Five Ways to Take IKEA Furniture From Boring to Beautiful

If you're on a tight budget when it comes to furnishing your home, IKEA is likely one of the first resources that comes to mind, right? They've rightly gained a solid reputation for having pieces that are both stylish and affordable, but there's one problem...everyone has the same pieces. If you've ever spent any time at this giant warehouse of a store, you start to be able to spot an IKEA piece from a mile away. While this isn't exactly a life-threatening issue, I do think that seeing the same IKEA furniture over and over can get a little bit tiresome.

Enter: the IKEA hack. This phrase has become a buzzword all over the blog and design world and it's a fantastic way to make your IKEA furniture not look like everyone else's. It's a way bring custom-looking furniture into your home at a fraction of the price. I've done a few of these hacks myself (see my Expedit makeover and semi-custom shelves for examples) and I'm sure there will be more in my future.

Today I wanted to show you five ways you can transform an IKEA piece and make it look custom. These five ideas range from super simple (even someone with no DIY skills can do it) to a little bit challenging (you might need a power tool or two), so there's something for everyone. I'll use the ubiquitous TARVA drawer chest to show you how many ways there are to take a boring piece and make it beautiful.

The TARVA is a great example because it's a solid wood piece (no particle board or hollow core here!), making it really versatile to hack. You'll see why in the examples below!


Changing knobs and pulls is something anyone can do for a modest price and it automatically changes the look of a piece. This is by far the easiest and lowest commitment change you can make. Many of the examples below also involve other changes, but check out those knobs!

{Centsational Girl}
{The World According to Jessica Claire}
{Cherished Bliss}


Painting or staining a piece of furniture certainly takes time and effort, but it's another simple way to customize the TARVA. Combine paint with new knobs and you'll have a beautiful piece in no time.

{Smitten Studio}
{By Stephanie Lynn}
{Chris Loves Julia}


O'verlays is a brilliant company that makes, yep, overlays that are made to fit on select IKEA pieces to give them a custom look. They involve no saws, no tricky cuts and no intricate math problems. Hooray! They have an immediate impact on the piece's style.

{My Pretty Little House}
{Sarah and Ben}

4 | LEGS

Changing the legs on the TARVA probably involves a bit of DIY skill, but I think this, plus paint and knobs, may be the ultimate way to turn a boring piece into a custom one. Because the shape of the TARVA is a very standard box with drawers, the legs can turn the piece into anything from mid-century to farmhouse to industrial. You can even add casters!

{Smitten Studio}

{City Farmhouse}
{Design Sponge}

5 | TOP

Lastly, another DIY opportunity comes in the form of changing the top. It was harder to find examples of this, but in my mind, there are all sorts of ways you could do this! Staining the top and painting the rest a different color is certainly an option, but how about a faux marble top, or even a metal one?

{My Bella Bug}
{Classy and Fabulous}
Do you have other ideas for how to customize these pieces? Let me know in the comments!

Happy IKEA hacking, friends!

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I replaced the top drawer with a shelf. With a beautiful color and knobs, I'm totally in love with my Tarva. You can have a look here (sorry, my blog is in french): http://kellyaetfabien.fr/?p=1244

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