10 Budget-Friendly Hacks to Make Your IKEA Bookshelves Look Expensive Like Designer Furniture

ikea bookshelves make look expensive

We all adore IKEA, let’s face it. It’s a treasure trove of reasonably priced furniture and home goods, but let’s face it—sometimes that signature blue and yellow design just screams IKEA. But have no fear, my fellow aficionados! Your ordinary IKEA purchases may become designer-caliber works of art with a little imagination and do-it-yourself magic, all without going over budget.

With these 10 clever hacks, you can embrace the magnificence and throw off the ordinary, giving your IKEA bookshelves (and everything else!) the appearance of something straight out of a high-end magazine.


1. From Stock Knobs to Hardware Heaven!

Give those plain beige knobs with the “assembly required” label a spin! Take your IKEA bookcases to the next level of creativity by organizing a treasure hunt for unusual hardware. Think of handles made of rustic leather radiating farmhouse charm, sleek brass pulls whispering tales of industrial flair, or even fanciful crystal knobs imparting a hint of antique magic. Never forget that your hardware serves as the furniture’s jewelry, so don’t be scared to show off your personal flair!

2. Wallpaper Wonderland

Gone are the times you spent staring at dull bookcase backs! Tap into your inner interior design genius with wallpaper’s transformational potential. Let your creativity go wild with designs of tranquil nature themes that inspire a sense of serenity, geometric patterns that offer a modern edge, or vivid blooms that sing with individuality. Always remember that the secret is to pick a design that accentuates your own style and works well with the décor you already have. Now take out your scissors and start working your wallpaper magic!

3. Leg Up Your Game

Those generic IKEA legs are as interesting as watching paint dry, let’s face it. Furniture fashionistas, do not fear! It’s time to give your bookcases a makeover with a range of fashionable solutions. Choose hefty wooden legs for rustic warmth, tapering metal legs for a dash of modern sophistication, or hairpin legs to embrace the classic charm of mid-century modern design. Recall that the appearance of your bookcase is mostly determined by its legs, so pick carefully!

4. Make Your Bookshelves Look Twice as Tall

Mirrors aren’t just for vanity anymore! Unlock the secret of space illusion by strategically placing mirrors on the back of your IKEA bookcases. This clever trick reflects light and creates the illusion of depth, making your bookcases appear grander and airier. So, ditch the claustrophobic feel and embrace the expansive possibilities of mirrored magic!

5. Light up your IKEA bookshelves

Lighting is the unsung hero of interior design, and your IKEA bookshelves are no exception! Add instant ambiance and drama by installing LED strip lights within them. Highlight your favorite treasures, bathe your books in a warm glow, or create a dynamic display with color-changing options. Remember, lighting is all about setting the mood, so experiment and find what works best for you!

Bonus Tip

Take a moment to appreciate the transformation you’ve achieved. From bland beginnings to bespoke beauty, your IKEA bookcase now reflects your unique style and creativity. Share your design journey with the world using #IKEAhack and inspire others to unleash their inner design guru!

6. Bring the Outdoors In with a Touch of Greenery

Artificial flowers, move aside! Use the vivid energy of actual plants to add life and texture to your IKEA shelves. Imagine air plants providing low-maintenance greenery, trailing vines adding a whimsical touch, or cascading ferns adding a hint of the jungle. Recall that the secret is to select plants that will flourish in your lighting and blend in with your overall design. Go green, then, and see how your bookcases come to life!

7. contact paper Magic

Don’t undervalue the contact paper’s transformational potential! You can transform your IKEA furniture into design chameleons with this inexpensive marvel. Consider the options: marble for a touch of classic elegance, wood-grain contact paper for a rustic feel, or even metallic for a contemporary statement. Recall that the secret is to let your inner design chameleon loose and select a pattern that goes well with your current décor!

8. Mix & Match Masterclass

Who says you have to stick to one IKEA series? Unleash your inner design rebel and embrace the beauty of mixing and matching! Combine a rustic Billy bookcase with sleek Besta drawers for an eclectic blend, or pair modern KALLAX shelves with vintage HEMNES cabinets for a unique story. Remember, the key is to choose pieces that share a common thread, like color, material, or style, to create a cohesive and visually interesting look. So, break the mold and get creative!

9. Group Therapy: Strength in Numbers for Maximum Impact!

Lonely bookcases are a thing of the past! Embrace the power of “group therapy” by arranging similar items together to create a cohesive and impactful display. Stack books by color for a rainbow effect, group decorative boxes for a curated look, or showcase your favorite collectibles like travel souvenirs or framed photos to tell your story. Remember, the key is to create a balanced and visually appealing arrangement that reflects your personality. So, gather your treasures and group them with love!

10. Accessorize with Intention: The Grand Finale of Bespoke Bookshelves Design!

Remember, your IKEA bookshelves are more than just storage units; they’re blank canvases waiting to be adorned with the stories of your life. This is where accessorizing with intention comes in, the final brushstroke that elevates your design from ordinary to extraordinary.

Think beyond visual aspects:

Travel mementos: Allow your international travels to whisper stories to others back home. Showcase a hand-painted matryoshka doll from a snowy Moscow market, a Moroccan lamp from a busy Marrakech souk, or a seashell necklace that will make you think of sunny beaches.

Framed images: Capture priceless moments and your loved ones in gorgeous frames. Choose from a contemporary acrylic frame with a trip photo inside, a vintage frame with a black and white portrait, or a gallery wall that showcases your family’s voyage.

Sculptural delights: Use interesting sculptures to add a hint of mystery. Imagine a classic bust radiating ancient beauty, an abstract figure made of sleek metal lending a modern edge, or a quirky ceramic animal adding a fun touch.


How do you upcycle an IKEA bookcase?

There are tons of ways to upcycle an IKEA bookcase! Here are some quick ideas:

  • Change the Look
  • Boost Functionality
  • Get Creative

Can you customize IKEA bookshelves?

Absolutely! IKEA bookshelves are known for their customizability. You can easily change their look with paint, wallpaper, new knobs, or legs. You can also boost functionality with lights, mirrors, or additional shelves, and even get creative by turning them into bars, dollhouses, or room dividers.

How to make IKEA not look cheap?

  1. Ditch stock hardware, explore bold paint/wallpaper, and swap generic legs for contrasting styles.
  2. Accessorize with intention: layer textures, showcase personal items, and add greenery.
  3. Upcycle like a pro: mix & match IKEA pieces, use lighting tricks, embrace mirror magic!


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