11 inspired IKEA IVAR hacks to transform home storage on a budget

From perfect pantry storage to DIY bar cabinets, there are IKEA IVAR hacks for every room in the home

Compilation of IKEA Ivar hacks to show how to transform furniture for every room
(Image credit: Paul Anstell @percy_and_albert | Samantha Potter @SignedSamantha | Maja @majasimply)

The possibilities are endless when it comes to inspirational IKEA IVAR hacks because the range is a versatile modular storage system, including shelving, cabinets, and more. 

The variety of products within the range provides an extensive potential for creative IKEA hackers to put their stamp on this Swedish flat-pack furniture – good news for those looking to be inspired.

IKEA IVAR hacks might not be as well known as the IKEA BILLY bookcase hacks or IKEA Kallax hacks, but they might just solve all your home storage complaints. The IVAR range is reasonably priced, readily available, and made of real wood, so it is more solid than the common particle board variants on offer. 

These features make the IKEA IVAR extremely hackable, and by that, we mean they are prime for upgrading and revamping to suit your exact requirements. 

IKEA IVAR hacks: 11 money-saving projects

From home office storage to DIY bar carts, we've found IKEA IVAR hack for all types of houses and for every room. If you can think of a home-storage problem, there's a good chance we found just the thing to solve it. 

Without further ado, here’s our round-up of 11 genius IKEA IVAR hacks; curated to save you time and effort. Start scrolling and get ready to be inspired.  

1. Stylish home office with custom storage

Stylish home office with built-in cabinets and rustic wood desktop

(Image credit: Samantha Potter @signedsamantha)

Our first project is an IKEA desk hack and comes from Samantha, founder of the lifestyle blog Signed Samantha, who is, in her own words, “a mama of one who’s obsessed with adding character to my modern build”. 

To complete this most brilliant of IKEA IVAR hacks, Samantha built a base for the IKEA IVAR cabinets to sit on, built the flatpack units, added shaker-style paneling around the edges of the doors, painted them and swapped out the handles for some super stylish knobs. 

Samantha knew that the devil is in the detail, so spent time filling in the gaps between the newly transformed cabinets and added a rustic DIY desktop to complete the seriously expensive look. Detailed instructions can be found on Samantha’s blog. 

2. The perfect pantry complete with hanging rails

rustic country style kitchen pantry with hanging rails demonstrating an impressive IKEA IVAR hack

(Image credit: Shelley Banders @shelleybanders)

Interior designer and writer Shelley Banders seriously upgraded her IKEA IVAR storage system and transformed it into a rustic organized pantry of dreams for her gorgeous home. 

The key elements of Shelley’s brilliant hack are the stain she used to give the rustic glow, the handy hanging rails she added, and her beautiful styling of the final results. Shelley shared the following brilliant tips with w&h to help anyone hoping to create their own version, “Try to purchase and stain all the IVAR components in one go, as there can be variation in color if you wait between stock batches or allow the pieces to weather or age in your shed (like I accidentally did for a few pieces)."

Shelley used Cabot brand stain in the shade ‘Walnut’ and confirm that, “It's a better outcome to stain each piece individually before assembling,” and that it’s “ Best to do in summer as you can do it outside in the fresh air and the stain dries quickly”. 

Kitchen storage ideas, especially the stylish kind, can be expensive, so this is a great project for those looking to improve their home on a budget. 

3. Creative cocktail cabinet complete with reeded texture and gold leaf

pink reeded cocktail cabinet with gold leaf detail

(Image credit: Paul Anstell @percy_and_albert)

IKEA IVAR cabinets are known for being a simple and modest storage solution which is the opposite of how you would describe this beautiful, statement home bar. A luxurious combo of pink reeded texture, gold legs, in-built lighting, and gold leaf, this is probably the most extravagant of our IKEA IVAR hacks and exudes go big or go home energy and we are here for it. 

The designer of this bold beauty is Paul Anstell, a professional furniture flipper and founder of Percy and Albert Interiors

Paul shares the detailed steps for this creative project on his blog, but the key points were to prime and paint the IVAR cabinet and fill in any shelf support holes that weren’t required.

Paul applied gold leaf to the backing board for a super luxe look before assembling the units and adding wood moulding to the door fronts to create the reeded texture. Paul chose to add gold legs to the unit's base for extra height and a further touch of glamour and the results are a triumph.  

A bar cart of this caliber is a sure way to make a living room expensive on a budget.

4. Luxe-look fluted storage cabinet

White fluted storage cabinet with textured detailing showcasing an inspirational IKEA IVAR hack

(Image credit: Erin Costa @houseofdutton)

Textured furniture is a great way to add interest and depth to an interior scheme, and although it’s been around for a while, happily, it’s an interior design trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

 Bespoke furniture with fluted texture on the door fronts can be expensive, but when it comes to IKEA IVAR hacks, there’s always a nifty DIY alternative to the big ticket items. 

