IKEA Kallax hacks: 15 ways to create transformative home storage on a budget

These jaw-dropping IKEA Kallax hacks are guaranteed to inspire an affordable overhaul of your storage solutions

Collage showing three IKEA KALLAX hacks in a kitchen, bedroom and hallway
(Image credit: Jenn @jnn.liu.liu | Rachael @thehouseof_rae | Natalie Park @parkplayhome)

The Kallax hacks you are about to see are so inspiring they should probably come with a warning; almost guaranteed to give you the urge to DIY they might result in impromptu trips to IKEA.

'Hacking' IKEA furniture (aka customizing and improving a piece to better fit the needs of your home) is a popular trend as it offers DIYers a way of elevating their interiors on a budget. The smart IKEA Billy bookcase hacks are a fine example of how transformative these affordable makeovers can be.  

IKEA's popular Kallax series is instantly recognizable and well-known for being both practical and affordable. It’s no coincidence then that Kallax hacks are commonplace, so much so that as well as selling various storage inserts for the Kallax, IKEA even suggests some hacks in the product description on their website. 

IKEA Kallax hacks: 15 ways to improve your home storage for less

They say necessity is the mother of invention and it is clearly the driving force for many of these inventive IKEA Kallax hacks that address common home storage issues in every room, saving their savvy hackers substantial costs in the process. 

1. Arched storage cabinet of dreams

green arched cabinet IKEA kallax hack

(Image credit: Natalie Park @parkplayhome)

Arches are an interior design trend that seems to be here to stay, but there’s no denying that this trendy feature adds a premium to the price of decor and furniture. Unless that is, you turn your hand to an exciting IKEA Kallax hack, as Natalie Park found. 

Natalie is an accomplished IKEA hacker with a penchant for beautiful pieces of furniture who regularly shares inspirational DIY projects on her home interiors-focused Instagram account, @parkplaceabode

Natalie explained transforming her gloss white piece of basic IKEA furniture: “I first unassembled the unit, scuff sanded all the surfaces, and used a shellac-based primer. I used high-quality cabinet paint and painted it all a beautiful rich green color before reassembling it.” Natalie then replaced the top piece with solid wood as a base to attach the arch. 

Then, to create the arch, Natalie “bent 3/4" plywood by making a ton of cuts on one side only that went about 80% of the way through and a steamer to soften up the wood fibres. I clamped it over the semi-circle form I made with 3/4" MDF and 1x2 inner support pieces and secured the bent plywood with brad nails and screws. I also made the arched doors with 3/4" MDF and ribbed plexiglass. I filled all the holes and seams with Bondo and sanded it smooth before doing the final painting.”

Natalie shares her thoughts about the results: “This isn't the easiest hack, but I would do it all over again to get this gorgeous arched cabinet for a fraction of the cost of the ones out there. Can you even believe this is an Ikea Kallax unit?"

2. Kitchen island Kallax hack

IKEA Kallax hack kitchen island with monochrome bar stools in modern kitchen

(Image credit: Jill @Jillyshumblehome)

When it comes to kitchen storage ideas, a stylish kitchen island is one of the best, but they can be large and expensive, so aren’t a fit for every home. DIYer Jill of the popular home Instagram account @jillyshumblehome found the perfect solution with this IKEA Kallax hack that scores points for style and functionality. 

Jill installed her Kallax unit on a sturdy base using adjustable legs and MDF. The DIY pro added shaker-style paneling to the side of the unit and had the top professionally wrapped with a marble effect. "I had planned this in my head for weeks, but the most important tip I can give is to draw and plan it on paper. I had my measurements all written down."

"The other tip would be to ensure the overhang of the island top allows enough room for your chairs to sit under and for when you are sitting on the chairs, your legs don’t bump the island base", Jill advises. This is one of those Kallax hacks that can save you a fortune and make a kitchen look expensive at the same time. 

Clearly happy with the results, Jill confirms, "We spend far more time sitting at the island than we did at the table. I think it just feels more like a sociable space. Of course, the extra storage has come in handy, too." It's also worth noting that kitchen islands are a much-loved interior design feature that can help add value to a home.

Marble Sticky Back Plastic at Amazon | £5.99:

Marble Sticky Back Plastic at Amazon | £5.99: Transform your Kallax furniture surface with the help of this simple self-adhesive marble-effect wrap.

