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IKEA Ivar Media Center Hack

I absolutely love IKEA’s Ivar line. 1) It’s unstained wood so it’s a blank canvas for however you want to design it. 2) You buy the parts a la cart so there’s no formula for how you have to design your system making it totally customizable. 3) It’s affordable.

I sound like I’m sponsored by IKEA. Nope, just love what they make.

A few years ago we were looking for a shelf system for our living room. We purchased the Ivar system, I painted it white, and made it into this for our living room:


But over the years, I┬árealized we didn’t need a ton of shelf storage in our living room because we have an office and a playroom. Couple that with children who can rip things off the bottom shelves, and a lot of the shelves on this system in our living room ended up empty. I was finally fed up with all the wasted space that could be used elsewhere, so I disassembled the shelving part of our Ivar and decided to create a giant media cabinet for our living room with just the cabinets.

And here’s how it turned out (full living room tour here):

ikea-ivar-hack-1Now, the cabinet space is being completely utilized to house all of our dvds, game systems, cds, and other random electronics. And I moved the shelf part to the playroom where it’s now toy-storage central (I’ll share in a post soon), being used to its fullest potential.

The cabinets come as unfinished wood. When we first bought them I painted the cabinets white and I’ve actually kept them the same for a few years.


(Image from IKEA.com)


The first thing I did was I turned the three cabinets upside down and mounted them together on the bottom with mending plates. Then I stained and screwed in the legs.


Separately, I sanded and stained a 2x12x8 ft board to become the top of the media center. I wanted a dark stain to contrast against the white to so I chose Jacobean by Minwax. It’s also the same color I stained the legs.


After the stain dried I applied several coats of semi-gloss polyurethane to seal the stain and protect the wood. Then I mounted the wood to the top of the cabinet, screwing it in from the underside inside of the cabinets.


I found that it wasn’t too sturdy on its own, especially being so narrow (the cabinets are 11″ deep) and standing on mid-century peg legs. So I needed to mount it into a stud to keep it from tipping forward.


I simply found the stud in the wall, cut a hole in the back of the cabinet and mounted an L-bracket under the top of the cabinet. Then I screwed the other end into the wall where the stud is located. Boom. It’s sturdy.


I wanted knobs to make it easier to open the doors so I made them all different and quirky just because.


And there you go! An IKEA Ivar hack!


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