From plain to poetic, this whimsical cabinet makeover will hold pride of place in a living room or bedroom.
Repurposed spice racks make pint-size bookshelves for young readers.
Add some atmosphere with a dab of paint inside this globe lamp.

Shelving and cabinetry are among the first items you opt for when setting up a new home. A common choice is to go for flat pack furniture as it is affordable, functional and easy to find. There is a trend out there that has been growing with faithful followers of IKEA that takes their clean-lined, Scandi designs and transforms them by decoration and/or use. IKEA hacks are all the rage … they have even got a website devoted to them.

Wow, what a bit of imagination and some hands-on artistic applications can do to a simple cabinet. The flat faces on IKEA’s IVAR cabinetry perform like a blank canvas, ready for whatever decorative treatment you can dream up. For a basic colour transformation chalk type paints can be applied over laminate without applying a primer. (Always check the product you are using for instructions.) An excellent option is Fusion Mineral Paint that is not porous, which means it is waterproof and stain proof without the addition of a topcoat. Once painted, decorative decoupage was utilized to turn the cabinet shown here into a vibrant work of art. A little practice with cut and paste application style and any surface takes on fresh depth and tells a story. The oversized handles are fun and complete the camouflage.

There is such a gorgeous choice of regular and peel and stick wallpapers available and they give you a full range of style and design options. Metallics, grasscloth textures, wood lookalikes, they are not just for walls, These papers transform cabinetry inside and out as well as all types of shelving. When you are ready for a change simply peel off the paper. This is a good hack for covering up old surfaces but remember any dents will show through the paper. Fill the gouges and sand. Depending on the wallpaper you choose, apply a wallpaper primer first so the paper will peel off easily when you decide to make a change.

Another option, cabinet doors can be partially cut open to reveal the interior, a hack that allows you to show off part of what’s inside. Play with contrasting colours, organize the interior to suit your needs with a combination of pegs, hangers and shelves. Hang a mirror on the back interior wall that you can see without opening the door.

To make a floating makeup stand start with the ALEX add-on unit, originally designed to sit on a desk. It’s comprised of two small drawers and a top. Shop for decorative brackets. They range in materials from wood to metal, plaster and plastic, all styles. Paint the brackets to coordinate with the top, attach brackets to the wall at your chosen height, which is determined by whether you like to stand or sit when getting ready for the day. Place the unit on the brackets and you’ve successfully completed another hack.

The BEKRAM spice rack works wonders as a bookshelf in the kids’ room. Just the right size for children’s stories and can be mounted at any level for young hands to reach. You decide whether to leave the racks natural or paint them up.

There’s lots you can do with lighting. Again, the advent of paints that cover slippery surfaces such as laminates, metal and glass provide an easy fix. The FADO globe lamp can be painted to look like the moon. Shown here, the light bulb housing is easily removed while you work. Grey acrylic paint has been rubbed around the inside of the globe using a paper towel.