3. Thoughtful under-stairs storage

Pink under-stairs storage IKEA Kallax hack

(Image credit: Bethan Juliff @shiftabrick)

Under-stairs storage is tricky; the shape is difficult to fill without inadvertently creating lots of dead space. Talented DIYer and designer Bethan Juliff sourced the perfect solution in the form of an IKEA Kallax hack, perfectly painted in pink.

The under-stairs area in question is located in Bethan’s daughter’s bedroom, and the end result of this super project would be a dream for many little girls. Bethan explains how she created this money-saving and aesthetically pleasing DIY: “This is three separate units, the two shelves were removed from the left unit to create hanging space."

"They were all sanded and painted Farrow and Ball Sulking Room Pink (one of our favourite pink paint colours) to match the walls ceiling and floor. They have pre-made under-stairs units in IKEA, but we found we could make better use of the space by getting individual Kallax.” So, as you can see, not all IKEA Kallax hacks must be over-engineered to succeed; sometimes, simplicity is the key. 

4. Creative credenza Kallax hack

White glossy panelled console IKEA Kallax hack

(Image credit: Golda Fadzean @prettytwinkledesign)

Golda Fadzean, an interior designer and decorator at Pretty Twinkle Design, needed a clutter-hiding storage solution for her entryway but didn’t want to pay the $2500 price tag for the credenza she had her eye on. Instead, she designed this creative IKEA Kallax hack.

"We use plywood to build the two doors and half-round moldings to create the details on the doors," explains Golda. "I went to IKEA and got the white Kallax and also picked up the large brass hardware for the doors there." Golda estimates the project cost $175, a considerable saving compared to a bespoke cabinet. This type of project is also an easy way to make a living room look expensive on a budget.

Golda recommends Kallax hacks to others looking to save money on their interiors, saying: "It's so rewarding to walk in my house now and not see clutter as I enter the door."

5. Home office hack complete with room divider

light bright home office with storage cube room divider

(Image credit: Jessica Welling @jessicawellinginteriors)

When working from home it's imperative to feel productive and organized, meaning clutter is not a welcome accessory. When interior designer and DIY expert Jessica Welling of Jessica Welling Interiors gave her home office a makeover, she had the brilliant idea of using an IKEA Kallax unit as a room divider with plenty of storage. 

This IKEA Kallax hack is clever because it zones the space, provides lots of storage, one of those home office essentials we must just have, and doesn’t block the light thanks to the open compartments.

In her design, Jessica thoughtfully used the Kallax alongside an IKEA Linnmon desk, which, as she explains, "is designed to work with the Kallax bookshelf- so the top of the desk lines up with the third shelf", a nice touch that adds to the considered feel of this office space championing Kallax hacks. 

6. Brilliant bar cart Kallax hack

white cube storage bar cart with castors and gold detailing on top to make an IKEA kallax hack

(Image credit: Ashley Rose @sugarandcloth)

A stylish bar cart would once have been considered a luxury item, but not anymore, and Houston-based blogger, DIY, and decor expert Ashley Rose, the creative force behind the Sugar and Cloth blog, is who we should thank. The best bit about Ashley’s inspiring bar cart IKEA Kallax hack is that it’s simple to recreate. 

You’ll need brass pulls for the top and castors fitted to the base for mobility. Aside from being a great way to make your home look expensive on a budget, Kallax hacks can make the perfect accessory for entertaining guests; anyone for a cocktail?!   

Heavy Duty Braked 50mm Rubber Swivel Castor Wheels at Amazon | £9.49/$11.96

Heavy Duty Braked 50mm Rubber Swivel Castor Wheels at Amazon | £9.49/$11.96: Transform your IKEA Kallax storage unit into a moveable trolley in no time with the addition of this simple set of wheels. 

7. Wall cabinet Kallax hack

country style utility room with pink wall cabinets and gingham skirted under-counter curtains

(Image credit: Louise Hart @houseonthehey)

This is one of those IKEA Kallax hacks that is so good you might struggle to spot it. Believe it or not, behind those gorgeous pink cabinet doors is a wall-mounted Kallax storage unit being used as an organized kitchen cabinet…yes, really. 

Talented designer Louise Hart, aka @houseonthehey, is the creative behind this inspirational project. Louise’s kitchen is packed full of crafty and stylish storage hacks, so it fits right in. 

