Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ballard-Inspired IKEA Hack

My name is Emily, and I am a storage-a-holic.
It's possible I could have floor-to-ceiling cabinets in every room, closets that go on for days, and I would still be sticking bins and baskets everywhere, bemoaning my lack of storage space.

So, it's not really that surprising that before we had even gotten a quarter of the way through our basement finish, I was already accumulating additional storage options.
Exhibit A, the APA Storage Box from IKEA:

I picked one up during a trip to Minnesota last spring (No IKEA in Iowa.  Boooooo.).
At just $14.99, it's a decent sized storage box.  I figured it would be an easy place to stash toys or books for a quick cleanup.
The only problem.... well, did you look at that picture up there?  Not exactly stylish.
I went over options in my head... I could paint it, sure.... modge podge some cute wrapping paper or wallpaper over the panels... but I just wasn't sure.
Then months ago while perusing through the latest Ballard catalog, it hit me:

The Rowan Storage Collection

(Sorry for the bad picture - these aren't available at Ballard anymore, so I had a tough time finding a picture without scanning my catalog)

Like everything else at IKEA, the boxes come disassembled, which actually worked in my favor.

I took the blond wood pieces, gave them a good sanding, and stained them Minwax's Dark Walnut.
Note: The wood used in most IKEA products is notoriously challenging when it comes to stain, so don't expect perfection.  I gave my pieces 3 coats of stain and they're still rather uneven.  I just embraced it and I'm cool with the slightly mottled look.

I took the white paneled sides, and covered them with this nice linen fabric I found on clearance.
[Note: Iron your fabric first.  You'll be happy you did.]
I just cut the fabric to fit, used spray adhesive on the panels, then wrapped the fabric around, smoothing as I went. 
Once the panels are dry, assemble the box according to directions.  Since the panels on this box slide into pre-cut grooves (you can knid of see them in the photo above), make sure the fabric you use is thin - too thick and it won't slide into the grooves.

When it's all together, it looks like this:
Already I think this is a big improvement from the original look, but it needed something more.
One of the things I liked about the Rowan boxes is the metallic trim on the edges.
The bright brass wouldn't go with my decor, but I really like mixing metals and wood for balance.
I settled on a rubbed antique brass, in the form of some nailhead trim.
I'm happy with how it turned out!

Apparently I'm not the only one 'getting down to brass tacks' lately... I hit 3 different stores and only found enough antique brass tacks to trim this one side.
When the Great Tack Shortage of 2011 subsides, I'm planning to edge the rest of the piece.
For now, we'll call it an "accent wall" :)


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  1. that turned out so cool! what a difference with those nail heads- they make it so chic!

  2. Wow what a difference! I love it!

  3. Great transformation! I also didn't know they sold those storage boxes at Ikea. I'd love to get one and paint it!

  4. What a GREAT idea! Love love love the new look.

  5. I love it! You have a great imagination.
    Such a good idea!

  6. How frustrating, I hope you can find them soon!

  7. GORGEOUS!!!!! SOOOO ballard! I like yours even better!!

    XO, Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  8. That looks great!
    Love the trim!

    The Miller's
    Prezidentail Life

  9. wow! that looks sooo good and the "tack shortage" comment made me spit my iced tea :)

  10. This is fabulous! Probably one of my fave Ikea hacks! I SO wish we had one where I'm from!!! I found you through Release Me Create! New follower! :)

  11. I know I'm a little late to the party, but how did you cover the side square panels? They are already put together and I am worried about frayed fabric edges. Thank you!

    1. Hi Sara!

      I used really good scissors, and measured carefully to cut super straight lines. I used spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the panels and haven't had an issue with fraying. If that's a concern, I would suggest using your finger to swipe a super thin layer of modge podge (or something like that) along the edges to secure. OR, you could always over those edges with a simple trim, like a thin cord or ribbon. Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by! :)