Inside: A review of the Ikea Kallax unit, plus details on how we hacked it to work in the nursery and as playroom storage.
It wouldn’t be a month without a good Ikea hack post, now would it? We have been doing a bit of switching furniture in the house and the biggest change we made this week was moving this Kallax unit into the playroom.
You might recall that it used to live in the nursery. For the past two years, it has been an absolute work horse for us and it was the perfect storage unit to have in an infant’s room. When you are changing diapers and feeding babies at all hours of the night, you don’t even want to have the obstacle of opening drawers 🙂 The cubbies were just the ticket.
But now that we are into the ‘toddler’ years, we figured the cubby system worked better in the playroom. So we swapped our bright pink credenza with the Kallax unit and it’s been the best decision ever.
In case you need a reminder, this was our unit BEFORE. Full disclosure, when we bought it, it was called an Expedit. Since then Ikea relaunched the product and the top and bottom shelves are a bit thinner. That’s when it became known as the Kallax. It’s essentially the exact same thing.
How we hacked the Kallax
This was honestly the simplest hack of all time. We bought pine boards to fit the length of our unit. We ended up with four 1x8s for the long ends of the shelf.
We’ve had a few questions about the size of the boards and yes – there is about a 1 3/4″ overhang. But that is the side of the boards that sits against the wall so a) you don’t see it or notice it and b) it made for a bigger surface area, which was great with the baby.
If you want your 1x8s to fit perfectly flush with your Kallax, you will have to use a table saw to trim them down lengthwise. But honestly, who has time for that?
We cut another set of 1x8s to match the side lengths and to match up with the tops. A little construction adhesive and 2″ nails in a brad nailer and whambo-bambo, an Ikea hack that took all of 30 minutes and looks great.
We stained our boards using our tried and true Minwax Stain Cloths… though, if you read my recent review of Saman Water Based Stain, you’ll know that I’m now itching to restain every flipping piece of wood in our home. I might be falling in and out of love with stain. I don’t even know.
The Kallax as playroom storage
As far as playroom storage is concerned, this Kallax shelf is literally the best. It’s the right height to function as a fabulous media stand too.
Dan was able to hide all the cords and surge protectors behind it, and place our sound bar right on top.
I’m impressed at how not-rickety this shelf is too, even after it’s been moved up and down our stairs half a dozen times over the years. Sometimes there’s worry that MDF furniture that you put together yourself will become lose and fall apart or warp – but this unit is solid.
We have the typical Brimnes baskets in the Kallax and they now hide all of the tiny toys that we just scoop up at the end of every day and toss back in. Will I label the baskets? No. I will not. I’m not a super human. I don’t really care if a Lego ends up in the crayon bin. Like I literally do not have time to care about that kind of thing.
Does it look clean and tidy? Yes. Does it sort of prevent me from stepping on Legos? Yes. Does it work as a family media centre? Yes.
Well then – I’d say this Kallax hack is a hit.