How to Customize IKEA Furniture and Save Money

One of the reasons that IKEA is so popular is that IKEA’s great designs are SO versatile. Take the billy bookcases, these are really just basic bookcases with clean lines. But there are so many ways you can use them and they are easy on your bank account.

There are a few IKEA classics like the Pax wardrobes and Kallax units that can be customized either by you, as a DIY project, or by professional services that are in the business of customizing IKEA items.

Ikea Media wall using kitchen cabinets

You can see my custom IKEA project here using kitchen cabinets. It was the perfect solution for my living room. I want to give you some ideas for how you can use IKEA as a base to build upon. There are so many social media influencers that have shared their easy IKEA hacks. These are a few of my favorites and some you can even BUY.

Custom Doors/Drawers for IKEA

The most expensive and quickest way to customize IKEA is to buy custom cabinet fronts, drawer fronts and overlays. There are several notable third-party companies like

With Semihandmade you can order doors, drawers and panels that replace the kitchen Sektion doors and drawers. When you buy custom, you DON’T order the doors from IKEA. You can simply upload your kitchen plan and design a custom door. They also make doors for the Besta series.

Lux Hax has custom stickers that you can apply to IKEA pieces to give them a dimensional custom look. The stickers are paintable. They make designs for the Besta, Kallax, Malm and Hemmnes. You can get dimensional stickers for different sized IKEA products (3 drawers, 2 drawers, etc).

Myoverlays is another maker of overlays for cabinet doors. They make overlays that can be used on a Kallax unit, a Hemnes Unit, Billy and Besta.

myoverlays for IKEA furniture

You can buy custom decals that are removable. This ETSY seller, StickersColoray, has all different styles of decals for Kallax and Malm. Adding the texture gives the classics a more modern look.

decals for IKEA furniture

HomeArtStickers sells decals and overlay panels. This arched overlay comes in six different finishes. No one would guess this is an IKEA piece of furniture, and it’s an easy way to get stylish storage space.

arched door front overlay for ikea

Customize Legs and Handles

One way to make an IKEA piece look unique is to swap out the furniture legs and handles for more a unique piece. Pretty Pegs is a company that sells both custom legs and handles.

pretty pegs custom IKEA legs

HomeSuppliers is an ETSY seller that has really unique legs for IKEA pieces. You can choose the finish (brass, black, gold, bronze, etc) and height.

leather pulls for IKeA

Rowzek is an ETSY seller that makes unique handles and pulls. They have a collection of leather pulls in every color and size that can be used for dressers, wardrobes and cabinets.

There are so many more if you go to ETSY and search the phrase “IKEA furniture legs” or “IKEA furniture handles” you won’t believe how many choices there are.

DIY Options for Customizing IKEA

Pinterest is the best way to find DIY ideas for specific pieces of IKEA that you’d like to customize. You can also just search for “IKEA hackers” on Pinterest. This works even better if you put in the name of piece you want to hack, like Billy hack or MALM hack.

I’ve shared my two favorites below so you can see what’s possible by piece.

Best Hemnes dresser Hacks

Best Kallax hacks – These are the cubes.

  • This Kallax is dressed up using a combination of legs, knobs and baskets (but not the IKEA ones).
  • The Pink Dream’s tutorial is a great option to add glamour using overlays.

Best Billy Hacks

  • This is a simple addition of doors to a Billy with cane in the doors from House of Hawkes. It gives the bookcase such a fresh look.
  • An oldie but a goodie from Design Sponge, where they added arches to the top of the Billy bookcase

Greatest Besta Hacks (instead of Best Besta)

  • This painted Besta is unrecognizable in this color. Painting IKEA is not an easy hack because you can’t just paint over most of the pieces, you HAVE to use a shellac primer first. More on that below.
  • This floating Besta has custom knobs and custom fronts and side panels for a next-level entry.

Painting IKEA Furniture

Painting IKEA is not an easy hack because you can’t just paint over most of the pieces. Most IKEA furniture has a laminate finish vs wood. Before you can paint laminate you have to rough it up to give the primer something to stick to. You should also use a shellac based non-water soluble primer.

Watch this video for a great IKEA painting tutorial.

Painting IKEA furniture takes lots of time and it must be done outside or in a well-ventilated place. But considering the cost of the furniture, your time can be well worth it if you you have DIY skills.

If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at updating an IKEA piece into your own style, try one of these hacks. It will give your old furniture a completely new look.

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One Comment

  1. Andrea, this is an amazing post. I want to share it on my Saturday Meanderings. Such great tips and who knew you could get painted stickers! Love it!

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