Wingsley

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2014
145
10
I have been watching numerous YouTube "ultimate desk setup" videos involving people buying and hacking IKEA products to create desks and counters, among other things.

I am considering a major renovation and office furniture change/renovation providing I can build up sufficient $$$ for it. I like certain IKEA items.

Problem: the nearest IKEA shop is 148 miles from where I live, according to Google Maps, and I am familiar with the route. It's over 2.5 hours' drive. Other stores are hundreds of miles away.

1: If I bought IKEA gear, whether it be desk components, countertops or just stuff for on a desk or counter, would it be easier and more cost effective to drive there and buy it directly, or is there some shipping avenue I can use to have the gear sent to me directly?

2: I have bare walls with no cabinet work or shelving where I want to rebuild my workspace. If I bought IKEA countertops, is there a way to join them together so there become one long continuous counter?

3: How difficult is it to drill holes through an IKEA countertop for cable management and electrical access? Is there a better way?

4: If I wanted to use IKEA gear to create both long countertops and also cabinet work for drawers and files, are there IKEA components that will fit together well and mount directly onto the wall? Does IKEA offer components for mounting countertops, shelving and cabinets onto walls?

5: Are there specific web-sites or forums where I can talk to IKEA customers and hackers for IKEA and other similar gear to learn more tips, tricks and techniques?

Thanks in advance.
 

mroy16

macrumors regular
May 28, 2017
149
71
Ikea typically has shipping options available, though it will depend on the specific store and just how far away you are. The best way to find out is to call the store or visit the website to see what their delivery options are.

I would also recommend going in person to at least view the items you want to purchase. I imagine you'll get a much better idea of how the items will work in your space if you can see and feel them in person.
 
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willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,167
Here(-ish)
Shipping is typically prohibitively expensive. My friends/colleagues make a list and go in together (or borrow) a trailer or Uhaul then drive and make a day of it.
 
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LorenK

macrumors 6502
Dec 26, 2007
382
144
Illinois
Your questions about joining and drilling are pretty broad, given that the materials vary. If it is solid wood, it can, of course, be readily joined, assuming that you have the tools. Joining other materials can be done, but it assumes that you have the right adhesives. Same with drilling. On the other hand, most of their panel materials are made with a variation on chipboard or fiberboard, and using those and joining them requires some real care. There are a number of videos online of hacks using Ikea materials and that is where you should look to both get ideas as well as how to do it.

As to mounting cabinets and shelves, Ikea offers products for that purpose, so they will come with the hardware to mount them. You can also buy the hardware separately in case you want to use different materials than what they offer. There are enough variations in the products that Ikea offers that you should be able to create whatever design you want.

One other thing, the value of going to Ikea is that there showrooms show a variety of ways in which their products can be used, so those can give you ideas on how you can use them in your own rooms. I have hacked their products in a variety of ways and am still pleased with the results.

Good luck.
 
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D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,587
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Vilano Beach, FL
The modular desktops/tabletops at Ikea are pretty awesome, very cost effective, lots of color/size options. I've been an office renovation recently as well, I wanted a convertible desk, but so many of the sub $1K products have very unreliable motors (including huge numbers of reports on Ikea models). I was also not worried about a little physical exertion to raise it, so I looked into manual options. Well, one of the companies Vivo I knew from using from of their monitor/VESA mounts, and they had a manual frame, that would raise/lower 29-48", terrific reviews including customer service.

They don't supply a top, but it'll handle all sorts of sizes and I saw an Amazon reviewer talk about using an Ikea table top, I wound up with a terrific 60x29", blue-black with birch ply type edges, 1-1/2" thick, so cost effective if it gets beat up, I'll just pitch it. Screwed right onto the Vivo frame, super stable, takes about 30 seconds to go from sitting to standing height.

FWIW, I looked into just having the top shipped and it was about $30, however, we do haev an Ikea in town, so I wound up just stopped in one day and walking out with it.
 
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ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,514
6,772
I second the idea of renting a U-Haul and making a day of it. This will be cheaper than shipping and you'll get to see the items in person.

The latter part is really important. A lot of Ikea furniture looks very stylish in pictures, but looks like cheap junk in person. Also it is hard to have an accurate sense of scale from pictures. For example many desks that look grand in the picture look like a kid's size desk in person.

Ikea makes good stuff and bad stuff, but the problem is that it all looks like good stuff in the pictures. You really need to see it in person.
 

