This might be outing myself as prehistoric, but my first encounter with Ikea was before the age of the cell phone, in France. Back in the day, like, before they even had Ikea stores over here in the United States. “No wonder everyone’s apartments look so much better over in Europe,” I remember thinking to myself, somewhat wistfully.
Well times have changed, and these days there’s an Ikea near just about any major US city you can think of, and a lot of smaller ones too! Everybody shops there, from the budget minded college students to the design obsessed McMansion dwellers, and everybody’s house, (or apartment, or garden) looks the better for it.
And now, there is even an ingenious sub culture of creative folks talking matters into their own hands. Sure, they love Ikea, but they want it on their own terms. These “Ikea Hackers” (a phrase coined by the brilliant blog of the same name that chronicles these projects) will take apart those dining chairs you were getting sick of and reassemble them into design museum-worthy furniture.
Simple or complex, these reworkings of the off-the-shelf housewares have truly elevated the concept of reuse. Why recycle when upcycling is so much fun? For inspiration, we scanned the web and found some true strokes of genius out there. Here are our faves:
A Feeding Table For Twins
Cut a couple of holes in an Ikea dining table, stick in two replacement seats from an infant activity table and you’re all set. Then sit back, relax and watch this video of Jared, from The Workman’s blog, feeding his twins. There’s even space at the table for the parents to dine, if they so choose.
Dishing Up A Planter
Over that wooden dish rack? Looking to move on? Instead of throwing it in the trash heap, turn it on it’s side, hang it up and voila! a beautiful wooden plant stand. Hats off to Silvia Vasquez from Spain for figuring this out – it’s beauty lies in both the finished product and it’s simplicity.
A Table For Legos
This one is so easy, it almost feels like cheating. Adrianna, a crafty mom from Southern California, just used Earthquake Putty to attach a Lego base plate to the top of an Ikea Lack sidetable they had laying around. Then she hung two tin buckets from small hooks she’d attached to the bottom, filled them with Legos and thrilled her son with his new playstation. Get step by step instructions here.
High Style Spring Back Chair
Now in the interest of full disclosure, Andrew Riiska is a furniture designer. So he has a bit of an edge over your average Joe in the transforming-your-Ikea-stuff department. But just look at what he did with two hand-me-down Ikea dining chairs he had laying around, plus the seats from some old banker’s chairs with broken legs that were destined for the junk pile.
Suped Up Office Chair
What better way to spiff yourself up than with a new suit? Especially a cool custom one made out of… vintage dutch postage bags, of course. OK so maybe the USPS swag isn’t as cool, but if you just read what Denise Witjas has to say about how she re-covered her chair, you’ll realize that the only thing standing between you and a chair that feels brand new is a bit of fabric and a staple gun.
Storage, Storage, Storage
It’s time to kick the monster out from under your bed and replace it with some elegant storage solutions a la Jill, from Sydney. Using, of course, the Expedit shelves from Ikea. It’s another brilliant-in-it’s-simplicity moment: Just put together two bookcases, space them apart, lay the slats on top and you have yourself a fancy new bed frame with built-in storage.
Spa Bath Mat
Allison Hepworth hails from Austin, Texas [ground zero for thinking outside of the box – see our posts on the Art Yards and shopping South Congress Avenue-Eds.] so it is no surprise that she came up with this idea for transforming Ikea’s outdoor decking into a spa style bath mat. The decking comes in a set of nine tiles, so simply clip six of them together and saw off the extra tabs. Check out House of Hepworths for a more detailed how-to.