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Thursday, 23 August, 2012 Ikea Hack

This is my first-ever Ikea “hack” – accomplished with only basic hand tools and a lot of trial and error.

It isn’t the most impressive or complicated project, but I’m hoping it will be useful to someone out there for brainstorming or ideas. I didn’t plan this hack out; it sort of evolved and I made a few errors of judgment that ended up costing me – mostly in the money department, but also in terms of time.


I moved about a year ago from a one-bedroom apartment to a shared house. And while I dearly love my new bedroom, it presented some substantial challenges in terms of furnishing and storage.  There is not one clear wall in the whole room – it has 3 doors and two windows and a radiator.

Once I’d figured out the placement for my bed & bookshelves (the main pieces of furniture for the room),  I still wanted: a headboard,  more storage, and a charging station. I had this ancient Billy (?) Ikea bookcase, I’d inherited from my sister a few years ago.

Here’s the famous bookcase “before” – I used it as a bedside table/dresser in my old apartment.

Even though I was satisfied with the general placement of my bed and bookshelves in my new bedroom, the spot I chose for the bed had a downside: the radiator forced a gap of about a foot between the wall and the head of the bed. I wanted a headboard or something to fill the gap and to lean against while reading etc, in bed.  Also, I had an overflow of books and some other homeless items that I wanted to store. Initially, I solved both problems by elevating my old Ikea bookcase and putting it behind my bed. I bought Vika Amon legs for the purpose, but couldn’t screw them into the particle board underside of the shelf without a drill, so instead I attached them to an Ekby Tryggve wall shelf and placed the bookshelf on that. (Lifting the bookcase onto the shelf was a two-person job. The result was a little wobbly as well.) Unfortunately I have no pictures of this stage.

In the end, I didn’t like how the bookcase fit in the space between the window and the corner and I didn’t really care for the visual of “there’s a bookcase behind my bed,” either, and the result wasn’t really stable enough to lean against.

So, I decided to turn the bookshelf on its side, buy some smaller shelves and use them to form “cubbies” (that would look a little less uniform and less like a conventional bookcase) and cover up the bottom shelf with something I could lean against.

Not having any power tools, I decided to support the “cubby” shelves using the existing shelves and improvised rails. I measured precisely the spaces between the shelves as the were, and then bought shelves in those exact lengths – one small white Billy extra shelf, and two 8″ shelves from Amazon*.

I bought a length of 1×2″ from Home Depot and they cut it in the store into the lengths I needed for rails. I spray painted (not the best decision, either) the rails white and nailed them into the frame of the bookcase at the heights I wanted.

The rails are not very attractive

The cardboard back of the bookcase was a bit warped and pulling away from the frame. I decided to take advantage of the damage to run power cords for my soon-to-be-charging station in to the bookcase through the gap.

Laptop cord (horizontal) and extension cord (diagonal) running in through the back panel and behind one of the original shelves/supports

Here’s the Billy bookcase on its side with cubbies (and ledges*) & power cords set up.

With legs and charging stations set up

Now I needed a way to attach the pillows to the bottom portion of my new headboard. I tried some makeshift arrangements using the pillow ties, but they were unsatisfactory. In the end I decided on using the same method I’d used to hang up an earring holding ribbon.

Ribbon attached to rail of (a different) bookcase with Command strips.

I put up Command picture hangers (the kind that are kind of like velcro) on each of the uprights and frame of the bookcase/headboard.

Command strips on the frame and supports

(Re)measured the distances between supports and attached Command strips to a length of wide gross grain ribbon at appropriate distances.

Test hanging of the ribbon to make sure the strips lined up

Then I basted the pillows to the ribbon.

Pillows on ribbon. The ties show that I dyed the pillows – but they can be tucked neatly away behind the ribbon

Basting up close

And attached the ribbon with the pillows on it to the headboard.

Pillows attached


It’s not a perfect setup – I think I may have to replace/reinstall Command strips, but it hides the clutter and gives me a spot to lean against.

And done!

Side view: the gap is closed

Full length

(Clutter can be accessed by lifting the pillows.)

Lastly a completely gratuitous beauty shot of my room. (If you look closely, you can see it was taken before I came up with the ribbon solution.)


*This would be where the trial and error really kicked in. I took me several tries to get the  smaller, 8″, shelves – first I bought some really overpriced picture ledges from Amazon, that turned out to be too shallow to be useful as shelves. Then when I went to buy more shelves at Ikea, I meant to buy a glass insert shelf just under 8″ wide (that Ikea apparently doesn’t sell anymore), but accidentally (because the stack was sitting over the label of the shelves I wanted to buy, and I stupidly didn’t check labels) bought the same shelf in just under 7″ wide.  So I gave up and bought two expensive (but not as overpriced as the ones from Home Depot) 8″ shelves on Amazon.


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Friday, 4 November, 2011 Still recycling

… these “good things.” But recycling is good, right?

Daisies on blue -from my old place/garden

This picture is 100% brought to you by the amazing camera my brother bought me, not by any photography talent of mine.  Also by the friend who insisted that I not call the daisies above “useless” (but, they only bloom once a year! And they were supposed to come in a variety of colors!) and insisted that I keep them alive.