11 Super-Smart IKEA Storage and Decorating Hacks for Your Kitchen

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

We love a good IKEA hack, particularly in the kitchen, where a little change can make a big difference to the look and feel of the space. From island storage to glamorous pot rails, here are 11 of our favorite projects.

1. Upgrade a kitchen cart.

You might never have guessed that this fancy kitchen cart came from IKEA. Meg from Oliver and Rust gave the $60 BEKVAM kitchen cart a makeover, inspired by the look of a Williams Sonoma one she loved but couldn’t afford. A few coats of paint, a towel bar, and a marble top have transformed this humble cart into something seriously high-end.

2. Turn a shelving unit into a rolling kitchen island.

This rolling kitchen island from Club Crafted is made from a KALLAX shelf — and is the perfect way to add a dining space (or a little extra workspace) to a small kitchen.

3. Turn bed slats into wall storage.

From Ich Designer, this is a clever project that turns a set of slats intended for supporting a mattress into a wall-hung storage catch-all.

4. Use a dresser as a kitchen island.

This DIY from Redbook shows how to turn an IKEA dresser into a hardworking kitchen island. The wheels make it especially perfect for a smaller kitchen, where it can be rolled into place when extra prep space is needed and rolled out of the way the rest of the time.

5. Upgrade some shelf brackets.

In this photo from Houzz, IKEA shelf brackets + gold spray paint + live-edge lumber = some really striking open shelves. (These are in a pottery studio, but they would be just as nice in a kitchen.)

6. Use magazine files to hold foil and more.

Apartment Apothecary has a series of ideas for updating her kitchen. This hack is very simple, but it is a hack in the true sense of the word in that it shows an IKEA piece being used for a totally different purpose than the one intended. Here, a magazine file mounted to the inside of a cabinet provides a perfect spot for longer boxes like the ones aluminum foil and cling wrap come in — particularly useful if your kitchen is short on drawers.

7. Dress up a utensil rail.

Kimberly from Swoon Worthy added a touch of glam to her GRUNDTAL utensil rail with a coat of spray paint.

8. Turn a stool into a learning tower.

If you have little ones who love to help in the kitchen, this IKEA hack from Happy Grey Lucky might come in handy. Sina made these “learning towers” from a BEKVAM stool and a little bit of plywood. Now her kids have a safe place to perch while working at the countertop.

9. Put small storage cabinets wherever you can.

The folks at The Fresh Exchange had a kitchen-adjacent wall that wasn’t doing much of anything, so they turned it into a storage mecca with some wall shelves (mounted with IKEA brackets) and a wall-hung credenza (made from two IVAR cabinets). This is a great solution for a smaller kitchen that could use a little extra storage.

10. Glam up some boring stools.

These shiny barstools from Melodrama began life as the all-black DALFRED, and got a glamorous update, thanks to some gold spray paint. DIYer Krys even painted the hardware for a particularly cohesive look.

11. Add some doors to open shelving.

From IKEA Hackers comes another great idea for additional storage in a small kitchen: an EXPEDIT (or KALLAX) outfitted with doors in contrasting tones. It’s a nice compromise between hidden storage and completely open shelving, allowing you to display some treasured pieces (and wine bottles) while hiding less attractive ones.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Storage & Style Upgrades: Super Smart IKEA Hacks for Your Kitchen