One Room Challenge: Week 3 | Ikea Ivar Inspo + Our Storage Solution


Hello Friends! It’s week three of the One Room Challenge! If you’re new here, check out the week 1 and week 2 posts to learn more about this project, and to see our Living-room design plans!

This week we’re talking storage! My goal with this living room refresh was to add additional storage and reduce some of the random clutter we had around. Since the back wall where we’re adding shelving is directly beside the kitchen, we wanted to have something big enough to store some extra kitchen appliances we don’t use very much, as well as some of our board games, and Brian’s video game consoles. We also wanted something that wasn’t super bulky and that would look good with open shelving above it. So, after lots of pinterest exploration, we decided on the affordable and super versatile Ikea Ivar Cabinets!

Ikea Ivar

These are SUPER popular and you’ve probably seen them around a lot in their natural pine state, or creatively upcycled, since they make such a great blank slate. When we ordered two of the smaller-sized Ivar cabinets, I had zero clue what we were going to do with them, other than mount them side by side on the wall and have them be like a floating sideboard. I knew that we weren’t going to keep the natural pine with them being above our wood floors, so I searched up Ikea Ivar Hacks, and found a few really cool options. We ended up just painting them in the end, but I’ll share what we were considering, just in case you’re thinking of getting one (or two) of these cabinets!

Cane Webbing Hack

I love what The September Edit did with the Ivar. Instead of cutting the doors or building new door frames, she pasted the cane directly to the door that the cabinet comes with and added cute little knobs! This seems like a pretty simple DIY, but it makes such a statement! If we were putting our cabinets in another room, I totally would have gone this route – but we already have a lot of rattan in the living room, and I wanted the cabinet to stand out a little more.

Half-round Dowel Front with Mid-Century Legs

Isn’t this one GOOD?! We seriously almost went with this, but when we were considering this and buying all the supplies, we couldn’t find any half-round in the size we wanted for curbside pickup at our local hardware stores, and the the sizes we could find were going to make this project pricier than we wanted it to be. But maybe one day we’ll do this to our painted one! Check out Hemmafix for the step-by-step tutorial.

Image via Hemmafix

Painted + Modern

These pictures are what sold us on painting our cabinets. Even though the other ikea hacks were super fun and trendy, I fell in love with the painted Ivars because it made them look sleek, modern, and expensive! I love seeing them the same colour as the wall too!

Image Via Ikea USA

Image via Blogga Bagis

Our Ivar Cabinets

Here’s a quick sneak peak before we style them and add floating shelves. We ultimately went with the painted modern look, mounted on the wall without any legs or hardware. I’m really happy with how they turned out. It was an adventure picking out the paint colour online, but I’m really happy with the Gingko Tree paint by Valspar.


A couple tips for painting and mounting these:

  • Use primer! We primed the whole cabinet first so that the pine knots wouldn’t show through. Make sure you get one that says stain blocker.
  • We did one full coat of primer and some additional touch ups to the areas that had a lot of dark spots.
  • We went with two coats of the Valspar Signature satin paint, but I’ve read you could do flat paint on furniture as well.
  • We traced the bottom ledge of the cabinet with pencil so we knew where to drill in once we decided where to put them
  • We used our stud finder to make sure we were drilling into studs
  • We drilled three evenly spaced holes at the top ledge of both cabinets
  • Once they were both secured to the wall, we drilled them together at the top and bottom using shorter screws

We probably went with the most simple DIY out of all the inspo we found, but we’re sooo happy with the result! I love how clean and modern they look, and the green adds such a wonderful pop of colour. I thought about adding pulls, but I think I like the flat fronts for now. The next step for the back wall is to add some floating shelves above the cabinets! I can’t wait to see it all come together!

Next on the to-do list!

  • Build floating shelves along the back wall to make that space more functional, and still maintain the walkway to the balcony doors. Plus stain the wood to match other wood elements in the room
  • Install and paint lower cabinets under the open shelving
  • Finish reupholstering the other mid-century modern armchair to match the one I already reupholstered. And then I need to sand and stain both of them to get rid of some imperfections in the wood and ensure they match.
  • Build Fireplace bump out
    • Cut wood and drywall
    • Build frame
    • Add drywall
    • Tape and Mud drywall
    • Paint
  • Determine a way to hide television/cable/video game boxes and cords behind the tv/fireplace
  • Add an outlet to the wall or side of the fireplace (we’ll be covering the only accessible outlet on that side of the room)
  • Find a new coffee table (on a budget!) I was hoping to go thrifting, but now with COVID-19, my best bet is probably Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or a DIY if we have time.
  • Update decor – new rug, curtains, pillows, shelf accents, plants!
  • Replace couch (if our order comes in time!)  Yay!!
  • Replace curtains that are way too short!
  • Mount Samsung Frame TV above the fireplace and swap out the frame for a beige one that our lovely fam gave us as a housewarming gift

Okay so we still have a lot to do, but we have everything prepped to start the fireplace, and I plan on working on sanding down both of the thrifted chairs this week! But we still need to figure out a coffee table situation, and I still have yet to order a rug! I just can’t decide!

If you want to see real impressive project progress, you NEED to check out the latest posts from the One Room Challenge Featured Designers and other Guest Participants! Everyone is just so inspiring!




  • Martha Oster-Beal
    July 28, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I’m about to tackle this project myself! Yours turned out so beautifully. One question: did you paint the cabinets before or after assembling?

    • Julie
      July 30, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Yay! So exciting! I assembled the cabinets before painting, but just left the doors off. I think you could probably do it either way, but I just wanted to avoid any chipping while we put them together.

  • Erica
    May 27, 2020 at 11:41 am

    I love the color you picked. Such a gorgeous shade.

  • Jenna Pilant of Room Bloom Design
    May 23, 2020 at 7:01 am

    Those plants 👌 can’t wait to follow along on this space 👍

  • Lindsey from Hilltown House
    May 22, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    That is such a pretty color green – it really is amazing how many ways you can transform those cabinets

  • Lauren H
    May 21, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    I love the colour of these! My favourite part is the Buzz painting on top though.

    • Julie
      May 22, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Hahha yep it’s pretty cute eh?

  • Mel
    May 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    These look so good! I love that you wall mounted them, I really think it elevates (couldn’t resist) the look so much!

    • Julie
      May 22, 2020 at 6:58 pm

      Hahaha yessss! Definitely elevates! Thanks friend!


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