Ah, IKEA. Who among us hasn't succumbed to its temptations? Those lovely, clean, and contemporary designs? Those charmingly fun-to-say Scandinavian names, and the cafe meatballs with lingonberry sauce? And, most seductive of all, those impossible prices? Don't get us wrong, we love IKEA, for all of those reasons and more, but sometimes we get their stuff home and it just looks so, you know… IKEAish.
Enter IKEA hacks, a sprawling, thriving online community of DIYers dedicated to modifying and/or repurposing IKEA products large and small into something new, different, better, unique. There are ideas and plans and inspirational before-and-after photographs of IKEA hacks all over the internet–some simple, most do-able, some as impossible as those prices–with new ones popping up all the time, but here's a look at a few good recent posts and ongoing IKEA hacks sites that, if nothing else, prove that the creativity and ingenuity of people is boundless, and welcome.
The grandaddy of all IKEA hack-dedicated sources is IKEA Hackers (note: NOT IKEA hacker, singular, a spammy, search-engine-bait site), which has been up and running for an astonishing five years and counting. Founded and continuously maintained by the ever-enthusiastic "Jules" (not her real name), IKEAHackers.com contrains literally hundreds of posts in the archives, most submitted by readers/hackers from all over the world. Dive in and you'll find the likes of a PAX wardrobe-turned-funky room divider/bookshelf; a BJURSTA dining table-turned-highchair for twins; an EXPEDIT shelf-turned-ceiling lamp; KEE KLAMP and LACK hardware-turned-floating bathroom shelves; an EKBY VALTER bracket-turned iPad stand (this one costs all of $3!). There are so many good ideas here–often, of course, of the space-saving variety–but the best place to start is probably Jules's list of her favorite IKEA hacks, from the "easy-peasy" ones to the far trickier "bring-it-on"'s.
There are plenty of other sites that are thick with IKEA hacks as well. The excellent Apartment Therapy, no surprise, has plenty of posts on the subject, including how to easily reupholster a PAONG chair; using the LOGGA coat rack for "vertical shoe storage" (especially nice for the front hallway of shoe-optional apartments); and a great trick for adding some color and style to a BILLY bookcase. And the folks at Instructables.com have more than a few good IKEA hacks as well, though often of the power-tool-needing variety. Still: we love the GORM shelving unit as a bookshelf/bench, and the LANSA handle combined with GRUNDTAL kitchen hooks to make a simple coat rack.