Modifying the IKEA KALLAX shelving unit into an entryway bench is one of the most popular hacks on IKEA Hackers. And with good reason — the KALLAX unit is at the right height for a storage bench, and you can add a layer of cushion or pillows for more comfort. You can slot in storage bins and boxes to organize the unit and reduce clutter.
So, it’s no wonder this project by DIY Mum, Kayleigh Sherbourne who shares her projects on @do.it.yourself.mum, caught my eye.
Like her, I love a good IKEA KALLAX upcycle. She says, “This is one that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and it’s been sat in my garage staring at me to start it.” Unlike the usual KALLAX storage benches, Kayleigh turned it into a storage chest or better described as a long storage trunk with a lid.
“I flipped the KALLAX on its side to create storage underneath the lid,” she explains in her Instagram caption.
The result is a stunning and functional storage unit that looks like a custom piece of furniture.
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial from Kayleigh on building a trunk chest from the IKEA KALLAX.
Tip: If you’re a beginner DIYer, omit the steps in this hack that are decorative. To make a storage chest, there are only 2 things you need to do: Add a hinged top and secure a bottom piece to the KALLAX to complete the chest storage.
IKEA KALLAX shelving unit (1×4)
Paint (in the desired color)
Stain (in the desired color)
Sheets of timber for top and bottom (Get them cut to size at your local hardware store)
This step is optional but the decorative detail elevates the hack to another level. All you need to do is cut the molding to fit the front and sides of the KALLAX. Use a miter box to get them cut at 45 degrees angle. Then glue the pieces onto the sides of the KALLAX. Once the glue has dried, caulk any gaps and paint the molding in the same color as the unit.
Add a lid and base
Measure and cut sheets of timber to fit the top and bottom of the shelf. Sand them down and stain them in your desired color. Kayleigh used Frenchic’s Browning Wax for these pieces to enrich the wood grain and texture. Attach the top piece of wood to the unit using screws and hinges. Also, attach the bottom sheet with screws.
Using the offcuts from the timber sheets, cut out square feet for the chest. Attach the blocks of wood to the 4 corners of the unit and add an extra foot (or two) in the middle for support if using the chest box as bench seating.
Lastly, add a leather pull to the lid to make it easier to lift. For the final touch, Kayleigh installed a soft-close lid hinge to prevent fingers from getting smashed.
Once everything is dry and secure, your new trunk storage is ready to use!
This hack is a great way to add some extra storage and style to your home. If placed in the hallway, use it to store off-season shoes or bags. In the living room, I can see it used for spare blankets and throws. In the playroom, it can serve as an awesome toy chest, with each compartment categorized for different kinds of toys. Add cushions to create a cozy reading nook.
To further customize it, you can also get the lid upholstered, creating a storage ottoman you can place at the foot of your bed. Instead of furniture legs, add caster wheels under the long, huge trunk to make it easily movable. Inside, you’ll have ample storage for linens or bedding.
Besides molding and painting, you can also personalize the finishes to fit your home decor. For instance, you can cover the sides of the KALLAX with reclaimed wood for an old-world charm. Or use a distressed paint style to create the look of an antique trunk. Try wood slats or half-round dowels for a modern stylish finish.
If you have an old KALLAX unit, get that out and start hacking right away.
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.