To recreate this dusky pink delight, you’ll need MDF to make the doors and kitchen cabinet paint, hinges, and handles to finish them. Louise paired her homemade shaker-style cabinets with a pink gingham skirted curtain to hide the under-counter washing machine and tumble dryer. 

8. Unique upholstered cube seating

stripey upholstered cube seating ikea kallax hack

(Image credit: Victoria Kader @va_va_room)

Victoria Kader is a creative and resourceful DIYer and experienced home renovator who shares the progress of the exciting projects she completes on her Instagram account @Va_va_room. It’s Victoria’s genius cube seating IKEA Kallax hack that we are looking at next and it’s one of the most creative IKEA Kallax hacks you’re likely to see. 

To create these brilliant cube seats, Victoria covered her IKEA KALLAX units in wadding and foam before making a fabric cover in a stylish stripey design. These upholstered cubes make the perfect addition to any room and solve the age-old issue of occasional seating for when you have visitors but don’t want lots of bulky furniture cluttering up your living space. 

This project is simple but effective and will save you a fortune compared to buying new seats. 

9. Playroom toy storage hack

Bright toy storage with yellow hairpin legs in a colourful playroom

(Image credit: Heather Craig @heatherscolourfulhome)

Toy storage is essential when you have kids or visiting grandkids, but there isn’t an ugly plastic container to be found in Heather Craig’s beautiful playroom. Heather is the creative force behind the Instagram account @heatherscolourfulhome, where she shares her maximalist interiors and love of color. 

Like the rest of Heather’s home, the playroom is bursting with joyful color-infused design, and this simple yet effective IKEA Kallax hack is a focal point. You’ll need brightly colored hairpin legs for this hack which elevate the Kallax unit in all senses of the word. Heather styled the unit with colorful storage inserts and added color-coordinated books for the finishing touch. 

Reflecting on the project’s success, Heather shared, "I also love how it means I can store baskets underneath. In a smaller room, raising furniture off the ground can make the room feel more spacious. It’s a win all around."

10. Hallway storage Kallax hack

green hallway cube storage units and bench with hanging hooks

(Image credit: Charlotte Lake @lifewiththelittlelakes)

The entrance or hallway of a house can be problematic, often the hardest area to navigate when decluttering a home. By design, they are often narrow and can feel cramped and crowded when filled with shoes and coats. Bespoke built-in furniture will undoubtedly help the situation but can be prohibitively expensive for many. But not when there's an IKEA Kallax hack to solve the problem.

Charlotte Lake and her DIY-savvy husband, the creatives behind the Instagram account @lifewiththelittlelakes, devised a brilliant plan to solve their hallway storage woes.

This hack requires two Kallax units, one tall upstanding unit, and a smaller perpendicular unit topped with wood to create a seating bench with built-in storage. The Kallax units have been painted in a calming sage green – a great paint color idea for hallways. 

On the wall, matching tongue and groove wall paneling forms the hanging section of this mini boot room area and a high-level rustic wooden shelf completes the look.  

11. Money-saving apothecary cabinet

IKEA KALLAX unit transformed into a dark wood apothecary-style cabinet

(Image credit: Glenda Chavez)

Glenda Chavez, a self-taught DIYer, knew she wanted an apothecary cabinet for her newly made-over office, "I love the look and design of apothecary cabinets but the price tag for a brand new one was out of the question and vintage or antique were still quite pricey. So I opted to use an IKEA Kallax instead," she shares.

Of all the IKEA furniture available, a Kallax unit wouldn’t be the most obvious choice for this project, but Glenda had a genius plan. "I simply cut out 2 'doors' from plywood, used a router to create the faux drawers, and added legs made from 2x2s," Glenda explains. "I created the look for a fraction of the cost and customized it to my liking, not to mention I still had all the storage I needed for my office supplies."

This project, which Glenda has shared on YouTube as a step-by-step guide, is such a creative transformation and further proof that your imagination really is the only limiting factor with Kallax hacks.  

12. Beautiful boot room

bootroom IKEA kallax hack

(Image credit: Rachael @thehouseof_rae)

I have yet to find a boot room I don’t like, they are (usually) a great use of space and most homes would benefit from the addition of functional yet stylish storage. Be warned, this IKEA Kallax hack boot room is so inspiring that it might make you want to buy a new pair of wellies and some outdoor wear.

