An IKEA hack is a modification or repurposing of an IKEA product
And so IKEA Hackers was born. After a few sleepless nights of coding, the first dedicated IKEA hacker blog went live. At first, Jules had to collate the hacks that she’d been able to find across the web. She would scour message boards and Instructables’ posts for budding IKEA hackers, featuring their creations on a weekly basis.
Over time, Jules’ blog started to gain a following – a community of hackers armed with electric drills and hand saws rather than keyboards and computer screens. People started to send Jules their own hacks, and try others for themselves. They would comment on the posts that they thought were interesting, asking the hacker questions or suggesting slight tweaks to the design. Jules’ fledgeling community was crowdsourcing new ideas and using them to create entirely new combinations of furniture – combinations that were half IKEA product, half art project.
Today, the site features over 4000 hacks and draws in an impressive 750,000 visitors each month – but what exactly is an IKEA hack?
“Essentially, an IKEA hack is a modification or repurposing of an IKEA product,” Jules told the Denver Post. “In its own little way, it breaks into the IKEA code of furniture assembly and repurposes, challenges and creates a new use, or look or dimension, for the item.”Shelves made out of IKEA stools, for example, have become a popular IKEA hack. Andreas Bhend even went so far as to create an entire parody instruction manual for his unconventional shelving design, using IKEA’s own step-by-step layout.
Hacks aren’t just about creating new furniture styles, either. Hackers have used Jules’ site to help modify existing IKEA products to make them safer. Parents have taken to IKEA Hackers to find creative ways to babyproof their existing furniture, or create entire bedrooms for growing children.
We will be hacking as long as IKEA is around
IKEA hacks have captured the imagination of a new generation of DIY enthusiasts, and it’s interesting to wonder why. Twenty-somethings haven’t historically been the target demographic for Black & Decker power tools. Neither have bloggers, for that matter- but thousands have taken to the web to share their own innovative IKEA modifications.
In part, these hacks have become incredibly popular because they turn generic easily-available products into unique pieces of furniture, full of quirk and charm. Anyone can buy a BILLY bookcase – but it takes some determination and creative flair to modify one to fit against your bedroom wall.
So, is there a best type of hack? Jules tells Humans Invent: ‘The best type of hack is what fits your life and needs. I have people who love the simple easy hacks and others who love the tough, take out your power-tools type of hacks, so there is no hard and fast rule as to what makes a good hack.’
And as for the future of IKEA hacking? ‘I am sure the 3D printing community will find ingenious ways to incorporate 3D printing and IKEA hacking.’ Jules says. ‘I have seen some pretty funky lampshades already and perhaps more will turn up in the future!’
‘We will be hacking as long as IKEA is around’ Jules predicts, and judging by the creativity and popularity of the hacks so far, we’ve yet to scratch the surface of what we can create if we put our minds together.