Replacing the IKEA EXPEDIT range in 2014, the IKEA KALLAX is now a storage staple for millions of homes worldwide. The practical shape and varying size make the IKEA KALLAX prime for hacking, and today’s DIYers don’t hold back. Get ready to be amazed at the results of these IKEA KALLAX hacks; you might not believe these pieces of furniture started as a humble IKEA flatpack.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an advanced and highly skilled DIYer to turn your hand to IKEA KALLAX hacks sometimes; the simple touches can make the biggest impact.
Create a mini boot room
This mini boot room belongs to the owners of the inspiring Instagram account @ourmedievalcottage, and it is an excellent example of how you can transform a space with an IKEA KALLAX hack. Located opposite the front door, it makes for the perfect focal point and is hugely practical, providing stylish storage for coats, boots, and shoes.
Here’s how they did it: “We popped two KALLAX units at a right angle and turned one on its side so the holes face upwards. We popped a lid on one to give us hidden storage space.
We found some perfectly sized KALLAX woven baskets from Wovenhill Rattan, pre-routed paneling from Wickes, and pegs and shelf ends from eBay.”
You can find more info about the build process here.
IKEA KALLAX Shoe storage hack
This is one of those IKEA KALLAX hacks that are aesthetically pleasing and hugely beneficial for home storage. Many homes suffer from inadequate shoe storage, resulting in an untidy look and people tripping over piles of abandoned shoes. This nifty hack solves those issues on a budget.
IKEA hacker Michael cleverly utilized his under-stairs space to house this stylish storage. He took a large KALLAX unit and built it under the stairs for extra shoe storage. First, he “simply raised it off the floor using a timber base” before adding “scribed panels on each end and on top.” He applied a sleek coat of fresh white paint to complete the slick, built-in look of this shoe storage. Brilliant!
IKEA KALLAX arched built-ins
Kanza (@handmadehome_durham) is a keen DIYer whose aim is to have everything in her home handmade, homegrown, or DIYed. Kanza explains how the hack came about, “We bought these wallet-friendly IKEA KALLAX shelves when we first got married, but as our interior style started to change, they didn’t quite fit the scene. The problem was that they were still in great shape and so useful, so we didn’t want to toss them out either!”
They didn’t want to miss a DIY opportunity, so they transformed the basic KALLAX into exciting arched built-ins. They cut the arch shapes from moisture-resistant MDF and attached them to the units with strong adhesive and brad nails. For a professional finish, they filled the seams and sanded them before painting. They “gave it a coat of Zinsser BIN primer and used some Farrow and Ball paint we had lying around (color: Hague blue). Sealed it all with some furniture wax, and voilà, it’s finally vibing perfectly with our style and is still the storage rockstar it always was!”
IKEA KALLAX Built-in Storage Bench Hack
When the subject of IKEA KALLAX hacks arises, a storage bench is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Originality and creativity are at the heart of this super hack, which lives in the kitchen of Michael, @mnhomereno, a serial IKEA hacker (and with hacks this good, it’s easy to see why he loves making them).
A bespoke, built-in kitchen storage bench would set you back at least a few hundred pounds, so this budget-friendly IKEA KALLAX hack is just the ticket for would-be home renovators. Michael transformed a 4-cube IKEA KALLAX unit by raising it off the floor and seating it on a timber base before adding scribed MDF panels to each end. The genius move here was adding a lid with hinges to allow easy access while concealing the inner storage for clean lines and a neat look. As with most painted IKEA hacks, a coat of primer was applied before letting loose with the gorgeous Farrow and Ball paint in the shade Pavillion Grey and an eggshell finish.
Bespoke-looking storage unit
How stylish is this IKEA KALLAX hack? The arched compartments create a stunning custom look, and the single square compartment adds a touch of asymmetry. These units have been transformed with Moonwallstickers decorative panels.
