10 hacks to elevate the IKEA IVAR from average to freaking awesome

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Do you have an IKEA IVAR cabinet that is in need of some sprucing up? Here are some inspiring ideas for Ikea Ivar hacks that are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

One of the most elegant of the IKEA IVAR hacks is to paint the cabinets the same color as your wall

How to hack the IKEA IVAR Cabinet

In case you’re not familiar, the IVAR cabinets are part of a storage system that Ikea has been producing for over 50 years!

The front doors and main parts of the IVAR are untreated, solid pine, which means it’s ready for all your creative ideas – no need for any major prep. The back panel is just fibreboard.

After you assemble it, it looks like this right out of the box:

Admittedly it’s a bit utilitarian in its raw and original state, but I think the beauty of the IVAR lies in its simplicity.

And of course, it lends itself perfectly to an infinite number of ways that you can customize it.

One of the simpler, yet still very striking ikea ivar hacks - painted stripes and added angled legs!

Below I’ve suggested a bunch of creative ways in which you can improve & switch up your IVAR. Keep in mind that you can totally combine any of the ideas on this list to create your very own shiny and personalized IVAR!

Add Paint

Yep, let’s start with the most obvious and that is of course using paint!

I am a huge fan of painting IKEA furniture, and there are so many creative ways you can transform your IKEA IVAR with paint.

Some of the highest impact paint hacks are:

  • painting the cabinets the same colors as your walls for a fancy blended, tone on tone effect
  • painting the inside a different color from the outside for a surprising pop of color
  • combining paint with the natural finish
  • painting a mural or design across the doors
  • paint the cabinets in different colors to create a color block effect

One of the easiest yet most effective IKEA IVAR hacks? Old fashioned PAINT!

painted ikea ivar cabinets in greige
Swantje Hinrichsen
fun fresh color pop on these painted ivar cabinets
Trend Shock

Add Legs

There are no legs included with the IVAR, but the good news is that you can easily add some.

You can purchase legs from well-known specialized retailers such as Pretty Pegs, or you can shop until you find exactly what is right for you and your vision.

Please make sure to test the stability of your IVAR if you add legs – you may want to consider fixing the cabinet to the wall for extra precaution. You wouldn’t want it tipping over and hurting any kiddos!

mint green ivar cupboards and cabinets - simple and clean ikea ivar hack
@naomidemanana, photo by @kirstenrfrancis

Add knobs or pulls

The IVAR is a simple piece – the true meaning of no-frills. But this means that you can dress him up however you please!

Adding knobs or pulls can be an awesome way to add some character to your IVAR, or a great way to tie the cabinets into your existing decor.

The addition of some kind of handle on the IVAR cabinet door is definitely one of the best IKEA IVAR hacks. Not to mention shockingly easy!

Currently, my favorite look is leather pulls – if you don’t want to buy them, it’s also possible to DIY your own leather pulls – you literally just grab a strip of leather, fold it and drill it into the cabinet door. For full instructions, check out this tutorial.

leather handles were applied to these ivar cabinets that were painted black
IKEA Livet Hemma

Hang it up in a group

As I already mentioned, the IVAR doesn’t come with legs – it’s essentially just a wooden box with doors. It can be placed directly on the ground or it can be hung up.

Placing the IVAR on the ground is fine, but it can become difficult to open the cabinet doors.

Personally, I love the way IVAR looks hung on the wall – it gives an incredibly clean and airy look. If you hang 2 IVAR units side by side on the wall, you have effectively created a floating solid wood credenza for yourself for well under $150.

You can also hang several IVARs to create a floating modular look that looks very contemporary.

floating ivar cabinets in their natural state
painted ivar units hung on the wall to create a contemporary storage system

Stain it darker

If you’ve got other pieces of wood furniture that you’d like to match, you could always stain your IVAR to fit in better with your existing decor.

This is a good option for those that don’t like to paint over wood, but have wood furniture in tones that don’t match the natural light pine color of the original IVAR.

Try staining your IVAR with wood stain to match your other pre-existing furniture

Apply overlays

Transform your IVAR with three-dimensional overlays! There are a zillion different motifs you can buy – check out myoverlays.com for a huge selection of different designs.

If you want to recreate something similar to what A Beautiful Mess did pictured below, you can grab some wooden monstera leaf cutouts here.

wooden monstera cut outs were applied to this ikea ivar cabinet as a beautiful hack to create a bar cart!
A Beautiful Mess

Add a top

Grouping 2 (or more) IVAR cabinets together and adding an additional surface across the top can dramatically change the appearance of this IKEA staple.

You could use marble, granite, any kind of kitchen counter, solid wood, or a butcher block … that’s just off the top of my head right now, but I’m sure there are other materials that could be used as a top as well!

Make sure that the cabinets are able to support the weight of whichever top you choose, especially if you are hanging them on the wall.

beautiful ikea ivar hack, these ivars were transformed into a standing desk via the addition of a pine top laid across the top
Paper & Stitch
ikea ivar hack with a wooden top placed across 4 cabinets (2 ivar units)
Fresh Exchange

Slap on some decals

If you’re a “decally” kinda gal (or guy!), this could be a great IVAR hack for you.

Decals are low commitment hack: usually it’s pretty easy to remove them and they aren’t permanent, they’re easy to apply and they make a big impact visually.

Another alternative would be to use Washi tape.

ikea ivar hack with gold washi tape

Cover in Wallpaper

You could find some really amazing wallpaper and cover the cupboards for a beautiful accent.

Other alternatives you could use besides wallpaper would be:

  • decorative gift wrap (look for heavier weight paper for ease of application)
  • beautiful fabric (nothing too flimsy – think quilting cotton weight)
ikea ivar hack with removable wallpaper
Anne Sage

Ivar cane DIY

Ahh, one of my absolute favorite IKEA IVAR hacks! This is definitely one of my favorite ways to transform the IVAR. 🤩

Jump on the rattan trend and hack your IVAR with some cane!

Usually, the IVAR cabinet doors are modified so that rattan webbing can be stretched and stapled across them.

This type of IVAR transformation does require the use of some basic power tools. But don’t worry, there are several tutorials out there that explain how to do it! If this is the look you truly love, I think you should totally go for it!

Beautiful ivar hack with half moon cut outs and cane inserts
One of the most stunning rattan ikea ivar hacks - paired with minimal gold hardware
Apartment Apothecary
Beautiful cane hack of the ikea ivar, paired with peachy pink paint and oval cut outs
Beautiful cane hack of the ikea ivar
Make it boho

Wondering where to buy rattan & cane webbing online?

There are some great cane options you can purchase at the Online Fabric Store.

Pssst …. if you use Rakuten, you’ll also get some cash back on your purchase. Plus, my Rakuten link will give you $10 for free! 😁 So much saving happeningggggg!

If you were looking for ideas on how to hack your IKEA IVAR, I hope you are now satisfied and inspired! So which way are you going to hack your IVAR? Let me know in the comments!


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  1. Wow, just beautiful! Could I ask what colour you painted the first rattan project pictured (with the semi circle doors) please?