Wingsley

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2014
145
10
Are the IKEA shops staffed with qualified people who can answer questions about their products and how to build with them? I've never been to an IKEA, since there isn't one nearby.
 

jeyf

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2009
1,699
761
the Ikea stuff is expensive, you might plan a 1st project using materials from your local recycle lumber store.
a big box store like homeDepot may have "qualified "peeps to but everyone watches youTube.
start small and inconspicuous.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,167
Here(-ish)
Are the IKEA shops staffed with qualified people who can answer questions about their products and how to build with them? I've never been to an IKEA, since there isn't one nearby.
They will most likely have knowledge of the products but not hacking the products. They might, but it isn’t part of their job description.
 

jeremy h

macrumors 6502
Jul 9, 2008
491
266
UK
Ikea makes good stuff and bad stuff, but the problem is that it all looks like good stuff in the pictures. You really need to see it in person.

I agree. If you're spending a fair bit then look at it very carefully. Sweden doesn't seem to have skirting boards or carpets - if you have skirting boards bookcases etc will need to go against the wall at an angle. anything over waist height really needs to be screwed to the wall, many of their items end up being top heavy and wobbly if not. (Particularly if on a carpet).

Like most suppliers, their materials seem to have got a lot cheaper in recent years. I have 25 year old Ikea office desks which are fantastic. The modern ones I have are poor in comparison and when I bought the new ones there was nothing like the choice there used to be. With the way material costs have gone up recently I guess they're struggling to hit price points that suit their cash strapped 20 / 30 something target market.

I wouldn't consider cutting up the modern stuff to try and modify it - my older items seem to have been made from chipboard, the modern stuff seems to be comprised of a papery fibre board. There's nothing to screw into. If I wanted simple long work tops or to customise something I'd look at cheap range from a kitchen supplier.
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
My desk is an 8' stock countertop from Lowes. I found one with a chip on the corner of the laminate. I asked the guy what they could do on it and he offered me half off. I was going to ask for 10-20%! The chip doesn't even show.

Piecing boards together isn't always a good option. If you want an 8' desk, I might suggest you buy an 8' desk top instead of trying to patch together 2 - 4' tops. You'll be much happier with the results.

If you have a decent bit of DIY skill, It's not too hard to get some unfinished kitchen cabinets, a counter top, and maybe a couple of file cabinets and end up with a pretty nice office. I can't speak to cost, but I bet the build quality will be much higher.

I'm nowhere near an IKEA either, but I am a woodworker!
 

sunapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 16, 2013
1,940
2,953
The Netherlands
I'm still a bit shocked at the distance to the nearest IKEA. I can get to either of the 5 nearest IKEA stores within an hour, the nearest being a 20 minute drive.

The countertops are mostly chipboard, so cutting through them will require some additional work to get it all neat and tidy. But there's a lot to be found online, like YouTube, because the basic nature of their furniture allows for a lot of DIY. I personally haven't modified my furniture, but I've considered it a few times already.
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,587
10,345
Vilano Beach, FL
I wouldn't consider cutting up the modern stuff to try and modify it - my older items seem to have been made from chipboard, the modern stuff seems to be comprised of a papery fibre board. There's nothing to screw into. If I wanted simple long work tops or to customise something I'd look at cheap range from a kitchen supplier.
Depending on the specific product, some of the table tops have a very solid outer section (still probably some kind of MDF-like material), since they're designed to have legs mounted (the one I used had pilot holes at the 4 corners for legs, I mounted my new adjustable desk frame to the outer 5-6" or so, solid as a rock!)


I'm still a bit shocked at the distance to the nearest IKEA. I can get to either of the 5 nearest IKEA stores within an hour, the nearest being a 20 minute drive.
12-13 years ago before Ikea shipped and when the only store I got near was up in PA (on the US east coast), we stopped at that one on the way home to Florida (so that's about 6- miles into a 800+ mile drive). We wound up getting several items, including these two huge rugs, and at the time I owned a Lexus sedan we were driving.

This was also in the middle of winter :D

So there we were, driving home with two huge, rolled up carpets stuck out the rear windows like fishing outriggers, and if course, the windows were 1/2 way down, and the outside temp was like 30-something. We wound up running into a bad snow storm, had to stop at a hotel (lucked into a super nice one with a wine bar), but did lug the rugs into the room :p
 

shinji

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2007
1,321
1,510
Some of their desks are part of 'desk systems' whose components are designed to be connected with IKEA-supplied hardware. I used to have a GALANT desk, where I connected a large rectangular top to a smaller squarish top, and then added a raised shelf.
 
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