The creator behind this brilliant hack is Rachael, who shares the progress of her beautiful 1930s home renovation project on her Instagram account @thehouseof_rae

Rachel’s IKEA hack boot room is a triumph and saved her a small fortune compared to the cost of bespoke carpentry. She cleverly combined IKEA Pax units for the built-in cupboards and Kallax units for the brilliant storage bench; they work so well together and provide ample concealed storage for a clean and decluttered look. Rachel finished the space beautifully by adding floor tiles, tongue and groove panelling and a handy shelf for styling decorative ornaments to complete her vision. 

13. Creative drawer unit hack

while sideboard console unit IKEA Kallax hack with gold handles

(Image credit: Patty @pattymacmakes)

Creative lifestyle blogger Patty of the Instagram account @Pattymacmakes designed this hack to provide organizational storage for her sewing space. Of all our Kallax hacks, this is one of the simpler in terms of DIY, but it shows that simple really can be effective, and the results are on point. 

Patty added legs to her Kallax unit and opted for drawer inserts from IKEA, replacing the hardware with a more luxe-looking drawer pull. The outcome was a bespoke-looking storage unit oozing with style. 

Reflecting on her IKEA Kallax hack, which she shares on her PattyMac Makes blog, Patty says, "I am still so surprised by how much I love this simple, inexpensive furniture. It has helped me to clean up my space tremendously and given me beautiful, functional furniture. Think of Kallax as vanilla ice cream and add your own style of feet and drawer pulls as the fudge sauce and sprinkles."

14. Bar storage complete with rattan doors

cane door fronted IKEA kallax bar cart

(Image credit: Jenn @jnn.liu.liu)

Anyone who says IKEA Kallax hacks can’t be sophisticated hasn’t seen this masterpiece, the handiwork of seriously talented DIYer and furniture flipper Jenn, the creative talent behind the popular Instagram account @jnn.liu.liu

Jenn explained how she transformed the humble IKEA Kallax unit into this stylish piece. “I flipped an IKEA Kallax into a functional, aesthetic bar by first adding a rattan door to give it a more boho-chic feel and I added wooden legs to give it a less bulky look.” 

Here’s a top tip for those looking to recreate this stylish IKEA Kallax hack, “Remember to soak your rattan in warm water for about 20 minutes to soften it up before stapling it to the wooden door. This makes it more pliable and easier to work with,” Jenn shares. 

15. Tool-free toddler wardrobe hack

toddler clothes stored in white cube storage in boho style nursery

(Image credit: April @aprilannee)

Toddler wardrobes are a nice addition to a child’s nursery, but kids grow fast, so buying an expensive one might not always be practical. Content creator April, who shares her projects on Instagram at @aprilannee found the perfect way to customize her IKEA Kallax unit with pressure rods and rustic storage baskets and, in doing so, created a stylish IKEA Kallax hack. 

When asked about her DIY project, April told w&h: "This is a Montessori-inspired toddler wardrobe hack using my old Ikea Kallax shelf unit. It’s a budget-friendly version that requires no drill but only creativity," and creative Kallax hacks always get our vote.  

Stylist's top tips for IKEA Kallax hacks

As you can see our clever Kallax hackers have demonstrated that every room in the house has something to gain from an imaginative IKEA hack. Although unique, the projects in our round-up of hacks have some things in common; here’s what we learned…

  • Add legs for height or mobility: We’ve seen adjustable cabinet legs, hairpin legs, and even castors added to Kallax units. These additions turn the unit from a basic flatpack to stylish storage with extra height and style too.
  • Paint for an elevated look: The Kallax series comes in a range of colors, but nothing says bespoke like a lick of paint. Painting the unit the same color as your walls can aid the ‘built-in’ look. Alternatively, opt for an accent color to help your project pop.
  • Welcome the light: The open compartment structure of this cube storage allows light through whilst still providing storage and zoning a space, this can be an advantage when organizing small spaces.
  • Create clutter-concealing storage with doors or drawers: Kallax units are strong and their cube-filled structure lends itself to the addition of doors or drawers. Not only do doors or drawers provide capacity for concealed storage, which is great for a more streamlined look, but they are also easily customized or accessorized further improving the look of your snazzy new furniture.  
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!