Searching for upscale storage solutions on a budget? IKEA Ivar hacks are a brilliant way to get a bespoke finish without breaking the bank.
The Ivar is a very versatile storage system, offering the original cabinet, as well as drawers, shelving units, end panels and door fronts, and is one of the most popular pieces for inspirational IKEA hacks.
Our hacks roundup will mainly be focusing on how you can give the original IKEA Ivar cabinet a designer-worthy glow-up.
From cool retro credenzas to style-driven sideboards, these IKEA Ivar hacks are sure to inspire your next DIY project - and afford you designer-worthy pieces without the hefty price tag.
IKEA Ivar hacks
1. Make a cool vintage-style floating credenza
This beautiful sideboard is a luxurious living room idea that could easily be passed off for a piece that was picked up from a designer store - which is exactly the look Debbie @trashuresnl (opens in new tab) was going for.
'Inspired by the webbing cabinet from our favorite Dutch brand HK Living, but no money to buy that exact one, we started working on our own version of a rattan cabinet,' she explains.
'We took IKEA's Ivar cabinet as a base, and the major challenge was the cut-out semicircles in the doors. The doors are 16mm thick, of which we milled out 8mm. By using a wide mill we created an edge of about 2cm upon which the webbing could be attached.
'Of course, you can also stick the webbing on the back of the doors, but we had a mission... The cabinet had to look the same, or even better, with half the money.
'To cover up the staples we used rattan to finish the rattan doors. We recessed the doors to give the closet the luxury feeling HK Living is known for, by adding planks all around the existing Ivar body.
'And that's how we saved ourselves a lot of money and the result is impressive, right? The color we used is Drop Cloth from Farrow & Ball.'
2. Create a wooden fluted sideboard for a stylish Scandi theme
Fluted furniture is the way to add a contemporary twist to any room.
Charlotte, of @scandinaviangrey (opens in new tab), created her own with two IKEA Ivar cabinets. She says: 'I used 22 wooden rods per door cabinet, in total 44 pieces per cabinet. I bought the wooden rods in a general hardware store.
'I started by measuring the height of the cabinet and cutting the wooden roods. I used sandpaper on the clipped ends of the rods to smooth them.
'Next step is to attach the quarts rods by using wood glue. As a final step, I used a white pigmented hard wax oil (Osmo Snow) to keep the natural light look.
'I finished with slim black legs, the Hedvig 160 Black, from Pretty Pegs, for an elevated finish.'
3. Fashion a stylish entryway shoe cabinet
'I transformed this IKEA Ivar in to a stylish shoe storage cabinet - and it was super easy!' exclaims Lorna @atthemacs of her clever IKEA storage hack.
'The color I used was B&Q Valsper color matched to Farrow and Ball's Oval Room Blue, and I opted for a matte finish.
'As the Ivar units are made of pine, it's recommended to use a primer before painting unfinished/raw wood, this helps fill in the wood grain and prevent the wood soaking up the paint, giving a smoother finish.
'I used a small foam roller to apply the Leyland acrylic primer undercoat, and I gave it two coats and waited an hour between applying the next coat. I used a fine sanding block from B&Q to lightly sand the unit in between coats and made sure to wipe the surface before painting. I used a medium-sized paint pad to apply the Valsper paint, and I found using the paint pad was very easy, excellent coverage and gave me a smoother finish compared to the foam roller, where you end up with small paint lines.
'I let the unit dry for a few hours, then applied the legs. I chose oblique cone legs for my cabinet to finish it off, and we wall mounted the unit for extra sturdiness and safety around little ones.'
4. Add drama by turning to the dark side
IKEA Sweden actually has a handy blog showing how you can customize its pieces using other products from the store.
Not just how to paint IKEA furniture, but this IKEA Ivar hack blog explains how painting your cabinets the same color as the wall creates a seamless, sleek visual effect. It reads: 'We like to paint ours in the same color as the walls to get a uniform, cleaner style.
'Ivar is ready for painting on delivery, so you do not have to think about sanding or priming the cabinets first. Start by choosing a color that works well on wooden surfaces (we chose the muted shade NCS S6020-B).
'Then measure out where you want to place the handles on the doors (ours are in leather) and drill a hole to attach them to.' These IKEA Osternas leather handles work perfectly to create a cool finish.
5. Introduce rattan doors for a boho feel
'The idea behind my IKEA Ivar hack was to add some softness and texture to the units as otherwise they can look quite large and heavy, especially in a small room,' says Katy Orme of @apartmentapothercary.
'By removing the middle panel with a jigsaw I was able to add some Ariel cane with a staple gun.
'I gave the piece a nice finish by gluing and nailing on a trim to cover the rough edges that I sawed. I painted the cabinet Shaded White and added handles from Dowsing & Reynolds to complete the transformation.'
6. Pair pink and gold for a chic office storage solution
Add a soft, feminine touch to your home office with this pretty IKEA Ivar hack that takes a heavy-looking cabinet and turns it into a thing of beauty.
Becca @renovationliving, says of the makeover: 'I bought the Ivar unit (larger size), and half dowels from B&Q, and cut them to the length of the unit doors.
'I used wood glue and a nail gun to attach the dowels to the doors (then sanded down and filled).
'I primed the whole cabinet, painted it with Lick paint in Pink 03, and then added brass legs from Amazon for a chic finish.'
7. Choose a translucent stain and matte black handles for a modern rustic meets industrial aesthetic
The IKEA blog (opens in new tab) we mentioned earlier also detailed this on-trend makeover of its Ivar units. The wood stain creates a cool aesthetic where the grain peeks through for textural interest, and the black handles add an industrial feel.
The blog reads: 'The classic Ivar cabinets have received a cool revival. Staining with glaze instead of painting with opaque paint means that the beautiful grain of the wood shows through rather than being hidden.
'Install the Ivar cabinet according to the instructions, but wait to hang the doors on
as they are easier to paint lying down separately.
'Place the cabinet on cardboard or newspapers to protect the floor.
'To get the green shade we wanted, we mixed glaze in black and green, half of each color. (Feel free to test stain first, for example on the underside of the cabinet, and let it dry so you can see how the color result will be).
'Now you can start painting, and we found it easiest is to use a wider flat brush. We painted it just the once, so that the wood grain would appear clear, but for a more saturated tone, feel free to stain in two coats, but let it dry in between.
'Finally, we mounted the black simple handles for a modern finish.'
8. Display a sleek rattan sideboard with an ultra-luxe feel
Transform your IKEA Ivar from a plain cabinet to a statement piece with a super-luxe feel with a roll of rattan.
Along with fluting, rattan furniture is de rigueur thanks to its organic, natural texture and aesthetic, which reflects the move towards the calming outside-in trend.
You can create the look with a jigsaw, a roll of rattan, a new lick of paint and the Hedvig Little 160 legs from Pretty Pegs (opens in new tab).
9. Get Nordic but nice nursery furniture with the simple addition of new legs
If you're looking for unique and stylish nursery ideas but you're not a huge DIY fan, this IKEA Ivar hack was made for you.
The cabinets have been used to create Scandi-style storage by leaving them in their untreated form, but adding different legs for a bespoke look.
@lena_living created visual interest by adding the Otto and Sigrid legs in white from Pretty Pegs, which create different silhouettes and a personalized finish to the wardrobe and changing table fashioned with Ivar units.
Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.
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