Even if you've never heard of the IKEA BESTA, chances are you have seen one. The simple design of this sideboard staple makes it a popular addition to many a living room, bedroom, and entryway - and this custom built-in project shows its limitless potential as a bespoke furniture piece, too.
With the help of some MDF, a bit of molding detail and brand-new custom hardware, this IKEA hack adds a touch of traditional character and charm to this living room, as well as a clever storage solution. This project is the handy work of home renovator Fiona White (@ourstaffordshiresanctuary) who shares her ongoing DIY home improvements over on Instagram. Here, she shares how she carried out the elegant makeover of her BESTA storage.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A personal fan of the Scandi-inspired interior, her job entails keeping up with everything there is to know about the Swedish powerhouse IKEA. Paired with her insight into the latest home renovation projects, she regularly shares IKEA hacks with readers to inspire their own DIY projects in home design.
Fiona of @ourstaffordshiresanctuary was always dedicated to transform her home into the ultimate sanctuary for her and her family - and with a young daughter, that also meant clever storage solutions.
'Our living room never felt very "put-together",' she explains. 'I'm a big fan of white walls but for some reason I couldn't tie this room together. It was also home to an ever-growing array of brightly colored kids' toys which we needed better storage for.'
Noticing the potential of the alcoves on either side of the fireplace, Fi decided to maximize space with some bespoke fitted furniture as her storage idea.
'I wanted both alcoves to have the same built-ins to give the room some symmetry, but as they were relatively wide the cost for a joiner or other alternative was going to work out quite high,' she explains. 'We already owned one of the BESTA units and so decided to give it a go ourselves with an IKEA hack.'
How to turn a BESTA unit into a built-in
Before she could begin, Fi needed to buy another double-fronted BESTA unit to go in the other alcove. She chose white for a neutral canvas, but they come in a whole host of colors and combinations.
After some careful planning and meticulous measuring, she was ready to start ordering supplies. 'We built a base for the unit at the same height as our skirting,' Fiona explains. 'Then we ordered a thick piece of MDF cut to size to make the tabletop.'
It was then a case of cutting more MDF to fit the gaps that weren't covered either side of the unit. To keep her living room DIY project simple, Fi decided against making these bookends into accessible storage. 'We could have made better use of the space and had extra storage but with relatively limited DIY skills at this point, we decided it was best to keep it simple,' she says.
What really makes this sideboard blend into Fiona's home so seamlessly is the trim. The decorative molding on the front of the cabinets and baseboards gives the storage a classic paneled effect that's timelessly elegant. 'After adding molding and skirting, we caulked all the gaps and then primed and painted using the same color as the walls.'
Black brassware for the cabinet handles makes the perfect finishing touch for this understated look. It's the perfect spot to house books, lamps, photos and other decorative items, but we love how one of Fiona's sideboards doubles up as a TV stand.
Not only did she find this IKEA built-in hack the most budget-friendly alternative to professional bespoke furnishings, but it helped Fi realize her creative potential as well. 'This DIY project gave us more confidence and skills than before, and we've actually just ordered some wardrobes for our next IKEA hack,' she explains. Stay tuned and we might just feature that one, too.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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