I have a confession. I’m an IKEA addict. As might have been obvious from some of the previous entries, with which one could play quite a rousing game of ‘spot the IKEA product’.
Thank goodness S likes IKEA too. Well, not so much the going to the store part. More the reasonably attractive furniture at a low cost part. I love the store – the cheap breakfast, the cute little fake apartments and room displays, and the Market. Oh my goodness, the Market. So much stuff I want to buy! But I understand his loathing of the store, since it can be fairly nightmarish, what with all the stupid people and the hugeness, so I don’t blame him for occasionally suggesting the Toddler of Terror and I go amuse ourselves by spending money while he stays home and yells at an NBA game. It means he has virtually no contribution to what furniture I actually buy, but I think avoiding the store is worth it to him! And the ToT loves running around the children’s section testing out the display furniture and toys.
I know lots of people look down on IKEA, but I really think if you stick to their mid and upper range lines, you’re getting good furniture at a great price. The cheapest stuff will fall apart on you, and there is a limit to how many times you can take a piece apart and put it back together again, but I don’t think they can be beat in terms of what you get for the money. And I enjoy putting the stuff together – I find the instructions are easy to follow, and it’s like doing a big puzzle. Yes, I am a freak. I’ve even been known to offer to assemble other people’s IKEA. I look forward to the day we remodel the kitchen mostly because we’ll almost certainly use IKEA cabinets and I’ll get to put them together.
Anyway, due to the IKEA addiction, our living room is perilously close to looking like an IKEA showroom, what with the Ektorps and the Billys and the Leksviks and especially with the recent addition of the Leksvik coffee table.
Now, we purchased the coffee table mostly because we knew it would match with the bookshelves and the TV stand that comprise our entertainment unit, and not because we absolutely love it. Frankly I’d prefer something in that wood that was simpler. However, the cubbyholes appeal to me because with the Toddler of Terror in the house, it’s a constant battle to keep our decorating style from turning from ‘clean and comfortable’ into ‘Did Toys ‘R’ Us throw up in here?’. We like to keep the toys as hidden away as possible after the ToT goes to bed. Or at least stored somewhere that isn’t the middle of the floor. So I also picked up the Branas baskets that fit into the cubbies, figuring they’d make useful toy storage, but frankly I don’t like how the baskets look, and we’ve already got a billion baskets for the ToT’s toys and we’re going into basket overload.
By pure happenstance, the day I bought the coffee table I also stumbled across some raw wood boxes at Jysk on sale. Jysk is a Danish chain that is kind of like if someone took IKEA and shrank it down to the size of a normal home store - lots of cheap curtains and cushions and bedding and a small line of furniture and TONS of super cheap Scandinavian stuff you never knew you needed until you walked into the store. Their feather beds are AWESOME.
Anyway, I bought a few of the boxes in varying sizes, figuring they were cheap and I could maybe use them to store craft and sewing supplies.
It turns out, the largest one that I bought? Fit the cubbies on the coffee table like it was specifically made for that purpose. One on each side, and suddenly I have a Leksvik with drawers. In fact, that size box fits a little bit too well, since the only way to take it out is to shove it through the coffee table and out the other side. Which, you might guess, is extremely frustrating to the ToT; the concept of through and out the other side is a bit beyond her grasp at this point.
So, while the idea was good, it needed a little work to make it useable. I just love the Ikea Hacker, and figured it would be easy enough to modify the boxes to make my Leksvik work better for us.
The raw wood of the boxes didn’t really appeal to me and didn’t fit with the rest of the room. So I primed the boxes and painted them with the same paint we used on the walls of the living room. I also put on a couple of coats of spray varnish just to seal everything up nicely.
The addition of some inexpensive knobs from Lee Valley, possibly the only store I love more than IKEA, and voila. My Leksvik coffee table now has drawers. Plus I had knobs left over to replace the ones that came standard with the Billy doors, so it’s all coordinated and junk. We’re so fancy.
It looks better in person than in photos, since I just can't get the colour to come out correctly in pictures. I only did drawers on the bottom so I can have the top cubbies for stuff like the ToT’s art paper and storing the laptop when it’s not in use (uh, that would be NEVER, but whatever). Eventually I might get some more boxes and complete the top as well, particularly since the acquisition of new toys continues at a seemingly exponential rate. Currently almost all the drawers are empty, but I expect that situation to resolve itself soon, given that the ToT has a birthday coming up…