I’ll readily admit that I have a love hate relationship with Ikea… I mean you walk through their showrooms and feel like you are in Scandinavian paradise, get all excited marking your “to buy” list with your miniature pencil (what is up with those by the way), then reality starts to set in when you are in the self serve area trying to wrangle a ten thousand pound box onto your cart. From there things can start to go downhill quickly when you realize that this fancy particleboard doesn’t look nearly as good at home as it did in the store!
However, I have learned.
I have learned that Ikea furniture always looks better if there is more than one piece of it grouped together.
I have learned that there is always a way to change it and make it your own.
I have learned that you can get an Ikea stock room guy to help you load your car by a teeny amount of flirting and the promise of 5 bucks.
What? Anyways– regarding changing the pieces to suit you, let me tell you about my latest project. I was in desperate need of shoe storage as I knew that my shoes were most definitely not going to fit in the ONE closet in the apartment. So, I thought of the Ikea Billy bookcases. These bookcases are great actually, very basic and clean lined. These also fall into the category of the more you have grouped together the better they look.
I’ve even seen people fake the built-in look with these bookcases by filling up a wall with them and adding molding at the top and bottom. But I digress.
They are only about 11 inches deep, perfect for my narrow entry hall space. They aren’t deep enough for sneakers or mens shoes but all of my other shoes fit just right. The major issue that I had was that there was no way I wanted to be able to see all my shoes every time I went into the kitchen or came in the front door, despite how much I love them! Billy does come with a couple of door options but the only one that wasn’t clear glass or plastic had a metal like frame around the exterior, which wasn’t great looking. I settled on the glass doors, with the clear glass fronts that has a wood surround. My idea was to back the glass with fabric and after a bit of doing I was very happy with the results!
Here is what it looked like without anything done:
I ordered about 4 yards of burlap, inexpensive and I just love the look at it. I first cut the burlap into pieces approximately the size of the glass door fronts, adding a few inches all the way around just to make sure that I wasn’t short. The next step was to tape up plastic sheeting to protect the bookcase contents. YES, it would have been easier to do this while they were still empty, thank you very much! I used spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the glass, spraying it as even as possible on the back of the door front and then pressing the burlap piece over the glass, starting at the top and smoothing as you go down the door. It IS repositionable but I would recommend that you don’t lift up the fabric and try and re-adhere it alot. Spray adhesive is very tacky and doing that could start to make it look messy. Fair warning- you will be cleaning spray adhesive residue off of any nearby surfaces for a while! If you are trying this and there is any way for you to do outside, do it!
So, after repeating the process until all the doors were done, I let it sit for a while (ok a few days!) until totally dry and then went over with a rotary cutter to cut off the interior excess fabric.
So much better right!?
The last thing to do was to change out the door handles. Always consider doing this! It can make a huge difference.
Check out the prefab handles that came with the doors:
Not great looking plus I always felt like I was grabbing a little nub of some sort. I found alot of great knobs that I loved but they were all too big to fit these- it’s actually only about an inch and half across the trim piece that the handles attach to. BUT THEN- Anthropologie came thru for me… check it out…
It feels like “real” furniture now…
A few more things regarding Ikea pieces, consider getting a top custom cut to fit your dresser, coffee table, etc. It could be marble, stainless, granite, anything really. Think about two Malm dressers side by side with a continuous piece of marble or large marble tiles across the top. Beautiful! Also, check out Ikea Hacker and Ikea Fans.