This simple IKEA hack is a low-key style upgrade

My home is full of the bustling energy of kids playing, a cat, and my endurance-athlete husband. Things get used hard in my house. Things need to be wipe-able for easy cleaning. And things don’t always last through soccer balls, bicycle grease, and occasionally dropping groceries when you step on said cat. Enter: IKEA.

To be fair, IKEA isn’t just the last-resort of harried parents and college students. (See my picks from the 2018 collection.) But let’s be real – the generic nature of mass-retail, flat-pack furniture is writ large at IKEA. They offer some nice customization here and there, but sometimes you want to make a piece yours.

Here’s a pretty easy Kallax shelf hack that my engineer husband and I did in an afternoon. My 7 year-old even helped! And don’t worry, you don’t have to be an engineer to do this.

The Low-Key Kallax Hack

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 Kallax shelf (configuration of your choice)
  2. 4 Kallax insert with two drawers
  3. 4 Kallax insert with door
  4. 4 steel hairpin legs
  5. 12 Decorative knobs
  6. Screws and nuts (*more on that below)
  7. Screwdriver
  8. IKEA hex key (that elbow wrench thing)

Step 1: Build the basic Kallax shelf. Whether it’s a 2×2, 4×1, 4×2 or whatever you pick, build the regular shelf to start by following regular IKEA instructions.

Step 2: Add legs to the bottom of the shelf. I chose 6-inch steel hairpin legs I bought online, but you can also find a variety of legs at home improvement stores. You can choose whatever style you like — wood, metal, painted, long, short.

You can do whatever configuration of drawers and cabinets you want. I’ve also seen this with open shelves with baskets on each side and only drawers in the center. If you choose to leave any bottom shelf open, keep that in mind in terms of where the legs get screwed in because they will show on the inside of the shelf.

*My husband used lock nuts (like Nylock) on the bottom to make the legs secure. You can use split-ring washers instead.

Step 3: Install the Kallax inserts (drawers and cabinets) going from the backside. This makes it easier to get over the nuts and screws where the legs are. Install the inserts per IKEA instructions. You might have to give a little extra push to get over the screws where the legs are.

Step 4: Install drawers and cabinet doors.

Step 5: Put the decorative knobs of your choice on instead of the standard IKEA knobs. This is where we splurged in the project. We got ours at Home Depot. I’ve also seen these same knobs at Target for slightly more money.

Step 6: Put in place and anchor if needed. Enjoy!

As always, these are my personal recommendations. Nothing in this post has been paid for or sponsored.

Follow me @GentrifiedNomad on Instagram and Twitter and on Facebook.

Photo credits: The Gentrified Nomad

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