Pimp my Ikea: How to bling up your 'Billy' bookcase

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

What happened when we let the cream of up-and-coming British design talent loose on three basic pieces from the Scandinavian home-furnishing giant?

THE CHAIR

What: "Henriksdal" dining chair, £58.72.

Who: Michelle Mason is an award-winning interiors and homewares designer.

She says: "Even though it is sold throughout the world, Ikea is very much a Scandinavian brand, so I wanted to inject some classic British design into this piece, in the form of recognisable shapes and silhouettes. So I used sustainable felt that you can buy in any craft shop to make cut-outs of a Bakelite telephone, Robin Day chairs and a couple of Penguin Classics.

"I painted the legs white, too, to make it a blank canvas for the shapes and colours. Altogether, I spent £12 on materials and it took only a day – most of which was drying time.

"The beauty of Ikea is the plainness of its pieces – there is a lot of room to put your own stamp on them. There is a big trend at the moment to get digital photos made into canvases for walls or blinds, and I think another great idea would be to have your own picture printed on fabric, which can then be used to reupholster a chair.

"Ikea sells plain covers that can be fitted over the chair, so it's worth bearing in mind that if the decorating goes wrong, you can disguise them again."

Do it yourself

1. Sand the legs then paint in emulsion in your choice of colour.

2. Draw out your shapes on the back of some pieces of felt and cut out with sharp fabric scissors.

3. To get a feel for how they should be arranged, play around a bit and pin them in place until you settle on the right look.

4. Stick the felt pieces in place using a thin layer of fabric glue and leave to dry as instructed on the packet.

www.michellemason.co.uk

THE COFFEE TABLE

What: "Expedit" glass-topped, white coffee table, £45.

Who: Jamie Anley, Astrid Zala and Phil Nutley (pictured left, left to right) are the directors of JAM, an experiential branding consultancy that works with companies such as Audi, Whirlpool and Evian on a range of projects from furniture design to film, intended to create tangible representations of a brand's values.

They say: "Every object you buy with a flat surface is an opportunity to display your own creativity on it and make

it relevant to you. We wanted to move this piece as far away as possible from a mass-produced object towards something really personal. With the glass top, display is inherent in its design. To reinforce that new purpose, we created a frame motif, cut it out of gold laminate and printed out some photos of our team on nights out.

"It's a great time to explore this issue; the past 15 years of economic boom have resulted in people seeing homes as a commodity to buy, do up 'safely', and sell on. But a home should reflect the changing personalities and nature of the family that lives there. It's not really ever the case that you have 'finished doing your home up'.

"Ikea has done a great thing for the nation, but its success may be its obstacle, as it is so ubiquitous – unless people see that they can do more of this kind of thing. It would be a very smart move if Ikea were to embrace this as a premise for creating adaptable and customisable pieces."

Do it yourself

1. Remove the glass top.

2. Find an existing picture frame that you like and copy the shape free-hand on to the back of a sheet of gold laminate or paper. Make either one big frame or several frames of varying sizes for individual pictures. If you don't trust your drawing abilities, you can buy "frame tape" instead (try Do Frame tape, £8.50, www.designmuseumshop.com).

3. Cut out your frame shape and stick to the table with a thin layer of glue. Or you can make a stencil and paint the frame on.

4. Add your own pictures, postcards, or anything that is relevant and personal to you, and replace the glass. Once it's done, don't just leave it forever – keep changing and adding over time. '

JAM are creative directors of the interior-design exhibition 100% Design London from 24-27 September (www. 100percentdesign.co.uk). Jamie and Phil will also appear on a new BBC2 series about people and their homes in June. For details, see www.jamdesign.co.uk

THE CABINET

What: "PS" cabinet on castors, £29.26.

Who: John A Harris is a furniture designer who works chiefly in wood, reworking old timber into modern designs.

He says: "Ikea is not a place for expanding your mind as far as aesthetics goes, but in terms of functional pieces, it is great. You can buy fantastic basic pieces that work really well, such as a wardrobe frame, then use your imagination about the form you want to create.

"The cabinet is so simple that it lends itself to a lot of ideas. I didn't want to deconstruct it too much because as a working piece, it is perfect, so I focused on changing its appearance by cladding the exterior in cubes of various sizes made from recycled beech pallets. Face on, it looks flat, but if you turn it sideways it has different contours, which throw interesting shadows and make it look more like a 3-D landscape.

"If you have a few basic tools you can easily do this at home yourself. A hand-saw, a set square to draw out straight lines and some glue is about all you need. You don't even have to use wood – there are things you could find around your house that would work. Discarded piping, for example, could be cut up and used to clad it, which would give you a rounded effect rather than cubic."

Do it yourself

1. Paint the cabinet with matt emulsion in your choice of colour (the legs will still be exposed).

2. Choose your wood, sand it smooth and saw into pieces of varying sizes. Offcuts can be bought inexpensively from timber yards and often have the most interesting grains and colouring. The cubes used here were a mixture of one-, three- and five-inch cubes.

3. Once cut, sand the cubes again and glue them on to the cabinet. Gorilla glue ( www.gluegorilla.co.uk) is good for bonding different materials together strongly and quickly.

Harris will be exhibiting his work at the Milan Design Fair from Wednesday to April 27 ( www.jaharris.co.uk)

THE BOOKCASE

What: "Billy" bookcase in birch veneer, £47.96.

Who: Dan Black and Martin Blum are behind Anglo-Swiss design consultancy Black + Blum. As well as advising other companies on creative issues, they design their own range of products for the home.

They say: "Our main priority was to give this piece a bit of character. In its basic form, it is very recognisable as the cheapest bit of shelving you can buy from Ikea, so we wanted to give it a new identity as well as a function by turning it into a self-contained home-office unit.

"We joined two of the shelves with hinges to create a work surface that can be folded up to hide a laptop. We hung magazine racks on each side and added one at the top to change the shape – it almost looks like a winged creature now.

"Staring at the back of a bookcase while you work wouldn't have been very inspiring, so we laminated some fake grass to add an outdoors feel to the back and added a blackboard."

Do it yourself

1. Assemble the bookcase frame according to the instructions.

2. Fix one shelf at desk height and another two at appropriate heights for files and books.

3. Take the remaining shelf and attach it to the desk-height shelf using three standard door hinges, so that it may be folded out flat to create a working surface. For added support, staple a piece of strong ribbon at a 45-degree angle from the inside of the bookshelf to the underside of the fold-out shelf. Repeat on the other side.

4. Choose a fabric or print for the back of the bookcase and attach it to the wood using a glue gun. Attach the back according to instructions.

5. Accessorise with magazine racks, hooks, clip-on lights etc.

Magazine racks, desk-tidy, tape dispenser, blackboard and book-ends all available from www.black-blum.com.

For more ideas on how to customise Ikea furniture, go to ikeahacker.blogspot.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

HR Advisor (Employee Relations) - Kentish Town, NW London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor (Employee Rela...

Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering