I have a deep love of IKEA furniture. I love all the cool features it has, the reasonable price, and I love to assemble it. IKEA furniture is also SO easy to customize! When we started to redo our office, I knew that I wanted one wall to be filled by shelves from IKEA. I had to choose the furniture mainly based on what would fit into the space, and I landed on the IKEA Brimnes line. The Brimnes line is bright white, and looks really modern. However, it’s a little bit boring, and I wanted to make it look more interesting without having to resort to carpentry. Thankfully, I found some cool removable wallpaper and paired it with some new brass pulls to make my boring Brimnes really pop. This is a REALLY easy IKEA hack that anyone can do, and it cost under $100 to do it to my two bookcases and center cabinet. 🙂
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I originally got the idea for the bookcase makeover from Abby Lawson’s post on Just A Girl And Her Blog where she churched up her bookcases by adding wrapping paper to the back (see here for deets). I loved the idea but I didn’t want to try to apply wrapping paper to double-sided tape. What I really wanted was a more forgiving medium that would be easy to work with, that I could also remove later if I decided to change my decor. I feel like my end result turned out cute and it accomplished exactly what I wanted. The materials I used were VERY forgiving and the project took very little time. It added maybe another 15 minutes to the assembly of the furniture. It was also so easy that I firmly believe ANYONE can do this project with very few (if any) issues.
How to Make IKEA Brimnes Furniture Look Totally Unique
Step 1: Assemble IKEA Furniture Until You’re Ready To Nail on the Back
Really, this is such a simple project. Assemble your IKEA furniture up until you hit the point in the instructions where it asks you to apply the backing to your shelves. You’ll want to put the wallpaper on the backing before you nail it down. If you’ve already assembled your furniture and you’re looking at ways to upgrade, no problem! Just pull out the nails and remove the back. I thought about taking pictures of all the steps but honestly, this project is so simple that it seemed like a waste of time. 🙂
Step 2: Apply Removable Wallpaper to Shelving Backing
This is really the hardest part of the project, but the Wall Pops paper was incredibly forgiving. One thing I do recommend, that I have in my materials list, is the smoothing tool. I almost didn’t buy the tool, because I didn’t think I needed it. I was SO wrong, and I was so happy I bought it. As you apply the paper you really need the smoothing tool to smooth it. Otherwise, you will be trying to keep out bubbles with your hands. This basically means you’ll be wiping oily hands all over your paper, ick.
One other caveat during this step is to make sure you line up the second row of paper correctly before you trim it. The roll isn’t quite wide enough to cover the Brimnes in one step, so you have to line up the second row and trim it to fit the backing. It’s not a big deal but if you do what I did and trim it to length before lining it up correctly your second row won’t be long enough. I lucked out since the drawers cover the bottom, so it’s not a big deal, but I had to trim a third piece of paper (wasteful) and there is a noticeable seam where I had to fix it.
For the center console, I measured and cut each piece to fit before applying. I made sure the pieces fit in the console before I removed the backing and set them down. The biggest struggle was dealing with some little bubbles that managed to survive my first smoothing. I used a small craft knife to GENTLY peel up the corner closest to the bubbling and smoothed the area a second time.
Step 3: Finish Assembly and Add Hardware
After you’ve applied the wallpaper, finish assembling the IKEA furniture. Stop once you get to the step where you add IKEA’s hardware, and put on your own choice instead. I chose some really pretty gold pulls to give my Brimnes a girly, high-end look. Before you purchase hardware, be sure to measure the distance between the holes on your furniture. I screwed this up the first time because I assumed (wrongly) that the distance between the holes was the same as some older Brimnes furniture I had.
Adding the hardware is pretty easy. Your hardware likely comes with screws, make sure you use them and don’t try to use the ones provided by IKEA. My hardware came with cut-to-adjust screws, so I used a pair of needlenose pliers to cut them to size. You can see a closeup of the pulls (and my smoother!) in the image below. 🙂
Step 4: Enjoy!
See how easy this project is? I really enjoyed working on it, and I LOVED the result. I’ll be doing a similar project in our living room. I really can’t say enough good things about the Wall Pops wallpaper. I am definitely not perfect, and I had to pull up the paper constantly while I worked, mostly to get bubbles out. It worked like a dream and didn’t damage the back of the shelves when I had to pull it up. Just as a reminder, in case you haven’t read my post about painting our office, the wall my new shelves on used to look like this:
Super dark, right? So what does it look like after a coat of paint and some cute bookshelves? A whole lot brighter! 🙂 I tried to get the whole setup in one photo but my office is literally so small that I couldn’t get far enough away to get the photos.
I am so happy! After I finished the project I sent my mom a photo and she also loved it. I was actually so happy with the results that I’m planning on doing something similar in our living room after I finish organizing the office. Right now I just have our router sitting on top of the center cabinet, and my husband and I have been collecting all our office stuff from around the house and just piling it into a corner. Happy IKEA hacking my friends, and here is another photo for the road. 😉