IKEA’s New Manual Teaches You How You To Upcycle Old Furniture Like Brand New

IKEA’s New Manual Teaches You How You To Upcycle Old Furniture Like Brand New

IKEA’s iconic assembly instruction manuals have helped millions of customers around the world. Now, the company is reimagining it to help the environment.

The Swedish flatpack company has launched new, free-to-download manuals that teach customers how to upcycle the furniture they’re planning to discard. Called “Repurposeful Instructions,” the manuals feature 12 hacks that anyone — whether a beginner or an expert— can use.

For instance, one of the beginner projects shows how to turn a FABRIKOR glass cabinet into a terrarium. An intermediate manual, meanwhile, demonstrates how you can take a FRAKTA bag and convert it into a hanging garden. And if you’re up for a challenge, the advanced difficulty includes instructions on how to create a beehive from an IVAR cabinet.

Repurposeful Instructions is one of many programs that IKEA has launched to become more sustainable. Some of their other efforts include launching a buy-back service and announcing plans to sell spare parts to help extend the life of their products.

“We really believe in the power of small, sustainable acts that people can take in their daily lives,” said Ami Warrington of IKEA Canada. “In addition to becoming a fully circular business by 2030, IKEA is committed to helping our customers and co-workers make lots of little changes, like with Repurposeful Instructions, to live more sustainably in easy and inspiring ways.”

These IKEA Cabinets Make Surprisingly Good Greenhouses for Your Plants

These IKEA Cabinets Make Surprisingly Good Greenhouses for Your Plants

Usually, you’d have to go to a farming supply store to find a greenhouse. But as it turns out, you can also find a greenhouse in a place more known for bookshelves and meatballs. That place is IKEA.

With many having taken up gardening over the pandemic, some have come up with clever ways to squeeze more greenery in the limited space of their apartments. One such hack is by taking an IKEA glass cabinet and making a few changes to turn it into a mini greenhouse. 

It’s quite simple, really. Go to IKEA and pick a glass cabinet (the most popular models are the DETOLF, FABRIKÖR, MILSBO, and RUDSTA). While assembling, you can choose to remove some of the shelves to adjust for the height of your plants. Customize it with additions like grow lights, a humidifier, a humidity gauge, a fan, and a thermometer, and your plants will be happy as can be.

The results are both practical and stylish. Check out this upgraded MILSBO (and peep the rare houseplants inside it).

Have curious pets who like to chew on leaves? FABRIKÖR can help keep your plants safe.

If you need something with a bit more width, try RUDSTA.

The idea is so popular that there’s even a dedicated Instagram account with over 126K followers. The hashtag #IKEAGreenhouseCabinet, meanwhile, has over 22,000 results. 

“IKEA greenhouse cabinets are very versatile and can be as cheap and simple, or expensive and complex as you want,” @IKEAGreenhouseCabinet account creator Robin Schouten told The Spruce. “This all depends on your budget, DIY skills, commitment and which kinds of plants are being kept inside of them.”

Schouten also includes construction notes in each photo’s caption, so beginners can quickly learn how to build and maintain their own IKEA greenhouse.

Check out all the great ways people have used the flat pack staples to care for their plants over on @IKEAGreenhouseCabinet.

Before and After: A Stylish and Practical DIY Transforms this Drab IKEA KALLAX

Before and After: A Stylish and Practical DIY Transforms this Drab IKEA KALLAX

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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B&A: The Secret to These Under-$500 Bespoke Built-Ins? IKEA, of Course

B&A: The Secret to These Under-$500 Bespoke Built-Ins? IKEA, of Course

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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B&A: This DIYer Constructed a Rattan Nightstand Using an IKEA Piece

B&A: This DIYer Constructed a Rattan Nightstand Using an IKEA Piece

New York City resident Carly Fuller is known for sharing the clever upgrades she makes to her 450-square-foot Hell’s Kitchen apartment. And after swooning over a rattan nightstand online that would set her back over $400, Fuller was inspired to complete her latest DIY: reconfiguring an IKEA TARVA nightstand into the luxe-looking piece of her dreams.

At just $39, the TARVA nightstand made for the ideal blank canvas. Fuller stained it a dark black — she opted against paint, because she wanted to let the wood grain shine through. Once everything was dry, Fuller assembled the IKEA piece minus the door, which she planned to construct on her own.

Fuller built the door frame out of pine wood. “Making the frame was the most challenging, since I had to cut the wood at a 45-degree angle with a hand saw and cross my fingers each end aligned perfectly flush,” she notes. (For ease, she suggests others use a mitre saw for this purpose.)

After cutting the wood into four pieces to fit the front of the nightstand, Fuller adhered them together with wood glue and let everything dry overnight before staining the finished product black. Then, she cut a piece of rattan webbing to fit the inside of the frame, soaking the material for an hour to make it more malleable. Using a staple gun, Fuller attached the rattan to the back of the frame and trimmed away the excess. “Attaching it while wet ensures it will be nice and taught in the frame after it dries,” Fuller explains.

Fuller offers a key piece of advice for those looking to undertake a similar project: “Check the color on each side of the cane material,” she recommends. “The rattan I bought was slightly more yellow on the front side and more bleached on the back. If you like the bleached look like me, remember to staple it to the frame backwards.”

Finishing touches include screwing in two small hinges to transform the framed piece into a functioning door. Fuller also added a magnet inside of the nightstand to help keep the door closed. “I skipped my initial plan of adding a gold handle, because I think it looks neater without,” she says.

Additionally, because the original TARVA nightstand featured a drawer, which Fuller removed, she added a scrap piece of MDF board to the back. This ensured the piece wouldn’t have a gaping hole and could provide valuable storage.

In total, Fuller estimates the project cost her $90 to $100. In between waiting for the wood stain and glue to dry and scheduling the DIY around her work hours, the nightstand took Fuller two days to complete — and she plans to construct another for the other side of her bed. “If you started early morning and have all your materials ready, then you could totally get this done in one day,” she notes. “Although this was my biggest DIY, it was still so easy. And if I can do it, anyone can!”