Easy Ikea Bench [Hack] in 7 Steps

PS, can this picture get any sweeter?! Look at his smile!

PS, can this picture get any sweeter?! Look at his smile!

I know, I know, 'easy' and 'Ikea' don't really belong in the same sentence. Marriages have been broken by Ikea furniture, but I swear, this is actually easy.

To recreate this exact bench, you'll need to buy:

  1. Ikea Kallax Shelf Unit / FYI these are not cheap to ship, so I advise planning a shopping trip (dang!) to your nearest Ikea location.
  2. Ikea Kallax Insert with 2 Drawers
  3. Knobs (2) / I bought mine on sale at Anthropologie and they are no longer available, but they have so many amazing choices. Here are two options: Notched Glass Knob & Pastille Knob
  4. Modern Weave Storage Basket / I think the Container Store carries these as well, so do some comparison shopping to find the best deal.
  5. 3" Multi-Purpose Foam / This wasn't available at my store, so to save time, your best bet may be to order online at Home Depot.
  6. 36" Roses for Julie Fabric (two yards) from Spoonflower / Order this print on Eco Canvas. You won't regret it—it's gorgeous.
  7. Ultra Grip Shelf Liner
  8. 3/4" MDF Board / Don't let this intimidate you—they'll cut it to size. And then you can make one for three lucky friends, too!
  9. Cute Pillows / I went with three because things usually work better in odd numbers. The bow pillow and white ruffle pillow can be found at PBTeen. The large Euro pillow is Ralph Lauren and I found it at HomeGoods (which is totally my jam right now).
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Once you have your materials you'll want to gather these tools:

  1. Staple gun and staples
  2. Serrated knife
  3. Screwdriver
  4. Steamer/Iron
  5. Large piece of cardboard
  6. Another human (it's just so much easier)

Are you ready to do this? If you're anything like me, you may be a little intimidated because you don't want to make a mistake and waste materials...and money. Totally been there, but you've got this. Follow the directions for assembling the Ikea Kallax and drawer unit. Once that's done, set the shelf off to the side and get your DIY on.

  1. Grab the cut MDF board, foam, and serrated knife. You'll want to find either a) a floor you don't mind scratching or b) some cardboard to put down under the foam. Place the board on top of the foam (so cardboard, foam, board) and have your sidekick hold the board in place. Start your cut—and don't worry—the edge will not be perfect.
  2. Now that you have the foam and MDF board cut to size, you'll want to cut the fabric (ain't nobody got time to iron fabric you won't be using). The easiest way to measure this is to lay out your fabric like wrapping paper and put your foam and board on top. Just as you would wrap a gift, pull each side over the edge and leave at least 3-4" of fabric on each side. Before you make a cut, make sure your pattern is lined up the way you want it.
  3. Now you have to go steam or iron your fabric. I know, not the best job, but it will look so much better (and at least you don't have to do all the fabric). I really love the Shark Steamer if you are looking for a reason to buy something new.
  4. Carefully put your fabric on the floor and then place the foam and board on top. Make sure that the edges are lined up as evenly as possible, then start by stapling 5" from the corner of a long edge. You'll want your staples no more 1-1.5" apart. Continue to staple down the same side until you are 5" from the corner. (You want to leave plenty of room to finish the corners.)
  5. After you complete the first side, move to the other long side. Now, this is important, make sure you and your partner pull the fabric tight. One person should staple while the other continues to make sure there isn't any slack in the fabric. Move to the shorter sides and do the same thing, leaving 5" of fabric unstapled at each corner.
  6. Alright, it's time to graduate to something a bit more challenging—corners. If you enjoy wrapping presents, this will be a piece a cake. If you don't, you may want to review an upholstery video. Either way, make it your own, but whatever you do, try to repeat the same process on all four corners.  
  7. The last step before the final reveal—cut your shelf liner to 15"x56" (basically so nothing hangs over the edge) and place it on top of the Kallax. Then put the fabric covered foam and MDF board an top, step back, and marvel at your talents. 

I have to ask...did you trust me enough to use your significant other as a sidekick, or did you phone a friend?!