Ah, IKEA. Will there every be a time we stop buying our homewares from you? Sure, the dream is to raid Matt Blatt and West Elm but let’s face it – there’s rarely a time we can drop thousands on a recycled wood coffee table.

Unfortunately though, the reality with IKEA furniture is your new white MALM bed frame also features in every second friends apartment, which can make your brand spankin’ setup seem less than unique and, well, a lil meh given everyone knows the dirt cheap price you paid for it.

That’s where IKEA hacks come in. Scour Pinterest and you’ll find thousands of simple and cheap ways to make your run of the mill KALLAX and BILLY look like something you got delivered from a Byron Bay boutique. And yes, we mean simple and cheap. Here’s our round up of totally achievable DIY that’ll make your house look like a Vogue Living spread.

Paint stuff.


The simplest way to make something look rad is to just paint parts of it. Specifically, to spray paint metal legs and frames metallic. We all know bronze and gold are still going strong in the homewares world, but more often than not, IKEA pieces have that hectic, black industrial framing on them. Which totally works if you’ve got a next level concrete warehouse loft or something, but in an art deco apartment with wood floors? Not so hot.

Loads of people are showing off their amazing transformation of the standard IKEA shelving unit VITTSJO, which is all black frame/glass levels, where they’ve sprayed the frame gold or bronze and then either left the shelves as is, or covered them (more on that soon). This one from Style Me Pretty is really speaking to us.

The hack also works for chairs. This white plastic guy turns into a total show piece thanks to The Key Item, simply because the legs are now trend-appropriate gold, and there’s a sheepskin on it. How bloody easy.


Laminate like it’s Year 6 all over again.


Remember how a good holographic laminate could turn your snooze maths book into the most envied in class? The same works for furniture, surprisingly. Check out this transformation from Syl & Sam of a cheap looking hall table using faux marble laminate – yep, that’s a thing.

Just wrapped your head around the idea of fake marble laminate? Well, come one further because wood laminate is even crazier – make sure it’s the good kind that looks real, and you can create this awesome head board to make your MALM look way pricier and, well, not like MALM.

Change the use of things


Just because it’s in shelving doesn’t mean it has to BE shelving. Think outside of the box and you can save loads by using cheap items differently. For example, the KALLAX bookshelf makes a 10/10 entertainment unit.

And as Desire To Inspire shows, you can create the butcher block desk of your dreams with two drawer units (wheels off, obviously) and a hunk of wood.

People are even transforming the cheapie VITTSJO tv bench into a long seat, like the kind rich celebs always have at the end of their beds, for some reason. Here’s Dwellings By Devore‘s version:

Change the hardware


The general vibe of most of IKEA’s storage stuff is gr9, it’s just the handles and little metal bits that feel cheap. Solution? Just swap ’em out. The METOD kitchen cabinet range has probs the biggest variety of finishes in any IKEA product, and all you need to turn one into a storage unit is add legs and handles, like Arty Home did:

See? The worlds your bloody oyster if you arm yourself with some spray paint, some Bunnings supplies and an open mind.

Images: Syl & SamStyle Me PrettyArty HomeSugar & ClothThe Key ItemDwellings By DevoreDesire To Inspire and Pinterest.