Ikea Hack Children’s Bedroom Makeover: The Big Reveal
The Ikea Hack is complete
So how did our Ikea Hack Children’s bedroom makeover turn out? Was it a triumph or a disaster? Did it all go smoothly or did we have any DIY disasters along the way? Most importantly, what did Emily think about the final result? It’s time to find out!
Ikea Hack to the max!
If you do want to have a go at this makeover, you could avoid having all of the MDF cut to size for the headboard and shelf by making it into even more of an Ikea Hack. In fact, that’s what we were originally going to do. But, in all honesty, I couldn’t face going back to Ikea again (especially as I had to make a couple of extra trips because of a DIY disaster…More about that later)!
You could build a ‘fully Ikea hacked’ cabin bed by using an:
- Ikea Lack Coffee Table top (white) for the headboard (at 118cm length and 45cm height, the table top is ideal as there would be no need for sawing or painting)
- Ikea Gnedby Shelving unit (white) for the shelf (laid horizontally on the plywood base against the back wall). Simply cut the shelving unit to the correct length (192cm instead of the original 202cm so it can be butted up against the Ikea Lack coffee table headboard) and have the open side facing the back wall to create a closed shelf. At 20cm high x 17cm deep, it wouldn’t be as high as the MDF shelf I made but it would still be higher than many regular children’s mattresses.
PLEASE NOTE: You don’t have to build the shelf along the back of the mattress frame against the wall. However, the extra width of the plywood base needed for the shelf gave us more space behind the chest of drawers so we could do something very special with it.
Step-by-step guide to building an Ikea Hack cabin bed.
1. I took the headboard and footboard (with integrated legs) off Emily’s old bed frame and screwed a wooden plank (of the same width and thickness as the existing side panels) to the end of the frame. If you don’t have a suitable bed frame, you can easily make a frame for the mattress (with or without slats). 18mm (T) x 144mm (W) timber would be fine.
2. We originally intended to support the plywood base for the bed by screwing a wooden batten approximately 34mm thick by 70mm wide into the wall so the plywood could rest on top and be screwed into it. We didn’t anticipate the walls crumbling like meringue every time we attempted to insert anchor bolts! Even with anchor bolts 160mm long we still couldn’t find anything to screw into beyond the plasterboard…Bearing in mind its an external cavity wall, we were totally flummoxed.
We came to the conclusion that the internal wall must have been built about 20cm from the external brickwork…We couldn’t think of another explanation! This wasted an entire day of going back and forward to Screwfix and B&Q, getting longer and longer bolts and longer and longer drill bits until there was a danger that our marriage might start crumbling like the meringue behind the walls unless we came up with another plan.
3. Plan B. I went back to B & Q and bought some wooden battens and got the nice man working the machine saw to cut everything to my specifications. Then I built a wooden frame, screwed it into the skirting board and breathed a massive sigh of relief when our friend and ex-joiner, Rich Muir, came to the rescue and managed to get the top edge of the frame fixed to our dodgy wall in three places (after agreeing that he had never known a wall like it!).
The wooden frame provided a much stronger support for the plywood bed base, so in the end the drama and angst (and much in-the-head swearing) was worth it….Well, no, that’s a complete lie! The final design was much better, though. We just wish we had thought of it in the first place!
4. Once the frame was built, I moved the plywood panels into place and screwed them into the frame and the top of the drawer units.
5. I bought 18mm MDF from B&Q for the shelf and headboard and had it cut to our specifications (free of charge). The shelf measured 30cm H x 18cm D x 192cm long. The front panel of the shelf was screwed to the front of a wooden batten that had been fixed to the plywood base. The top panel of the shelf was screwed onto the front panel and supported by angle brackets fixed to the back wall. I also had a piece of MDF cut to size to screw to the open end of the shelf.
The headboard was made by cutting 18mm MDF sheet to 62cm high and 116cm wide (ie. approx 118cm-18mm to allow a piece of 9cm wide 18mm thick MDF to be screwed the front and fit flush with the end of the plywood base) with another piece of 9cm wide 18mm thick MDF screwed to the top.