Interiors content creator Erin Costa aka the designer behind the inspiring home account @houseofdutton came up with her own nifty DIY to save money without sacrificing style.

“The high-end fluted cabinet I originally wanted was not only much more expensive but a bigger size. I needed something that could fit in my upstairs landing that both aesthetically fit with my style but had functional storage abilities. This was my first DIY furniture piece and If I can do it, anyone can” Erin shares. 

Erin’s DIY involved the following achievable but impactful steps, “We used the IKEA IVAR cabinet. I added trim moulding from Home Depot to the cabinet with wood glue and a nail gun. Filled in the holes with putty and sanded smooth."

"I painted the cabinets with Behr Palais White flat paint,” she says of the best white paint color. For the final touches, this is Erin’s advice. “I added IKEA STUBBARP legs and painted them to match. I bought inexpensive black pull hardware from Amazon to complete the look.”

5. Stylish jewel-toned sideboard with stripes

pink and teal coloured cabinet with one door open and gold striped detailing

(Image credit: Paul Anstell @percy_and_albert)

You’d be forgiven for doubting that this beautifully painted, bespoke-looking storage cabinet, complete with hairpin legs and LED lighting, was really an IKEA IVAR hack as it looks so high-end, but it’s true. 

This stylish sideboard is the handiwork of talented upcycler Paul Anstell again. Paul is a pro hacker and loves “trying to make nondescript pieces of furniture into something that 'pack a punch” something he is very good at as you can see. 

Paul primed the IVAR storage unit with a shellac primer before painting with stunning shades of fusion mineral paint. Paul explains how he created the gold stripes, “I used masking tape to create a chevron design and painted it gold. Once dry I removed the masking tape. Tip: before applying the gold paint seal the tape using the original paint color first so you don’t get any bleed”. 

Paul added gold hairpin legs and glass racks before completing the project by adding a motion-activated, USB rechargeable light, ensuring that anyone who opens the cabinet can see the full glory of Paul’s handiwork. 

6. Handy storage towel ladder

bathroom with a wooden towel storage ladder showing an alternative IKEA IVAR hack

(Image credit: Deborah Stubbington @bangonstyle)

The next of our top IKEA IVAR hacks was created by Deborah Stubbington aka @bangonstyle and it’s such a good idea for those looking to increase their bathroom storage and hanging space.  Deborah is a pro DIYer, upcycler, and second-hand shopper who knows a thing or two about low-budget, high-style room makeovers. 

Deborah explains what attracted her to the IKEA IVAR range when planning this hack, “I spotted the Ivar side unit and thought what great potential it had for a ladder. It can be painted up any color to match an existing color scheme and thanks to its slimline shape it’s perfect for smaller spaces and at only £13 it’s a bargain budget DIY."

Deborah added hanging pegs for maximum functionality and painted the sides in an attractive neutral hue to complement the decor in her bathroom. The great thing about IKEA IVAR hacks is they can be adapted to suit the needs of your home, so would-be hackers could opt for a paint shade to suit their interior color palette.

7. Media console of dreams

black media console with arched cabinet doors and cane detailing

(Image credit: Tori Mohn @torimohnflips)

An arched TV console cabinet with cane-detail doors and bags of hidden storage would be high on anyone’s wishlist, but furniture flipper and all-round upcycling genius Tori Mohn Aka @Torimohnflips knew she could do better than just wishing, “I had been fawning over a Lulu and Georgia media console that was out of my price range, so I decided I would try my hand at building it,” she says. 

Buoyed by the success of this project, Tori shared her upcycling plans for the future, “It was so rewarding – my favorite DIY to date. I love to challenge myself, and I’m on the hunt to continue to make more beautiful, affordable dupes and encourage others to try too.” 

To recreate this most creative of IKEA IVAR hacks, you’ll need to mark and cut out arches in the doors, paint the Ivar unit in your chosen hue, drill holes for door knobs, cut cane webbing, paint and attach to the back of the door so it fills the shape you cut out earlier. Finally, you’ll need to attach some door knobs and style up your finished piece. For a detailed step-by-step, visit Tori’s Instagram. 

8. The perfect children’s bedroom storage

minimalist neutral storage in child's bedroom

(Image credit: Maja @majasimply)

This is one of those IKEA IVAR hacks that makes you want to reach for your paintbrush. The result is a minimalist and monochromatic Scandi-inspired masterpiece that would look at home in the catalog of a designer furniture brand. This hack was completed by seriously stylish digital creator Maja, aka @majasimply

This hack exemplifies that you don’t always need all the bells and whistles to create a showstopping piece; sometimes, pared-back designs with a reduced color palette can be stunningly simple. 

