IKEA hacking. It sounds vaguely foreign, slightly illegal and even a little futuristic. In reality, it's something a lot of people do all the time. We buy an inexpensive piece of IKEA furniture, bring it home and doctor it up to our specifications.
This can be as simple as a new coat of paint, or as complicated as wiring a coffee table to turn it into a receptacle for a TV. Either way, IKEA-hacking is a hot hobby - hot enough to have inspired a dedicated website (www.ikeahacker.blogspot.com) and lots of online discussion.
My favorite IKEA hacks are the purely decorative (and relatively simple) ones, from dressing up a bedside table to repurposing plate racks as a storage container.
Here are some fantastic, simple and relatively inexpensive ways to make IKEA work for you (click on the descriptions for links to instructions):
1. Anthropologie-inspired bedside table.
This table, which was inspired by an over $500 Anthropologie nightstand, cost less than $100, plus a visit to Home Depot, to create. The secret is in creating a facade made of decorative trim, and adding fancy hardware and a coat of paint.
2. Dressed-up Rast bedside table.
With this table, too, paint and hardware transform a simple piece of IKEA furniture into something elegant.
3. Bastis + Jarpen cat bed.
IKEA-hackers seem to be cat people. There are a ton of great ideas for creating cool cat environments out of simple, inexpensive IKEA pieces.
4. Kitchen island-cum-bathroom vanity.
This project might require some serious equipment (and a plumber) but this kitchen island makes a terrific bathroom vanity.
5. Traby bookcase windowseats.
IKEA bookshelves are good for more than just storing old textbooks. Turned on its side, with some pillows added, this shelf makes a great windowseat.
6. Plate rack shelving.
Plate racks can do so much more than store dishes. They also make fantastic storage.
7. Expedit shelves with extra pretty.
Sometimes, a hack is as simple as wrapping a gift. These shelves are made beautiful with just a little decorative paper.
8. Lack shelving becomes a bench.
Like many IKEA bookcases, these shelves are just as useful on their sides as standing tall.
9. Fabric + creativity = art.
With a little creativity, everything is fodder for art. Little scraps of fabric create beautiful wall designs.
Add your own tips in the comments, or take the discussion over to the buzz board – each month, the best design tip or story (related to this or any other home design project) will win a $50 gift card to a one of several home design stores (more details here
). August's contest ends August 31st. Good luck!