What is an Ikea Hack?

I started this site to bring together all the wonderful Ikea hack ideas I was seeing in places like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

I also wanted to have a place to show my own Ikea hacks eventually (when I get over my perfectionism of photographing them properly!).

But I was thinking the other day, does everyone really know what an Ikea hack is? Perhaps some people are coming here not knowing what they are actually going to find.

So I decided to write a little guide about what exactly an Ikea hack is.


Now, everyone might have a very different opinion on this, but if I can give my own definition for what qualifies as an Ikea hack here then that becomes my own selection criteria for this site.

Firstly, what is a hack? Well, there are many traditional definitions for the word ‘hack’. For example, it could be chopping down plants or trees in a rough way or it could be a slang term for a reporter or it could be gaining unauthorised access to a computer or system.

The way ‘hack’ is used in terms of Ikea hacks is quite a new form of the word. Originally used in the term ‘life hacks’ it was referring to finding creative, unique solutions to problems in life.

Ikea furniture has always been re-imagined in creative and unique ways without being called Ikea hacks.

There is no way of telling where the term was first used, but looking at Google Trends it seems that it was being used in the early 2000’s.

Going back to one of the traditional definitions of ‘hack’: chopping down something in a rough way, the term ‘Ikea hack’ could partly have come about with this in mind.

You could take a piece of Ikea furniture and ‘hack’ it into your desired shape of furniture to create something unique.

Some Ikea hacks do involve cutting bits off, re-sizing and re-shaping. There are many others that simply involve adding bits (paint, legs, handles, etc) and others that don’t change anything about the Ikea product itself, but use it in a way that it wasn’t originally meant to.

So I feel there needs to be a new definition of ‘Ikea hack’. One that can take into account all the variations of wonderfully creative ways people turn Ikea products into something they prefer.

I also feel that uniqueness is not essential. If you want to use someone else’s idea to hack a piece of Ikea furniture then you’re still ‘doing an Ikea hack’.

So, for me, and therefore this site:

An Ikea hack is a creative way of changing the appearance, function or use of an Ikea product to solve a need or problem, or just for the sake of being creative!

This leaves things very open, but manages to exclude simply using a piece of Ikea furniture straight out of the box for it’s intended use.

With this definition, it is an Ikea hack if you:

  • Paint a Kallax shelf a different colour and still use it as a shelf.
  • Hang a Bekvam spice rack up in the toilet as a toilet roll holder.
  • Use a Fladis basket as a lampshade.
  • Transform a Pax wardrobe into a built-in, custom walk-in wardrobe.

They all have varying levels of difficulty and varying levels of what it looks like compared to the original product. But they are all essentially Ikea hacks.

We don’t discriminate between how much of a hack it really is.

We just like to see people getting creative and solving problems.

So why don’t you get stuck in, take that old Knagglig box out of the loft and create something you’re proud of with it.

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