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Ikea is sharing people’s best Ikea hacks, and they’re brilliant

After embracing “hacking” in its own design strategy this year, the furniture giant is celebrating customers who alter its designs in creative, unexpected ways.

Ikea is sharing people’s best Ikea hacks, and they’re brilliant

Ikea furniture is carefully designed to fit into almost any customer’s aesthetic—it’s minimal for a reason. That means its products are famously easy to customize or tweak, and over the past decade, “Ikea hacking” has become a common way to describe the way customers change, alter, or intentionally tweak how a given design is meant to be assembled.

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The relationship between Ikea and its hackers hasn’t always been easy; in 2014, Ikea sent a cease-and-desist letter to a site devoted to hacking projects. But in recent years, the company has embraced the phenomenon, even releasing a collection of altered favorites of its own with a pronouncement that “WE HACKED OURSELVES.” And now, the brand is embracing its fans’ design jobs, too. Over the last few months, it has been featuring the creative ways customers hack Ikea pieces on its U.K. Instagram channel, and inviting fans to share their designs using a hashtag (#ikeaatmine), which already has more than 50,000 posts. Here are some of the best examples—which might inspire your own big blue box adventures.

Living on an island

For people with large kitchens, the $449 Vadholma island is perfect for storing dining ware. But one Ikea customer who lives in a small apartment has transformed it into a multifunctional living space. It is a perfect spot for dining, but it can also serve as a workspace.

The tiniest office

In this narrow nook, Ikea shelving doubles as a desk and workspace. The creator of this Ikea hack, designer Medina Grillo, features other similarly clever workspace hacks on her Instagram.

A bed frame with a twist

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Not all of the hacks are complex or require power tools. Ikea’s $349 Gjora bed frame is made from simple birch posts. One Ikea customer has cleverly hung fabric with a soothing leafy print on it, creating a botanical haven in their room. It’s a smart move because it can be swapped out for another textile in the future and this green fabric can be repurposed for something else.

A book nook on a budget

There’s nothing cozier than a book nook, but hiring a contractor or carpenter to build one into a room is expensive. One Ikea customer has created an adorable reading spot between two chests of drawers using a rattan ottoman, along with some Ikea textiles, including this $19.99 Torslev flat woven rug for some padding.

A doorknob makes all the difference

Another low-effort but high-impact hack: There is nothing duller than a shoe cabinet, but the Hemnes gets a fun update with these gold bee doorknobs that the creator found on eBay.

The cutest toy baskets

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As any parent will tell you, children accumulate a lot of toys and knickknacks, which will inevitably litter the floors of a home. Baskets are a good solution for reigning in part of this mess. One Ikea customer painted these simple $9.99 Fladis baskets with cute designs. Not only do they make the play area more colorful, but kids will have more fun putting away their toys.

A chic mirror wall

If you’re looking to brighten up a room, Ikea’s $9.99 Lots mirrors, which come as a pack of four squares, are an inexpensive option. But this Ikea customer has created a wall full of them in a fun design, making the dining room feel bigger and brighter.

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About the author

Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., is a staff writer at Fast Company. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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