TV, I’d recommend getting at least 6 legs. (I like this wood with brass accent legs and these triangle legs.)

2. For the placement of legs, place the flat side of the leg mounting plates on the KALLAX and mark where the screws should go. Try to keep as close as possible to the edges of the KALLAX where it’s more solid. (Knock and listen for the hollow parts).

3. Then use a small drill bit to drill pilot holes for your screws. About half the diameter of the screw would be a good place to start.

(Depending on the legs you get, you may need to drill a larger center hole for the leg screw to go through. Be sure to not drill too deep or you might drill through to the other side. Measure the depth required and use masking tape to mark your drill bit to match the level. Check your furniture leg installation guide to be sure.)

The key is to go slow

4. Place the mounting plate over the pilot hole. Then, use a manual screwdriver and slowly secure the plate. (Using a cordless drill may strip the holes too much. You’re not working with a lot of material to begin with.)

5. Screw in the leg to the hardware. Repeat the process for all other legs.

6. Get a friend to help you flip the KALLAX over on its legs.

7. Finish with drawer inserts, door inserts and decor.

8. Stand back and admire your work.

See more IKEA hacks for the IKEA KALLAX shelf or other IKEA storage units.

You may also like: