Five ways to style the IKEA KALLAX – get creative with the flatpack minimalist icon

From a boutique home bar to a bespoke statement piece, nothing showcases stylish versatility quite like KALLAX

IKEA KALLAX transformed into a home bar
(Image credit: Jennifer Osias / @jennosias)

With its simple yet ever-so-chic aesthetic, it is unsurprising that the legendary KALLAX holds a place amongst the list of the most beloved IKEA staples. 

This Scandi-cool shelving system is an enduring feature in the most stylish of interiors – whether it is accessorized with plants (Jared Leto, we're looking at you) or used as a blank canvas for an IKEA HACK

The wonderful KALLAX is durable, ever-changing, and always stylish – but it can still be hard to know where to begin when armed with a fresh flatpack. Or, at least it was hard, until now. Here are our five favorite ways to style the KALLAX. 

1. KALLAX as a stylish cellar  

IKEA KALLAX underneath staircase

(Image credit: Liesa Maier / @liesa_maier)

Yes, this storage staple just made the cellar chic. If you're missing a built-in cellar, follow Liesa Maier's lead and fit a KALLAX underneath your stairs to create a stand-in cellar space. 'We don't have a cellar, and we need storage space. The KALLAX shelf is just the thing for that,' Liesa says. 

Liesa chose a white KALLAX to maintain the neutral tones of her broader scheme and chose softly-hued storage baskets and minimalist accessories to complete the Nordic aesthetic. 

2. KALLAX as a home bar  

IKEA KALLAX home bar with statue and art books

(Image credit: Jennifer Osias / @jennosias)

Who knew the twenty-first-century speakeasy could come from a flatpack? Jennifer Osias certainly did. Jennifer accentuated her storage system to create a sophisticated drinks display – complete with a statement sculpture and curated collection of art books. 

'I like the functionality of the Kallax but wanted to give it a more elevated and modern look. I've always wanted to try a fluted look and was inspired by a media console from West Elm,' Jennifer begins, whilst sharing her modern home decor ideas.  

'I added a stem hanger to hold my glasses. I created the large textured art piece to mimic the fluted detail on the Kallax and paired it with a black torso sculpture to help anchor the entire area. I used my plant and the bowl of fruit to add a pop of color to the otherwise neutral look.' 

Jennifer then added the statuette as a talking point amongst guests when she entertains guests. If Jay Gatsby had a KALLAX, we're fairly sure it would look like this. 

3. KALLAX for your WFH backdrop

IKEA KALLAX in an orange painted office

(Image credit: Daniella Keating / @freshlypressedhome)

The last year has seen an unsurprising emphasis on home office design, as video call backdrops remain at the forefront of our minds. Though, associates of Daniella Keating will already know that a dull or disorganized setting is the least of her worries – thanks to her KALLAX. 

'I absolutely love KALLAX units and knew I had to have one for our office,' Daniella shares. 'I went for black and used some of the rattan effect boxes for storage. I've styled it up with my favorite accessories and, of course, all of the plants. It's so handy for storing away crafting bits and bobs and office supplies.'

4. KALLAX in a subtly chic nursery  

IKEA KALLAX in a child's bedroom

(Image credit: Anna Blomqvist / @by.anna.b)

Perhaps one of the most beautiful ways to style your KALLAX is by taking inspiration from Anna Blomqvist, who renovated her unit to give it a fairytale aura in her daughter's bedroom. 

Though, in all its beauty, this unit is no less practical, as Anna explains: 'I have styled it with legs from New Swedish Design, so it is easier to clean the floor under the shelf – plus I like how the design changed with them.'

'The baskets are for my daughter's toys, and behind the doors, there are books – perfect storage for the kid's room,' she adds. 

5. KALLAX as a statement piece 

IKEA KALLAX with gold handles in a green painted room

(Image credit: Gemma Cronnie / @thegemdrewhouse)

The most bespoke furnishings are those that are exclusively your own. To create a focal point with your KALLAX, follow Gemma Cronnie's design and style your unit with gold features to create a luxe piece that would not look displaced in a boutique hotel. 

'I styled my KALLAX with drawer knobs and legs in gold to add a sense of luxe,' Gemma shares. 'Plus, the legs elevate it from the floor, creating a sense of more space in the room.'

These are the interior design ideas this timeless icon deserves. 

If you need us, we'll be at IKEA.  

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.