You might have heard about Ikea’s latest “controversy.” They issued this sassy response to high-end designer Balenciaga’s $2,145 imitation of their signature 99 cent Frakta tote bag. You’re likely to already be very familiar with the original from your last trip to Ikea, where you inevitably picked one up after realizing that you “needed” too many things from the furniture store that might be confused with the Swedish embassy.
This ironic copycat has made Ikea’s tote one of the most talked about bags of this fashion season. But we thought we would show you some more practical (and cheaper!) options of how to take something good from Ikea and make it even better. Whether you’re looking to re-invent something you already have, or want to think outside the box on your next visit to Ikea, here are some fun hacks for you to try.
Add a Pop of Color
More and more Ikea products are coming in unfinished wood. Don’t feel intimidated—get inspired! Pick up some paint, maybe in a few different shades. Add some tape or stencils if you want to be creative with patterns and add some flair to your furniture. Create a colorful outdoor bench following Sarah Hearts’s tutorial here.
Low Price, High End Finish
Tired of that boring coffee table made of white wood composite? Upgrade it with some contact paper and spray paint. You’ll go from simple to swanky in just a few hours. Get the DIY marble coffee table with gold makeover by following the instructions here.
Storage Meets Seating
This idea might seem obvious, but the sheer square footage of Ikea has this strange ability to make you feel brain dead after a few hours of walking around the seemingly never-ending maze. You may find yourself staring blankly in the storage section, unable to distinguish from one see-through plastic container to the next. Instead, head back to the furniture section—you’ll find some mini ottomans that have hidden storage compartments. They start at just $12.99 and will work if you need an extra seat or surface when you’re hosting your next gathering. It’s the perfect solution if you live in a tiny apartment and are short on these two essentials—storage and seating.
In the home décor section, there are usually some cute options for lanterns. But you may find that your lantern is just collecting dust if you haven’t had a power outage in a few years. Why not re-purpose the lantern into a flower pot? No more waiting around for the lights to go out.
Over Your Furniture? Overlays to the Rescue
This is one of my favorite hacks, and if I can do it, so can you! These thin wood cutouts can be glued onto your existing Ikea furniture to give it some edge and flair. Let’s be real, the black-brown Malm dresser can only provide you with so much excitement. While this hack will require going to the hardware store and purchasing wood glue (two activities you would not typically see me doing), the end result will be worth it! Your room will be rejuvenated and feel brand new with these fun and quirky accents.
Be a Knob Snob
There actually is a silver lining to Ikea furniture coming disassembled. You can skip steps in the instruction manual. Well, um, sometimes at least… This dresser do-over incorporated some cool, unique dresser knobs. Never be afraid to ditch the boring option that was packed in the box.
When Lack is Lacking
If I’m having trouble deciding if I want something at Ikea, I sometimes implement the pad thai test. It’s pretty scientific—buy the item if it’s less than or equal to the price of ordering pad thai takeout! Ranging from $9.99 to $13.99, the Lack side tables certainly pass the test. But you get what you pay for and the design certainly isn’t cutting edge. Add some character with corner fasteners—in whatever style and finish you like. Once you add them, you’ll hardly remember what the original Lack table was lacking.
Time to Hang
If you’re worried about complicated brackets and screws needed to hang a clock or mirror, don’t be. Simply put a nail in the wall and use a vintage belt or some old rope for a quick hanging solution with a more mature look.