“The process of assembling is super simple. You apply glue (it is not included) on the back of the panels and place them on the front of the KALLAX cube shelves. Each panel has a mark on the back, so you know which panels should be placed side by side.”
To add a more unique and customized look, you can paint the white PVC overlay stickers and the whole KALLAX unit to suit your interior style.
IKEA KALLAX Kitchen Storage Unit Hack
This KALLAX kitchen storage unit hack is one of the more creative IKEA KALLAX hacks, and the results would have many questioning if there is a KALLAX at the heart of this practical kitchen storage unit. Here’s how Michael, the IKEA hacker behind this excellent transformation, did it.
Starting with a 4-cube KALLAX bookcase, Michael “raised it off the floor using timber base” before adding “scribed MDF panels on each end and on top.” Next, he “added skirting in white around the base for decorative detail.” Now that the structure was in place, it was time to complete the transformation with a lick of paint. Michael used Zinsser Bin1-2-3 for the first coat, before applying Farrow and Ball eggshell in the stylish shade ‘Pavilion Gray’.
Vinyl record storage hack
At first glance, this built-in alcove unit looks bespoke, but it’s actually a super stylish IKEA KALLAX hack completed by talented carpenter James from @woodrosecarpentry. This hack ticks all the boxes, fills the space perfectly, and looks expensive, functional, and tasteful. If you fancy attempting this IKEA alcove hack, here’s how James did it.
“This IKEA KALLAX unit required a small base built to raise the KALLAX to the same height as an existing cabinet in the alcove on the opposite side of the chimney breast. Then, a worktop and side filler panels were made from 18mm MDF to blend into the alcove to give a built-in look. It was then all caulked and roller-painted to match.”
James’ attention to detail paid off, and the results were seriously luxe.
Add doors to create stylish hidden storage
Maggie Minhas, aka @maggie_minhas_at_home, is an OC realtor with seriously impressive DIY skills. Maggie transformed some basic KALLAX units to create these inspiring IKEA KALLAX hacks by adding doors and new handles and using exciting materials to add texture and interest.
To steal her style and create a KALLAX storage cupboard transformation of your own, consider using stylish rattan sheeting as Maggie has done or pastel-colored chevrons for a playful look. Adding feet to an IKEA KALLAX hack is a great way to give the furniture some height, and it’s also practical for cleaning underneath it. You could paint in darker colors for a moody vibe or embrace the light-blue color trend to be ahead in the 2024 interior style stakes.
IKEA KALLAX Changing Area / Mudroom hack
What could be better than converting your garage into a bar close to your amazing hot tub? I’ll tell you what … adding a seriously cool changing area constructed from, you’ve guessed it, IKEA KALLAX units. Trish Aston and her husband, @trishashton79, completed this creative DIY project on Instagram.
Here’s why they created this budget-friendly masterpiece: “We wanted a built-in mud room look for our garage and the hot tub changing area but without a built-in price.”
First, they constructed the base, “We bought a 4×1 KALLAX bench and attached kitchen unit feet to it from B and Q, then bought a simple kitchen baseboard and clipped it onto the legs.” Then, they added the eye-catching wall details. “We did the wall by putting up a 2×2 frame and screwing pallet planks to it (once we pulled the pallets apart and de-nailed the planks.) I got a cushion made for the top of the KALLAX, and we put a single PAX cupboard at the end to complete the build.” Stylish and practical, this project would work well in many family homes.
IKEA KALLAX kitchen island hack
Kitchen islands are stylish and functional, but they are often a costly addition to a kitchen. Kaitlyn of Instagram account @home_with_Kaitlyn had the idea of creating a kitchen island using an IKEA KALLAX hack. Kaitlyn explains how her hack came about, “I recently had the idea to create a kitchen island as purchasing one was not an option due to my budget. After researching, I found that IKEA had the best options for creating a kitchen island on a budget. I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like, and the KALLAX units were the perfect solution to bring my vision to life. The process was simple and easy to execute.”
