I just recently learned a term in the craft/DIY world: “blanks.” Do you know it? I certainly didn’t until recently. “Blanks” refers to simple, basic, neutral, or blank (obviously) products you can customize, personalize, “hack,” or update with paint, stain, fabric, vinyl, labels, or anything else you can think of in order to make it more unique and/or work perfectly within your home. Examples include blank water bottles, tote bags, onesies, t-shirts, trays, coffee mugs…you get the idea. You can certainly find great blanks for projects and gifts pretty much anywhere including Target, TJMaxx/Marshalls, and your local craft stores. But one of my personal favorite stops for such items is IKEA! Yep – when I walk through IKEA, I’m not enamored with the stylish showroom or hurrying to scoop up some meatballs. Instead, all I can see is potential project after potential project because there are SO many great, affordable “blank” items to create with! Today I thought I’d show you my favorite crafting blanks at IKEA and share some ideas and inspirations for customizing these products for your own home!
BEST FURNITURE BLANKS
Why I Like It: In general, IKEA has a lot of unfinished (or lightly finished) wood pieces, many of which are great for staining, painting or updating with tapes/vinyls. I specifically like the Tarva series because 1) it’s very inexpensive, and 2) the straight, clean, no-fuss style makes it ideal for paint and fabric applications.
Give It a Try: I’ve covered this dresser in wallpaper, washi tape, fabric and vinyl (not shown). I’d love to try staining stripes or a stencil design on the dresser for a dramatic two-tone look!
Why I Like It: This step stool has been hacked a million different ways all over the Internet, and for good reason! Not only is it sturdy and a really great height (it’s my go-to stool for taking overhead pictures), but its clean straight lines (like the Tarva series) make it ideal for a project.
Give It a Try: Our wallpaper application has held up great, but I’d love to give one a two-tone paint treatment or try a wide stripe (of course!) down the center of both steps!
Why I Like It: Like most of IKEA’s iconic white furniture, the STUVA line provides clean, hard, white surfaces ideal for customizing or decorating with vinyl or tapes. And although this system is theoretically designed for kids, the inside storage space can’t be beat, and the modular system allows you to mix and match in order to create an arrangement that’s just right for your space.
Give It a Try: We added a flower design in pink, orange and green vinyl in my niece’s room. I’d love to see it updated with metallic polka dots or zig-zag stripes with Duck tape!
Why I Like It: With no less than 5 different Kallax shelves in our house, you’d have to bet the Kallax would make any “Best of IKEA” list I would make! Not only are these inexpensive, simple and sleek shelves true storage workhorses, but their modular design allows you to mix, match and combine them in order to find an arrangement that works for your space!
Give It a Try: The Kallax shelves also come in a sleek, hard finish that you could easily update with tape, vinyl, contact paper or peel-and-stick wallpaper (ooo – that’s a great idea!), but try to think of other ways you could update these basic units. Can you rotate them to give them a different look? Put them up on feet? Wrap in wood or add a counter? The possibilities are endless with these shelves!
Why I Like It: This little table and chairs set is a great addition to any home where little ones eat, play and craft! The super cheap price tag and compact size make it a no brainer for activities like finger paint, play dough, and spaghetti!
Give It a Try: The combination of unfinished wood plus white plastic surfaces gives you lots of opportunities for customization. Try covering the white surfaces in some whimsical peel-and-stick wallpaper and then paint the wood trim to match. Or, leave the trim as is and experiment with different mediums such as dry-erase or chalkboard paint on the tabletop surfaces. Monograms on the chair seats or names along the chair backs are a great way to personalize this basic product!
6 – 7- 8 – OTHER FURNITURE ITEMS I LOVE
6 – Kid’s Picnic Table – Every time I walk into IKEA, I stop and look at this cute little picnic table. The price is hard to beat (only $39!!), and I can see it stenciled with a cute design or the legs painted a bright color while leaving the bench and tabletop natural.
7 – Frosta Stool – These round little stools are a handy size and height; and since they stack, they are ideal for keeping on hand for extra seating. The natural wood makes this stool a prime candidate for a stencil project, but colored tapes around the legs or dipped feet could also be very, very cute!
8 – Lack Tables – The clean lines, compact size, and super low prices make the Lack tables an easy addition to any playroom, kid space or new apartment. But the color options are limited; and they can feel a little utilitarian. To spice these simple tables up, create a tile pattern with vinyl, stripe it with metallic Duck tape, or wrap each piece in fabric or peel-and-stick wallpaper before assembling!
BEST DECOR BLANKS
Why I Like It: I am learning that storing pillow covers is much easier (and more compact!) than storing throw pillows; and even though I can (and enjoy) sewing, sometimes having ready-made covers makes a project go so much quicker. These pillow covers are cheap, have decent zippers, and come in a variety of colors! They are my new go-to staple for making my own holiday decor!
Give It a Try: Using heat transfer vinyl is one of the quickest and easiest options for updating plain pillow covers, but don’t overlook more traditional methods such as fabric paint and applique!
Why I Like It: The Lack shelf is one of IKEA’s most inexpensive and most popular floating shelf options! Not only are they very lightweight, but they are also easy to install and look great with most styles.
Give It a Try: Like other basic white IKEA products, you can update this plain shelf with contact paper, shelf liner, tape or vinyl. Hang a single one over a desk or in a bathroom, or hang a series on a blank wall to create a floating bookcase!
Why I Like It: These plain white dishes are “true” white, and their simple, clean, flat designs make them ideal for decorating!
Give It a Try: Vinyl and paint pens are the easiest way to update plain dishes, but don’t overlook transfer paper, etching creams, and glass paint to create your own works of art!
