Before & After: A designer has turned her IKEA HAVSTA into a living room staple

The iconic unit has had a revamp – and you can recreate its bespoke style in your home

IKEA HAVSTA
(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

The HAVSTA is amongst IKEA’s most recognizable units, however, it now looks unrecognizable after a DIY makeover. 

Designer Kayla Reynolds turned to the IKEA hack after feeling inspired on Instagram – but now, she’s here to inspire everyone else with her transformation. Here, Kayla (@reynoldsresidence) walks you through the design process – so you can recreate its Scandi-minimalism in your own scheme. 

IKEA HAVSTA hack – Before 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

‘We live in a new build property, and our lounge is fairly long, with quite a lot of large, plain wall space,’ Kayla shares with Livingetc

The designer came across the struggle that many interior enthusiasts find themselves tackling at one time or another: the television. While it can feel like a challenge to make your television appear chic, Kayla revealed that the HAVSTA was a perfect choice. 

‘We knew we needed something to fill the wall that the TV sat against, but after doing our research, a bespoke, custom-made, in-frame unit was out of our budget,’ Kayla says. So, they turned to the Swedish powerhouse.  

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

‘We had gotten some inspiration from other home Instagram accounts who had done similar IKEA hacks. So we got to work.’

Kayla picked up the HAVSTA cabinets and bookshelves for the main structure of the design – adding that she was attracted to the shaker-style cabinet aesthetic suited her timeless living room ideas. ‘The storage cabinets are really big and perfect to hide all those items you don’t want on show,’ she adds. 

IKEA HAVSTA hack – During  

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

To assist her in the hack, the designer enlisted the helo of a local carpenter to source tongue and groove paneling for the back of the unit. This expertise gave the unit extra texture and interest. 

‘He also added cornice to the top and an MDF board to lie across the top of the cabinets to hide the joins between them, giving it that ‘all in one’ look,’ she says.

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

The team then cut the skirting board behind the unit – to hide the wires and plug sockets in one of the cupboards.

IKEA HAVSTA hack – After

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

After Kayla fitted her units, she caulked the joins to ensure the piece appeared seamless. She then sanded and painted the HAVSTA in Frenchic’s Wedding Cake by 

IKEA HAVSTA

(Image credit: Kayla Reynolds / @reynoldsresidence)

‘[Despite sanding] the unit down, you don’t need to sand/prime with Frenchic, and it goes on beautifully,’ Kayla adds. ‘My favorite thing about the piece is the shelves – all that space will give me endless hours of faffing and styling potential.’

This modern decorating idea deserves replication far beyond Kayla’s living room – and we, for one, are following suit.

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.