To recreate this hack, prime and paint your IKEA IVAR storage cabinets and add a simple top piece. You could also fill in any gaps at the side, between the unit and the wall, to create a full built-in look. 

9. Bespoke sideboard with bobbins

pink wooden storage cabinet with bobbin detailing

(Image credit: Gem @beech.tree.cottage)

Creative home renovator Gem is the talented content creator behind the popular Instagram account @beech.tree.cottage and she’s also the genius who designed the next in our list of top IKEA IVAR hacks. 

Adding bobbin detailing is a great way to transform a basic piece of furniture. You’ll have probably seen bobbin-edged mirrors, but have you seen bobbin detailing on storage doors? If not, you’re in for a treat with this project. 

Gem explained the reasons behind this hack to w&h, “My style in the cottage is a combination of old and new.  Although I love original bobbin furniture, my budget wasn’t high enough to buy original pieces.  Therefore for this project, I wanted to create something reasonably priced with the same timeless character,” she shared. 

This DIY project is a simple one, making it ideal for novices. All you need to do is source your bobbins and IKEA IVAR cabinet, position the bobbins and glue them into place. Once glued, paint the bobbins and door and allow them to dry.  

10. Sassy sideboard with stripes

pink and white striped cabinets with legs in front of a blue wall

(Image credit: Sandra Baker @the_idle_hands)

Sandra Baker, the talented interior stylist, writer, and content creator behind the popular interiors blog and Instagram account @the_idle_hands, designed this brilliant hack to transform her basic IVAR storage cabinets into a pair of bespoke-looking beauties. 

The transformative power of paint is well documented, but projects like this demonstrate what a powerful tool it can be, especially when used on an IKEA hack giving budget-savvy DIYers even more bang for their buck. 

To recreate the stripiest of our top IKEA IVAR hacks, you’ll need to prime and paint the units before measuring and marking out your striped pattern. Next, apply painter’s tape (we recommend using Frog Tape if you can for the best quality finish) at the desired intervals before painting the gaps in your chosen hue of one of the latest color trends

Remove the tape carefully to reveal perfect stripes and attach the legs to the unit’s base to complete the transformation. 

11. Stenciled toy storage

play room with painted wooden storage cabinet

(Image credit: Leia Plumb @henry.andhome)

Playroom storage doesn’t need to be boring and predominantly plastic, instead, IKEA IVAR hacks could be the answer you didn’t know you were looking for. 

This stylish playroom featured belongs to content creator and interior expert Leia Plumb, aka @henry.andhome. Here’s Leia’s advice for how she transformed this budget IKEA storage unit into a bespoke-looking beauty, “Personalising the IVAR unit was so simple, more so with using pre-made furniture stencils, which for the up-cycling novice like me, was a game changer!”. 

Those keen to replicate Leia’s success should follow these steps, “Simply position your stencils over the unit, and simply paint over,” she says, “I used a tester pot to make it super affordable and the decals I purchased were from a small business I discovered on Instagram -  @austinandmonkey. Before the final coat drys, unpeel the stencils to reveal your design”, Leia continues.

Leia is really happy with the results of her project, “The overall look is so effective and eye-catching. It really is a centerpiece in my son’s playspace,” and we couldn’t agree more. 

Top tips for successful IKEA IVAR hacks

As we have seen, you really can transform every room in your home with an IKEA IVAR hack and as we saw previously with IKEA BESTA hacks and IKEA closet hacks there were a few common themes which, if done correctly, will guarantee a fantastic transformation of your basic IKEA flatpack furniture.

  • Add paint to blend the furniture into your room or make it really pop.
  • Add legs for extra height and to help the storage cabinet command more attention
  • Don’t forget to continue your makeover on the inside of the storage cabinet for maximum impact.
  • Adding texture to a basic IKEA piece can really elevate the finished piece. We saw fluting, bobbins and half dowel rods in the above round-up - all winning looks.
Claire Douglas

Claire is a DIY and home interior writer specializing in budget room transformations, creative DIY projects, and resourceful home styling. Claire runs the popular home interiors blog ClaireDouglasStyling and shares all her DIY tips, tricks, and behind-the-scenes styling insights on her Instagram and Tiktok accounts. When she's not writing, Claire enjoys foraging for flowers and foliage and experimenting with interesting materials and decorating techniques to incorporate into future interior schemes; micro cement and postal tubes were a recent unusual but triumphant pairing. In her spare time, Claire enjoys creating floral installations for her home...the more bonkers the better!