When you're in need of modular storage, look no further than IKEA's BESTA collection. These versatile cabinets can either sit on your floor or be mounted to the wall, and they come in a whole range of sizes, colors, and finishes for a style that suits your space. Whether you want a plain white frame to act as a TV stand or a more unique DIY design, this flat-pack favorite has limitless opportunities, as proven by this media wall IKEA hack.
Slatwall panels and wooden effect BESTA units turn this wall system into the most calming storage solution we've ever seen. Home renovator and interior designer Anne Elliott (@anne_interiors_) put her DIY skills to the test with this IKEA hack with the aim to maximize space in her Japandi-inspired living room. With some intense planning and her design prowess, this stunning media wall was the finished result. Here, Anne explains the steps involved.
Anne has over 20 years of experience in various fields of design from TV production and retail to visual merchandising, graphics, and events design. Now the owner of Anne Interiors, her designs, whether residential or commercial, have a whimsical and theatrical flair yet are always grounded with practicality and functionality, something she credits to her exposure to the Scandinavian ethos after years of working with IKEA.
Anne was inspired to build her paneled media wall idea when she realized she was in need of extra storage in her living room, having moved in just before Christmas. 'I was very keen to create a radically different solution from the norm,' she explains. 'I wanted to inspire those who are scared to take the leap to be bold in their design choices while advocating that going unique doesn’t have to cost the earth.'
From an aesthetic point of view, Anne wanted a hushed ambiance in her living room with a wabi-sabi-inspired design, but functionality was always at the heart of the project. This hack has offered her ample storage in the form of cabinet doors and drawers with a minimalist and understated design.
As a professional interior designer, Anne used a 3D software called SketchUp Pro to design the layout of her living room, helping her to decide on the exact positioning of her cabinets alongside the swiveling TV bracket, playing around with different IKEA BESTA combinations. Ultimately, she decided on a series of single walnut effect shelving units.
Anne actually assembled and fixed her units to the wall first because she was so desperate for extra storage. She started by cutting a rectangular hole on top of the BESTA unit for her IKEA furniture hack for all the wiring for her wall-mounted TV to pass through.
'A neater way of doing this is to have all the wires chased behind the drywall and then install the slatwall over it with a small hole to access again if needs be,' Anne explains. 'But this is more time-consuming, expensive, and harder to access once in place if you are planning to add or remove gadgets in the future.'
In general though, slatwall is great for media walls as they do a great job of camouflaging wires. 'We had to replace two of the white wires with black ones and used an adhesive-type cable clip to secure the cables in place,' says Anne.
For the next part of her living room DIY project, Anne cut and installed slatwall panels according to size, removing all architraves and skirtings. 'We started with the first IKEA unit on the left-hand side so that we were cutting slatwalls in the exact width rather than cutting corners,' she explains. 'Thankfully the slatwalls were the exact width (23.5 inches) as the IKEA Besta units which made this easier.'
Because all the units were designed to be floating, Anne found it tricky to have them all leveled and aligned to each other, especially in the L-shape, 'but IKEA’s BESTA suspension rail was a huge help, especially when we needed wall studs to support the total weight of the units and its future contents,' she says.
The neutral theme results in a soft feel that's at once minimalist and comforting. 'The main inspiration for our overall scheme is my Filipino roots,' Anne notes. 'I am missing my home country and this is manifesting in my choices of Asian materials in color, tones, and textures. There will be Japandi, wabi-sabi and Scandinavian influences here as I also worked as an IKEA interior designer in the past.'
For a neutral and natural look in your space, these slatwall display panels from Amazon are the way to go. These light-weight panels are easily stackable and are super simple to install. Use them to create a unique design incorporating hooks, shelves, bins or even cabinets, like Anne.
Anne and her husband even used slatwall on their existing door for a hidden effect. To make this as subtle as possible, they installed a thumb door handle for a minimalist look. 'The tip is to choose a matt finish so that it doesn’t catch and reflect light,' she says. 'A longer handle feels more robust, and remember that the depth should fit your fingers for ease of pulling.'
Finally, she painted the adjacent wall with a grey, DIY limewash effect look which offers a beautiful contrast to the neutral slatwall. 'I embraced the living room's small size by designing a combination that further envelops the space, wrapping around two walls, using warm tones and natural materials that create a cozy ambiance,' says Anne.
The project is still a work in progress for Anne, who's keen to add further materials like caning on the BESTA door fronts and a stone mosaic countertop on the low-level units, where she's already attached MDF boards as a foundation. 'I'll be styling the rest of the space with a new corner sofa, area rug, and a double-sided fireplace... but all in good time!'
For hidden hardware and a minimalist look, try these modern thumb handles from Amazon. Made of high quality aluminum alloy, these handles are strong and durable with a polished surface making them the perfect addition to your Scandi-style storage.
Be The First To Know
The Livingetc newsletter is your shortcut to the now and the next in home design. Subscribe today to receive a stunning free 200-page book of the best homes from around the world.
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.
I've Trawled the Wayfair Christmas Decor Section to Find Surprisingly Luxe Festive Pieces - So You Don't Have To
It can feel a bit overwhelming to try and find your faves among all the Wayfair Christmas decor ... but only if you don't have Livingetc to steer your picks
By Brigid Kennedy Published
12 Minimalist Bookshelves - Quietly Understated Design For Calming Decor Schemes
Minimalist bookshelves are key to curating spaces that are filled with your favorite things - but displayed in calming ways. Here's our edit of the 12 best
By Brigid Kennedy Published