Ikea Ivar Cabinet Hack

Ikea, the number one place for very affordable furniture that also happens to be very customizable. Oh, what’s that?! You weren’t aware that there is literally a hack for every piece of Ikea furniture out there?! Well, my friends, there is. There are so many amazing ones – particularly for built-in billy bookcases (particularly obsessing over the arched hacks you can see here). But today, I have a very simple hack for the Ikea Ivar cabinet.

The Ikea Ivar cabinet is actually a great find. It rings in at $130 plus tax (CAD) for the wider version and is solid untreated pine. It is screaming for a hack being it’s all ready to be painted or stained. I have read (and now experienced) that the doors don’t close all the way and there’s a little gap in the middle. I’ve managed to close it slightly and it’s not terrible. But if it gets to bother me more, I will be adding a strip painted the same colour as the cabinets on one of the doors at the back so it doesn’t look like a total abyss.

If you’re curious about the rest of my office space, start here.

Okay, now onto the instructions for my Ivar Ikea Hack.

But first, don’t mind the nails I still need to punch in along the frame – it’ll happen I just can’t do it during toddler sleeping hours as it’s SO loud and that’s usually the time I work on this.

Ikea ivar cabinets but elevated by painted green with trim and hardware. SIgned Samantha sitting next to the cabinet

How To Level-Up Your Ikea Ivar Cabinets

How To Level-Up Your Ikea Ivar Cabinets

For your considerations (and highly recommended!!!):

The first key to leveling up your Ikea Ivar Cabinets is building a base – you can see how to do that in an earlier blog post here.

The second is to build out a little zone away from your wall where you will have a painted piece of moulding (facing outward). This elevates the look and makes it feel even more built-in. I used a 1×2 as my moulding and another 1×2 flipped slideways and affixed to the wall with screws (so I had something to nail in the decorative moulding to. I also added a 2″ piece into the stud with a screw so I had something to affix the cabinet to and keep it in place.

The third is only if it is necessary for your space – I needed to trim mine down to size (so it fit under the window sill with a desk top on top as well as while it was sitting on the base) to get that built-in look. To trim it down, I used my table saw – measured one piece and then used that as my reference for the rest of the side pieces, the backer board, and the door heights. I would only chop this down to the right height, You theoretically could alter the width, but I think it would be complicated with the doors (and cutting those to the right width). If you’re doing this, you’ll also need a 1″ forstner drill bit to re-screw in the door hinges.

Okay, now the piece that everyone can and should do – this will elevate your doors to the next level and make it seem like it’s no longer ikea.

NOTE: My cabinets were about 19 5/8″ deep – It seems like they are now sold out at Ikea but I’ve included a screenshot of what I bought below. 

Ikea Ivar door hack materials

  • Enough 1/2″x1.5″ moulding to fit around the perimeter of your doors (if you cut yours down like me, make sure you measure the new height and the width)
  • Mitre saw
  • Nail gun and 1″ nails
  • Wood filler
  • Sanding block with 220 grit
  • Caulk gun and caulk
  • Paint of your choice
  • Door hardware of your choice (mine is here)
  • Drill
two pieces of wood from the ikea ivar cabinets - chopped down and now using the pieces as a guide.
ikea ivar doors framed out - needs to be sanded and painted.
green painted ikea ivar door front with a hole for the hinge
Ikea ivar cabinets but elevated by painted green with trim and hardware.

Ikea Ivar door hack instructions

  1. Make your cuts to the size of your doors – I measure one short piece and one long piece and use those as my guides. We are doing mitred corners here so the seams will disappear so set your mitre saw to 45 degrees and make sure your cuts look like a trapezoid (shorter side on the same side and longer side on the same side – NOT a parallelogram!)
  2. Nail in each piece of the frame into place. Be careful on the portion of the door that faces the centre – obviously, you don’t have the same surface area due to the “decorative” part that Ikea added – make sure the nails are closer to the outside so you tack it into the door face.
  3. Fill each of your nail holes. Sand. Fill again if necessary. And sand again, if necessary. Wipe clean with a tack cloth.
  4. Caulk the inside of the frame to create a seamless look.
  5. Paint your cabinets (my colour is Benjamin Moore Ashwood Moss).
  6. To install your cabinet pulls, measure the centre of the piece of the moulding that’s towards the centre (where you’d pull it to open it) both lengthwise and width-wise. Pre-drill a hole that’s the same size as the screw. Then install your hardware. For the second knob, I used a level to measure the exact same location on the other door panel.

K done! And so pretty!!!!

Office reno underway with a cabinet box on the ground and shiplap on a portion of the wall ikea ivar cabinet in the corner


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