Perfecting Your Living Space with Ikea Hacks

It’s Not Like Those Instructions Made That Much Sense in the First Place…

An Ikea illuminated at night.

A tenant recently introduced us to a staggeringly clever website: Ikea Hackers. This is the kind of thing that every tenant with even a hint of DIY in their bones should be aware of. The projects on this website are (mostly) rental-friendly in that they don’t involve making any ‘hard’ modifications to the home — everything you IkeaHack can be taken with you when you leave. But they’re also tenant-friendly in that they can turn a close-to-ideal space into exactly the kind of thing you want.

Here are a few of our favorites:

A Pretty and Functional Shoe Storage Wall
By taking nine of Ikea’s ‘Trone’ shoe boxes and setting them up with a couple of ‘Lack’ shelves on top, you can create this rather stunning storage solution. Set up right inside whatever door you come in the most, it can give you a perfect place to throw your shoes so you don’t track muck inside — and the little ‘mantle’ on top is just the right place to keep your keys, garage door opener, and so on.

A Thin Slide-Out Storage Cabinet
Ikea’s ‘Laiva’ bookshelf is only 9 1/2? deep, and less than 4? wide. Build a box of painted pressboard around it and install a pair of industrial-strength drawer rollers, and you can turn it into this slide-out utility closet. It’s thin enough to fit on almost any wall without meaningfully impacting the size of a room — or even to fit in a crack between major appliances or other elements in your kitchen — and it’s roomy enough to be useful for a huge number of storage purposes.

A Captain Bed Just Right for You
Captain beds are incredibly useful when you’re living in an even moderately small space — and this one can be easily modified to fit any size of mattress you happen to have on hand. The ‘Stuva’ unit that the bed is based on comes in several variations, from 1-drawer to 3-drawer to cabinet-front and beyond, so you can customize this concept in a huge number of ways and end up with just the right storage for your needs.

A Beautiful Entertainment Center that Converts Into a Play Table
Sounds hard to believe, but this really is an amazing transformation. Two ‘Expedit’ bookshelves and some hardware create a black wall-to-wall cabinet that sits under the TV…but can be pulled out and folded in half to expose a bunch of toys ‘hidden’ in the back and create a space for those toys to be played with on.

A Clever Way to Read in Bed
By combining the same ‘Lack’ shelves as in the first entry above with a pair of modified ‘Forsa’ work lamps, this ingenious hack gives you a good-looking place to put decorations over the head of your bed and also the light you need to be able to comfortably read at night, even if you don’t have space for a proper nightstand.

There’s nothing about living in a rental that says you can’t DIY the perfect space — just be able to take it with you when you leave! IkeaHackers and similar sites are a great place for inspiration. Just, do please clean up the sawdust when it’s all said and done.