Finally! The IKEA way to add legs to a KALLAX shelf

ikea kallax with legs

After years of IKEA KALLAX hacks — with a lot of 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 |

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 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.

Supplies needed:

  • IKEA KALLAX underframe
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level

How to install legs on the KALLAX shelving unit

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

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

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.

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.

This hack pairs well with adding a back panel to your KALLAX shelf.

You may also like these hacks:

12 ways to close up the back of the IKEA KALLAX shelving unit

An interesting question popped up on our FB group. Stacy asked, “Has anyone put a back on their KALLAX shelving unit? What did you use?”

Well, glad you asked.

Let’s take a look at these 12 unique options to cover up the back of the KALLAX.

5 easy ways to create a unique TV stand

The KALLAX is one of the most versatile ranges in IKEA. And IKEA designers are constantly adding to the range; with new colors, door inserts, shelving and drawers introduced almost every year.

This makes the KALLAX the perfect candidate for customisation.

Here are 5 easy hacks that can turn the KALLAX into a modern, trendy TV stand.

Kids’ Custom Closet

Katherine is an Architect turned SAHM and blogs at about parenting and kid’s décor. She put together an IKEA KALLAX hack for her twin boys’ custom closet, and it looks amazing. Read more.