Furniture upcycling or ‘IKEA hacking’ has been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, certain IKEA products have earned a cult following.

Today, the Sweden-based company is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer and enjoys the hold on the ready-to-assemble furniture market.

At IKEA, most products are available for a cheap price. The company doesn’t provide customisation options for its products.

IKEA hacking is essentially any customising, personalising, repurposing or upgrading a piece of stock Ikea furniture.

This movement kicked off in the mid-2000s when a handful of popular blogs started offering up easy, affordable tweaks to popular Ikea pieces like the Billy bookcase and Kallax shelf unit.

In the past decade, this community has burgeoned into a fully-fledged industry.

Where to find Ikea hacking content:

  • TikTok: 64 million views on #ikeahacks videos
  • Instagram: 500k posts tagged with #Ikeahack
  • Facebook: Hundreds of Ikea hacking groups, with more than 1 million collective members
  • YouTube: Thousands of Ikea hack videos with 100 million+ views
  • Pinterest: An endless scroll of DIY Ikea products
  • Reddit: r/Ikeahacks has some 76k subscribers

Of course, during the pandemic, an increase in people working from home (and spending more time at home) led to a DIY remodel boom, and with that came a surge in IKEA hacks.

Most IKEA hackers stick with simple aesthetic changes to change things up: new knobs on a dresser, legs on a table or cabinet doors.

Finding an antidote to ‘fast furniture’

IKEAhacking aims to tackle a larger problem – fast furniture. Part of the stated mission of IKEA hacking (and the upcycling movement) is to help extend the furniture’s lifespan.

For its part, IKEA has already announced buy-back programs and plans to be ‘climate positive’ by 2030.

If you already have a home full of Ikea furniture, a little redesigning and repurposing may be the greenest course of action.

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