Sunday, 1 January 2017

Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack

Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith

I'm a woman of little time and little energy, with little use for fussy furniture, but a big imagination; so, naturally, Ikea is my best friend. Hand me an Ikea catalogue, and I can spend the entire day planning out an entire room full of repurposed creations, some of which could be copies of far more expensive furniture seen elsewhere.

For Christmas my partner and I received an Ikea voucher (yes, we love Swedish furniture so much that it has become a running joke between friends and family), and we decided to use it to purchase a kitchen island. As we've only got a small kitchen, storage and counter space is like gold dust - therefore a kitchen island would make our lives so much easier.

However, me being me, I was looking for something quite specific: 

1) It needs to be small enough so that it wouldn't become a hindrance, but large enough to fulfill its purpose as a place to store small kitchen appliances and crockery

2) It needs to be easily movable so that I can push it out of the way if I need to vacuum or if we have a party

3) It should be between hip and waist height so that we can use it for preparing food

4) It needs to be affordable (i.e. under £100)

T H E   O U T C O M E

After browsing the website, I found a few islands and kitchen trolleys that I liked the look of; however, they were over our budget, so I decided to get creative. I saw the Kallax, a simple, square shelving unit which had oodles of potential, and decided that this would be our starting point.

We went to the store to get a feel of what it would look like when all the components were pieced together, and excitedly made our purchase. In total, our little project came to just under £80:

Kallax Shelving Unit in White, £20
Kallax Inserts in White (x2), £18
4 pack of Rill Castors (wheels), £8
40cm Grundtal Rail (x2), £5
Lamplig Chopping Board (x2), £24
Skydd Wood Treatment Oil, £4.25
Total = £79.25

Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith

We began by putting together the Kallax. Easy enough.

Then, we attached the castors to the bottom of the unit. Screws are not supplied with the castors, so make sure you purchase some before you start (they need to fit a 4mm hole, and you'll need 16 of them). Luckily, we had some in our tool kit.

We then turned the unit on its side to attach the Grundtal rails. These also need extra screws, and the fixtures overhang the unit by a few millimeters - so make sure you get the measurements right

Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith

After that, we put together the door inserts that would fit in the squares of the Kallax to act as cupboards. We wanted two inserts, so that we could use the other two square spaces as display shelves. Helpful tip: make sure you line the inserts up correctly, as you don't want them poking out the back of the Kallax unit and making it look un-neat.

Next were the chopping boards. As we wanted to use these as the surface for our kitchen island, they needed to be oiled to protect the wood and prevent against the build-up of bacteria. The Skydd wood oil is perfect for this, as it's a natural mineral oil which doesn't contain harmful chemicals. A bottle will last you forever, as you only really need around a tablespoonful per board, and it only needs to be topped up every couple of months.

I flipped the boards over and attached them to the top of the Kallax using large-size Command Strips so that the island can be easily repurposed if needed, but you can use wood glue if you have it to hand.

Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith

This took around four hours to complete - and we're so in love with it. It fits our specifications exactly, and was incredibly affordable (so much so, that we were able to get a few extra pieces of home decor with our voucher!). However, I have to say that the best thing about this piece of furniture is that we put it together ourselves and made it our own.

What do you think of our creation? Have you repurposed any Ikea furniture? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith
Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith
Ikea Kallax Kitchen Island Hack by Jen Lou Meredith



  1. Excellent idea. Do you have any idea how to put pull out wicker basket on one box for fruuts

  2. Our command strips won't stick? Any tips?

    1. Hi! Mine don't stick down completely - it's more so that that boards don't move around. If you want the boards to be more secure, I would use a strong glue :)

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  4. Very creative! Turn the chopping boards by ninety degrees and you will have nice 'handles' on both sides to pull it.

  5. This is great! I've thought of doing something like this but wasn't sure it would be tall enough. Is it about normal counter height? What are the dimensions of the finished product, mainly height. Could you fit a bar stool under the "counter" if it stuck out far enough?

    1. It's a little shorter than my built-in kitchen counters. It's around 85cm in height so probably a little short for a bar stool, but Ikea have really good bar tables like this one > :)

      Hope this helps!


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