By adding a tabletop, Kaitlyn created ample workspace, and by screwing the two KALLAX units and the tabletop together with metal brackets, she made sure the whole thing was super sturdy and secure.
IKEA KALLAX hacks we love and featured
KALLAX platform beds
This is one IKEA hack that has withstood the test of time. Since we started IKEA hackers in 2006, DIYers have already begun converting the IKEA EXPEDIT shelf unit into platform beds. The love for a storage bed continues with the KALLAX. And it works just as well as its predecessor. See our post on IKEA platform storage beds for more ideas and inspiration.
Craft room must-have
Crafters love the IKEA KALLAX shelving units for the extra storage space, open shelves, and useful drawer inserts vital in a craft room. And did we mention the large work surface is perfect for cutting patterns and laying out the materials you need to craft? There are many ways to make a craft table with the KALLAX shelf units, and this sewing-cutting table tutorial is a great place to start.
Finding a good piece of furniture for the hallway can be tricky. Do you opt for storage or seating? Why not both? As seen from popular Instagrammer @do.it.yourself.mum, she smartly turned the KALLAX bookshelf onto its side and made a flip top, creating a fabulous storage chest with neat compartments for all the stuff you need to store in your hallway.
Toy storage for kids’ room
Natalie made the most effortless DIY storage for toys, which also works as a reading nook. She assembled the 4 x 2 IKEA KALLAX and laid it flat on the floor. Next, she got a 6mm MDF board from the hardware store and had it cut to her measurements. The KALLAX cube storage is filled with her kid’s toys. Then, she placed the MDF board on top of the KALLAX. Next, she layered on a quilt for padding and a throw rug for extra measure, tucking in the edges around the board. If you prefer, you can also staple padding and fabric to the MDF board. And you’re done! Add a few pillows and cushions to complete the cozy storage and reading corner for the playroom.
After searching high and low for one that would work for his TV and vinyl player, Alihan hacks this beautiful and functional media stand. Better yet, it suits his living room decor, and there’s room for his cat to nap. He combined the KALLAX pieces with pine boards for a custom yet affordable media stand.
Modern card catalog cabinet
A huge library card apothecary-style cabinet that elevates the KALLAX to a whole new level. Terra stacked the 2×4 cubbies on each other and used the 2-drawer inserts to create her vision. File cabinet pulls complete the look. This is so useful in the home office and craft room.
A compact bar cart
The IKEA KALLAX’s versatility shines yet again in this bar cart transformation. Jen added wheels to the bottom of the KALLAX shelving unit and 2 LAMPLIG cutting boards as the countertop. A towel rail added to the side doubles as a handle when moving the bar. It can’t get any easier than that. Add your bottles and wine glasses to the open cube shelf and drinks accessories behind door inserts.
To organize a closet space
Katherine, a former architect now a stay-at-home mom, showcased an adorable IKEA KALLAX hack designed for her twin boys. She placed a KALLAX shelving unit in her existing reach-in closet space (sans doors) to work as storage and a divider. One twin gets the left, and the other the right section of the closet. Clever! Learn more about it here.
KALLAX built-in bookshelf
While BILLY is the most popular IKEA furniture for built-in bookshelves, it does not mean it cannot be done with the KALLAX. S. Chong stacked two KALLAX units. A wooden frame divided the two units and raised the upper KALLAX unit to the ceiling. For the built-in look, he filled it out with molding and trim. See how it’s done here.
As you can see from this selection of IKEA KALLAX hacks, this flatpack furniture range is sturdy, versatile, and can be relied upon time and again. With some imagination and creativity, you can use these affordable units to create stylish and practical storage for your home.
Our DIYers achieved their high-end looks by upgrading the basic IKEA hardware, adding paint, building the units with infill panels, and customizing them to fit their interiors. Hopefully, these projects have inspired you to have a go!