12 – Ikornnes Mirror – This gorgeous mirror can be hung on the wall or placed on a flat, countertop surface. Use paint or tape to customize the raw wood edge, or add vinyl decals or lettering to the mirror surface with a positive or personal message! (You can now see what I did with mine here!)
13 – Ingefara Flower Pots – These pots are the ideal size for an herb or countertop garden. Use paint pens to add simple patterns or designs, or cut out labels from chalkboard vinyl and label with herb or flower names!
14 – Skogsta Toolbox – I am obsessed with this little toolbox! It is a perfect size and shape for plants, art supplies, tableware, garden tools and more! The raw wood can easily be stenciled with a fun pattern, or consider personalizing it with a hand-scrolled name or monogram!
15 – Klipsk Bed Tray – Beyond just breakfast in bed, this collapsable tray could have so many fun uses around the house! I see a laptop desk, mini art or game table for the kids, lunch tray outside on the deck, or even a handy accessory for entertaining. A simple cut of contact paper placed into the base of the tray will give it a whole new look in mere minutes! (Here’s a great way to decorate it!)
16 – Klack Tray – This two-tone tray can serve many similar purposes as the Klipsk Bed Tray, but its design makes it much more functional for serving and parties. Use vinyl or tape to update the white surface to match your party decor, or spray paint the wooden edge while keeping the wipeable center clean!
17 – Kitchen Jars – These sleek kitchen jars would make a functional and decorative statement on any counter. Add decorative labels with dry-erase or chalkboard vinyl to the sides or tops in order to distinguish between your rices or flours!
18 – Snudda Lazy Susan – This solid-wood and large-sized lazy susan would be great in the center of a large table or tucked into a corner cabinet to hold cooking oils or other staples. This product is another great candidate for a stenciled pattern; or tape off a random pattern with painter’s tape to create an abstract design with your favorite colors of paint.
19 – Beromlig Metal Tins – These vintage-looking metal tins would look adorable on a counter holding recipe cards, measuring cups, frequently used spices or other small items. They are also a great size for holding art or craft supplies. Add a pattern or label in vinyl to add some color!
BEST ORGANIZATION BLANKS
Why I Like It: These large fabric-covered bins are the best “bang for your buck” when trying to outfit large Kallax-style shelves with storage containers. They are ideal for holding toys, craft supplies, fabric and clothes and (used to) come in a variety of fun colors.
Give It a Try: These bins provide large, solid blocks of color on your shelves, so break up the monotony with some colorful labels or fun decorations. I love cutting labels from contact paper, vinyl, and peel-and-stick wallpaper, but you could also make labels from heat-transfer vinyl for a more permanent application. Stenciling or painting these boxes with fabric paint could also change up their appearance, as would decorative ribbons or trims along the edge!
Why I Like It: These large cardboard boxes are another great storage solution, especially when you have a lot of shelves to fill. Their inexpensive price tag and generous size make them great options for paperwork, clothes, craft supplies and more.
Give It a Try: Like the DRONA bins, these too are a bit stark and plain. Dress them up with peel-and-stick label holders or bookplates. Paint the lids with contrasting color paint, or wrap them in wrapping paper, contact paper or fabric to give some color and pizzazz.
Why I Like It: These white metal mail pouches are sturdy, sleek, neutral and awesome for corralling and organizing all sorts of paperwork. I love that they can be hung as a set (as shown) or individually in any arrangement you wish!
Give It a Try: Change out the color of each pouch with a quick coat of spray paint. Use vinyl, a label maker, or print-and-cut labels to identify what belongs in each pouch. Give each pouch some pattern love by wrapping them in contact paper or peel-and-stick wallpaper!
Why I Like It: Sturdy, single hooks can be used all over the home to hang all sorts of items. Use them in the entryway for coats, backpacks and purses. Use them in the playroom to hold baskets of blocks, coloring books, and dolls. Use them in the bathroom to catch robes and towels.
Give It a Try: Like other metal products, a quick coat of spray paint can customize these to any color you wish. Or, try securing them to a painted piece of wood: either a rectangle for a larger display or smaller shapes (as shown) for a colorful update!
24 – 25 OTHER ORGANIZATION ITEMS I LOVE
24 – Moppe Mini Storage Chest – These mini drawers have been around a long time, but their usefulness hasn’t diminished. The size and scale of this chest make these drawers ideal for smaller items such as hair bows and accessories in a little girl’s room, mini-figures and small toys in a playroom, tea bags and accessories in a kitchen, or craft supplies in a craft room! Paint the drawers, line with pretty papers, use Mod Podge to add patterned papers to the front of each drawer. Bookplates or vinyl labels would make for the perfect finishing touch!
25 – Magazine File Boxes (Wood, Plastic) – Sturdy magazine files are always good to have on hand, and these neutral versions mean they can work with any color scheme or style. Paint or stencil the wooden ones to match other office supplies; and use tapes, vinyl, stickers, decals, or other peel-and-stick products to give some personality to the plastic ones! Using peel-and-stick products means you can change out the scheme whenever your mood or style changes!
Phew! I hope you all enjoyed this virtual stroll through IKEA with me, as well as a peek inside my creative mind when I come across awesome products! I’ve (obviously) worked with many of these products already, and there are even a few I’ve played with and have yet to show you the final product here on the blog! I’ll be sure to update this post as more projects are revealed, so be sure to pin this post to reference later! In the meantime, I hope you have a great weekend – I’ll see you back here next week!
Other IKEA Hacks
Check out these other smart and easy IKEA Hacks!