Don’t forget to countersink the screws so the screw holes can be filled and sanded prior to painting.
6. The bed frame was lifted into place and screwed to the headboard using the existing brackets. I screwed the bed frame (along the wooden frame that supports the slats for the mattress) directly into the plywood base.
7. I filled and sanded the countersunk screw holes prior to undercoating and painting with Crown brilliant white quick-dry Satin (I prefer this paint because it’s solvent-free, non-yellowing and the brushes can be cleaned using water).
The bookcase, the wardrobe and the DIY disaster
Once the bed was completed, we added an 80cm wide Billy bookcase and a Pax Wardrobe with Hasvik sliding doors. Again, maximising storage space was one of the main objectives of Emily’s bedroom makeover so we made the most of the vertical space by adding an extension unit to the bookcase and opting for the 236.4cm high Pax wardrobe. We also added four internal drawers to the wardrobe.
And the DIY disaster?
I left Richard to build the Pax wardrobe whilst I went to B&Q to get some fixtures and fittings. When I returned, Beth said that the wardrobe was ruined and Daddy was in a bad mood (!). It turns out that he hadn’t realised the importance of pinning the back panels into place before trying to move the wardrobe frame into the upright position. To be fair, it’s the kind of mistake I usually make!
For your information, you should never try to move the wardrobe frame into the upright position before attaching the back panels. If you do, your rectangular Pax wardrobe will rapidly become a parallelogram, before becoming a pile of broken chipboard.
Cue me driving to Ikea again for Pax wardrobe Mark 2.
The finished bedroom.
The brightly coloured duvet set (now discontinued, I think) and Polarvide throw from Ikea perfectly compliment the colour scheme. I bought an Ikea BEKVÄM step stool to make it easy for Emily to get up on her bed. The hanging storage and Kusiner mesh basket are also from Ikea and are perfect for storing Emily’s vast assortment of cuddly toys.
I used Emily’s old pink Next bean bag as a template and made her a blue beanbag instead, using some great value fabric I bought at Bargain Fabrics in Castle Donington.
Then I made a pair of colourful Pac-Man Ghost cushions to continue the theme, (the cushions will be the subject of a future post).
I found a couple of fantastic framed superhero prints from Homesense.
The best bit!
The design of the Ikea Hack cabin bed meant that we had some ‘dead’ space behind the row of Nordli drawers.
We decided to leave the end of the bed open so the space could be accessed and spent some time trying to work out if we should use it for extra storage or do something else with it. As we now had lots of drawers and a tall Pax wardrobe unit containing even more drawers and a Billy bookcase, we weren’t short of storage space so Rich came up with a fantastic idea…
We would create a hidden den for Emily, complete with lighting.
I was so excited about the idea and it seemed even more inspired when we realised that Emily’s Karrimat camping mat fitted perfectly into the space to create a sleeping area for when she wanted a change from her mid-sleeper bed or just wanted to escape and read her books (or play Minecraft!).
We eagerly decked it out with a lovely string of lights from Ikea and a collection of her favourite cushions and quilt from the ‘old’ bedroom.
When it was finished I felt a teensy bit envious that I was (probably) too old (and too big) to have a secret den for myself!
So what did Emily think?
Emily loves her new bedroom, so the blood, sweat and DIY disasters along the way were worth it!
Of course, her favourite bit of the room makeover is the secret den, which she’s slept in many times over the last few months.
Since finishing the Ikea Hack bed, we’ve added bedding, accessories, framed prints (Superheros of course) and a DIY MDF desk with Ikea legs on castors and a chair (more of that to follow).
So what do you think?
I am delighted with how the Ikea Hack bedroom makeover turned out and I would love to have your feedback on this project.
What are your favourite bits?
Are there any things we could have done differently?
Are you tempted to have a go at something similar?
Your feedback and comments and shares are greatly appreciated.
P.S. I’m really proud of this makeover so if you like it, please share it via social media and tell your friends! Thank you!
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